We are a learning and problem-solving community
Exosphere was founded on a hope. Not a hope that would be easily realized or even easy to believe, but a hope sufficient enough to pull myself, and now thousands of others, up to an elevated view of the world, human life, and what becomes possible when individuals come together to create a common cause.
From the depths of my own personal despair living in hermetic seclusion in the Andes mountains of Chile in 2012, I founded Exosphere with Andy Ellwood and Antonio Manno, two individuals with different journeys, but the same hope. Perhaps a final hope–that healing is still possible in our wounded world. That humans might use science, technology, and commerce to forge tools for the survival and prosperity of all life on our planet and no longer as weapons of destruction and agents of inequality.
A hope that human hearts and human minds–especially my own–might abandon cynicism and fear. That we might instead call on the inner riches of talent and beauty native to every one of us to shine our light on the world and make it new again. Like all hopes, it feels most days impossibly disconnected from the reality of the news and the catastrophe of our social and political state of affairs. But there are moments when the hope feels vindicated.
Whether it is walking through a lab at one of our programs and seeing the remarkable achievements of people from all over the world working together to create a solution to one of our problems, or hearing a story of personal transformation after their experience at Exosphere, the hope has more than enough oxygen to keep burning.
In the past 5 years, we have gathered 10 cohorts and 35 global workshops counting in total more than 2,000 individuals, representing 50 countries, to live, learn, and create together. Together they have built technologies, founded companies, forged lasting bonds with each other, and changed themselves from the inside out. It has been honor to have been invited into the lives of so many remarkable people and to have myself been changed by the experiences.
We are building Exosphere to be an enduring institution that will continue this work well beyond our own lifetimes so that one-by-one, every human can flourish, live peacefully with each other, and our founding hope becomes the lived reality of all who inhabit our truly precious planet.
Exosphere is a learning and problem-solving community whose mission is to build enduring institutions that foster a thriving global civil society and ubiquitous human flourishing.
Exosphere envisions a world of conscious, self-reliant individuals who have developed the competence to come together in pursuit of their own spiritual growth and a mutual desire to understand, transcend their differences, and collaborate to apply their talents and commitment to lifelong learning to solve the common problems of the human species.
Because we are building a new kind of institution, it is difficult to describe our values in a few words and be effectively understood. But if you would like to begin exploring our worldview with us, here are some of the values we seek to embody, along with the writings that best represent them:
Self Reliance and Individual Agency from Ralph Waldo Emerson & Søren Kierkegaard
Personal Growth, Civility, and Community from M. Scott Peck’s books The Road Less Traveled, A World Waiting to Be Born, and The Different Drum
Antifragility, from Nassim Taleb’s Incerto series
Human-Centric Technology, from Jaron Lanier’s books You are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?
Applied Rationality, from Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow
Subjective Experience & the Vigour of Living from If by Rudyard Kipling and A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Skinner Layne is the Founder of Exosphere and Chancellor of the Exosphere Academy. He has broad experience in business, finance, technology, and politics, having consulted for NASDAQ companies, advised the campaigns of a U.S. Senator, and founded multiple startups, and was at the age of 23 the youngest member of the board of directors of a Sarbanes-Oxley compliant publicly traded company.
Skinner is a thought leader, researcher, and teacher in individual and organizational psychology, having developed a novel framework for modeling behavior and mental states, mapping strategies for personal & professional development, and creating mechanisms for overcoming personality conflicts in high-stress and chaotic work environments, with a specialty in managing teams of high IQ scientists & technologists.
He has been living in Latin America for nearly a decade and is a sought-after speaker for his contrarian views on science, technology, and innovation, having delivered a TEDx talk on Wasted Genius (link), a keynote at LOGIN, the Baltic region’s largest startup conference (link), among others. He has previously been a contributor to Inc Magazine and was first published on the subject of alternative currencies in 2008 in an anthology of essays entitled Global Crash Phase 2 alongside Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Sir Andrew Large, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.
In his spare time, Skinner enjoys reading, spending time in nature, playing chess, cooking, and conversations about philosophy, politics, literature, and religion. He currently lives in Santiago, Chile with his three adopted street dogs Adelaide, Hydra, and Bento.
