The key to a good life is connection – real relationships. But there’s a disturbing new trend: we are becoming disconnected from our environment both at home and abroad.
Fortunately we can connect when we prioritize human interaction. The sharing economy isn’t new. We just forgot about it for awhile.
From a young age, Gerard has been interested in community, design and hospitality. His first attempt at creating a community was in Africa where he tried to set up a backpacker’s that provided education and training in hospitality for the locals. It never got off the ground but his enthusiasm didn’t wane.
With his love for travel, he thought the hotel industry must be fun to work in and so, in an effort to expand his knowledge in hospitality, he worked as a hotel analyst advising banks and hotel developers across the globe at HVS International and operational roles with Marriott, Hyatt and Conran Restaurants.
The entrepreneurial bug didn’t wane though, and so he sold his home and co-founded Yotel, a pioneer of micro hotels. Cleverly using aircraft designers and innovative technology, Yotel was able to provide a superior product at an affordable price which even included motorised reclining beds and hourly occupancy! They developed hotels inside major global airport terminals providing rest for weary travellers and then built a city centre hotel near Times Square, New York with 669 cabins and a luggage Yobot. With Yotel then successfully developing hotels across the US, Europe and Asia he decided that the next venture needed a greater social mission.
He is now CEO and Co-Founder of Society; a co-living brand that aims to bring the real benefits of community to people’s lives through technology and well-designed apartment buildings.
Gerard contributes to the Oxford Brookes University Entrepreneurs program with lectures and as a “Dragon” on the final pitch.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at