October 10–11, 2016  •  San Francisco, CA
Tom Kartsotis

Tom Kartsotis
Founder, Shinola

The best moment in my conversation with Tom Kartsotis about the Shinola story came when he said, “We need to become more profitable,” and followed it up with the completely atypical next line, “So we can hire more workers.” Tom’s turns the traditional thinking on its head—rather than treating workers as a disposable means to create profit for a company, he thinks of profit as a means to put people to work. The Shinola story is also such a great illustration of the connection between the economy of a successful city and the kind of creative premium that distinguishes products and services with a human touch.

— Tim O’Reilly

Quotes from Tom

We’re not a watch company. I did not want to build another watch company. This company really started as a job-creation vehicle.

The competition came here and took our manufacturing overseas. Fifty years later, I’m trying to get it back and use their experts to build our factories.

Creating a few hundred jobs isn’t going to move the needle.

Profit? What’s that?


Tom Kartsotis is the founder of Shinola. Previously, he founded Fossil in 1984 and served as its chairman until 2010. Tom has served on the board of directors of Burton Snowboards since 2004.