Antonio Manno founded the first Internet Service Provider in Southern Italy in 1994. He later founded the first auction online company in Italy in 1999, which was valued at €200 million at its peak, but then met the fate of many other dotcom bubble era companies. Antonio spent 5 years in Estonia opening Felicitalia, an unique Made in Italy wine bar and fashion store, and then worked as an investment consultant studying and opening the Baltic market for the Italian Small & Medium Enterprises. A mechanical engineer by training, Antonio began his career in industry, having been production manager of the Snia Bpd, which at the time was the chemical subsidiary of the FIAT group, and served as chief production manager of Fapack Spa, a plastic film manufacturing company. In 2012, he moved to Chile where he and Skinner Layne co-founded Exosphere.
Our Academic Leadership
ELEANOR “NELL” WATSON
Dean of Cognitive Science & Machine Intelligence
Dean Watson FBCS, FIAP, FRSA is a world-renowned autodidact engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker who grew up in Northern Ireland. She is a sought-after thought leader and speaker on Machine Intelligence, AI philosophy, Human-Machine relations, and the Future oF Human Society with a longstanding interest in the philosophy of technology, and how extensions of human capacity drive emergent social trends.
In 2010 Nell founded Poikos, a machine learning-driven ‘AI for for body measurement’. Her patented technology ‘dematerialises’ the 3D body scanner by providing accurate three-dimensional scans of the body with only 2D camera hardware, such as that found in smartphones and laptops with applications in mass customization and personalised health.
Possessing a long-term mindset, Nell serves as Senior Advisor to The Future Society at Harvard University and technology advisor to several startups, accelerators, and venture capital funds. She is also Co-Founder of OpenEth.org, an ‘ethical explication engine’ that aims to crowdsource ethical heuristics for autonomous systems.
In her spare time Nell enjoys coding games such as her startup life simulator, Founder Life, which teaches mindfulness and the psychological habits necessary for entrepreneurs to consistently execute under pressure.
Dean of Synthetic Biology & Ecological Science
Dean Eich is a biotechnologist, futurist, and entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in teaching, educational media, and Open Science in both the public and private sectors in Brazil.
She has developed new approaches to teaching science and cultivating scientific thinking to empower individuals and communities. Her primary focus is in synthetic biology and entrepreneurial biohacking with experience and core competencies in Molecular Biology, CRISPR, De Novo Synthesis, and personalised medicine.
Ms. Eich holds a graduate degree in Biotechnology from State University of Maringa (UEM) where she researched Medicinal Plant Molecular Biofactories “Plant Medicinal Molecular Biofactories,” a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Science and Technology from Federal University of Alfenas (UNIFAL) and is is currently completing a Degree in Environmental Engineering at UNIFAL.
A true polymath, Provost Eich’s academic background includes a Degree in Portuguese & English Literature and a Degree in Strategy in International Trade, in which she researched Technology Transfer to Developing Countries.
DR ANISH MOHAMMED
Dean of Blockchain Engineering & Technosocial Convergence
Dean Mohammed is a multidisciplinary technologist and thought leader in the emergent field of Blockchain who has worked extensively as a researcher and cryptographer in both academia and industry, including as Lead Security Architect at both HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group in London.
Dr Mohammed serves on the Advisory Board of Ripple, the Blockchain Advisory Group, and Effective Altruism Ventures, and is an advisor to numerous Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. In addition to being a Medical Doctor, he holds a MSc and PhD in Information Security from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Board of Advisors
President at Basket & Founding trustee at Exopshere Foundation
Senior Director, Partnership Marketing at Major League Soccer
Principal at Ribbonfarm Consulting
Co-founder at Qurtuba Publishing House
Founding Partner at Local industries
Senior Director, Global brand Marketing at Nike
Creator of D-Shape 3D Printing Tech & Founder of Monolite UK
CTO at OneSkin Technologies & Founder and Director at SyntechBio
DISTURB THE UNIVERSE TOGETHER
We know that we aren’t alone. Our mission is to continue searching out and connecting everyone who shares this vision and wants to embrace their agency to be a force for change and good in the world.
By changing a bit of your thinking, learning relevant skills, and surrounding yourself with the right people, you can build whatever you envision. At Exosphere, you get all three.
No matter who you are, where you come from, what your background is — you can seize control of your future.
It’s your journey, and Exosphere is here to help you along the way.