Why da Vinci? Why now?

This week, Dell Technologies released a special episode of our podcast series, Trailblazers. While the podcast typically covers stories of digital disruption in various industries, such as entertainment, healthcare, and air travel, this special episode focuses on one particular disruptor… a true master of technology. Leonardo da Vinci.

Wait… what? Maybe you were expecting a different name. Maybe you’re thinking: Why da Vinci? Why Dell Technologies? And why now?

portrait of leonardo da vinci topic of Dell Technologies Trailblazers podcast episode

The answer, simply, is that Leonardo da Vinci was himself, the ultimate trailblazer. His contributions and influence can still be felt five centuries after he lived. In his new book released today, Leonardo da Vinci, the host of Trailblazers and best-selling author, Walter Isaacson, tells the story behind da Vinci’s genius. We are so excited to help him tell his story just as he has helped us tell ours.

Most think of da Vinci as painter of The Last Supper or Mona Lisa. We know him as the master behind the most famous drawing of all time, Vitruvian Man. But not everyone knows da Vinci was an engineer, designing macabre (yet beautiful) weaponry for Cesare Borgia. He was a mathematician, calculating the angles at which light rays enter the eye. He was an anatomist, dissecting the human skull and the still-beating heart of a pig. For da Vinci, there were no borders between art, science, and engineering. This way of viewing the world around him not only gave us masterpieces in the form of paintings and thousands of notebook pages, but also lasting lessons that we, as business leaders, can still draw from today.

Certainly as a company that is passionate about building technology that enables human progress, we at Dell Technologies find da Vinci’s ability to connect technology and humanity inspirational. As Isaacson points out, “Innovation in technology comes from being able to connect engineering and the arts, by being able to connect the technology to beauty and our human emotions. That’s what Leonardo did, and that’s why he’s so relevant to today.”

It isn’t a question of people or machines. The magic is people and machines.

In our world where artificial intelligence and robotics are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives and everyday objects are becoming smart machines, this is particularly sage advice. And it cuts to the core of what we believe. As Michael Dell pointed out recently at the IQT Day event, “It isn’t a question of people or machines. The magic is people and machines. It’s the next era of human-machine partnership – a more integrated, personal relationship with technology that has the power to amplify exponentially the creativity, the inspiration, the intelligence, the empathy and the curiosity of the human spirit.”

As the leader for Dell Global Brand and Creative, I’m particularly inspired by both da Vinci’s relentless curiosity and his ability to capture emotion. Those are things the best brands aspire to do every day: inspire curiosity and evoke emotional responses. That’s why Dell Technologies tells stories of the trailblazers who are transforming the way we work and live. In the “Leonardo da Vinci: The Great Trailblazer” podcast episode, Isaacson walks us through some of the most captivating tales behind da Vinci’s greatest accomplishments – and failures. And along the way, he pulls the lessons from those stories and da Vinci’s approach to life that we can aspire to apply today.

Have a listen now, and subscribe to Trailblazers for more stories of some of the biggest digital disruptions of our time.

Liz Matthews

About the Author: Liz Matthews

Liz Matthews is the Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Experiential for Dell. Liz is responsible for building and running the new Dell Technologies brand and its family of brands. Additionally, Liz is responsible for driving Dell’s brand and purpose globally through advertising, messaging, digital, social, creative, corporate narrative, voice and visual identity, while at the same time, igniting Dell’s purpose internally. Previously, Liz held multiple executive roles in Dell’s consumer and SMB business’ delivering award-winning work. In this role, she helped manage and develop global marcom for all B2C products. She has a plethora of technology marketing background from both large global brands and brazen start-ups including Sun Microsystems where she was fully integrated in the brand, product, and in house communications and ran end-to-end, integrated marketing for the software division. Liz’s fruitful career, however, took off in healthcare where she began her marketing journey at Johnson & Johnson. Liz sits on the Board of Directors for the Ad Council and is a LifeWorks Legacy Circle member, a non-profit dedicated to empowering homeless youth to self-sufficiency. Liz holds a B.A. in communications from California Polytechnic State University.