MJ Petroni

MJ Petroni

Principal at Causeit, Inc. | Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence at NTT

San Francisco, California (San Francisco Bay Area)

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MJ Petroni's Overview

  • Owner at Fliptography, LLC
  • Member at City of Portland Small Business Advisory Council
  • Board Member/Secretary at Portland Area Business Association
  • Partner at MelanieLove.com
  • Business to Business Sales at Apple
  • Operations Manager at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

500+ connections


MJ Petroni's Summary

MJ Petroni is a consultant and researcher based in San Francisco, California. He is the owner and founder of Causeit, Inc., a firm which helps companies and individuals discover authentic narratives around which their teams, customers and industry partners can rally—facilitating cultures of innovation, real listening, straight talk and shared success. In addition, MJ is the Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence for NTT, the world's largest telecom, and also serves as a founding advisor of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Digital Financial Services Platform for poverty alleviation.

He has offered tangible startup support, team alignment interventions, brand strategy, ethnographic research, strategic product creation and coaching to over 250 clients ranging from global financial and education companies to individual thought leaders. MJ is an alumni of Lewis and Clark College, where he focused on the emerging field of Cyborg Anthropology, with minors in English, Latin American Studies and Gender.

He is a total nerd for exploring the intersection of authentic human connections, business and technology—and it is this passion which inspires him to fly all over the planet having mind-stretching conversations and attending thought leadership summits. MJ has presented at SIBOS, the world's largest financial conference, Volkswagen's Global IT Leadership conference, the Telecom Industry Association's senior advisory council, and is a co-producer of TEDxBellevue and the people-innovation-focused PurpleBeach gathering in London. He is currently authoring the living book Field Guide to Creating Cultures of Innovation.

MJ Petroni's Experience

Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence

NTT Innovation Institute, Inc. (through Causeit, Inc.)

Public Company; 51-200 employees; Information Technology and Services industry

May 2014Present (5 months) Palo Alto, CA

As the Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence for NTT, the world's largest telecom, MJ (and his research team) focus on the changes our world will experience in the next hundred years through the lens of the relationship between humans and technology. As key business leaders visit NTT's Innovation Institute, he has in-depth conversations with them about the possibilities—and ethics—of technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (and its coming successor, the Social Network of Things), Big and Little Data, nanotechnology, robotics, and the like in domain like financial services, governments, healthcare, education and mobility.


Causeit, Inc.

Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Professional Training & Coaching industry

August 2005Present (9 years 2 months)

Causeit helps innovative ideas become real by empowering your team.

Causeit helps your teams make better, more creative decisions and, most importantly, actually execute on them. We help you tap into collective wisdom by engaging broad, sometimes complex ecosystems. We help paradigms shift by helping thought leaders share their Big Ideas with people who can make them real. We do all of this because we know that you have brilliant, world-changing ideas just waiting for the right place, at the right time.

Many companies seek to increase their capacity for innovation, and many consultants claim to be able to help them. This quest is narrowly focused on product development, with the aim of creating a better widget, resulting in a certain, iterative kind of innovation. It's not bad, but it's also not the only kind of innovation—and it's not enough to have you thrive.

Innovation with the power to transform markets and the larger world requires engaging a much broader spectrum—not just engineers, but educators, not just coders, but customers and even competitors. Deep change must occur across the entire context of your organization and the ecosystems you function in. Causeit's here to help.



2012Present (2 years) Seattle, Washington

I work with my colleagues Anna Choi and Matthew Koren, as well as an extraordinary team of volunteers, to produce TEDxBellevue. We are an independently organized TED event focused on sustainable happiness, and my work includes curation of content, support of the project lead, Anna Choi, and coordination of teams and major relationships, and causing the success of team leads from sponsorship to video.

Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Events Services industry

June 2008January 2013 (4 years 8 months)

Create a smash event! Record a seven-second video in our booth at your party, wedding or corporate occasion, and in two minutes we'll make you a paper flipbook. Great for corporate occasions, parties & weddings. Fliptography, LLC is a project business of Causeit, Inc.


City of Portland Small Business Advisory Council

March 2009May 2010 (1 year 3 months)

Representing the diversity found in the Portland business community, we provide an organized voice for small business with the Portland City Council on policies that impact small business. I serve on the Cost of Doing Business subcommittee and offer assistance in liaisons with minority/young entrepreneurs and the LGBTQ community.

Board Member/Secretary

Portland Area Business Association

2006December 2009 (3 years)

As a board member, assisted in the organization and management of Portland's LGBTQ chamber of commerce, including founding of new networking groups and organization of cooperative media buying partnerships.



20082008 (less than a year)

MelanieLove.com was a fusion of fashion and body image revolution! At MelanieLove.com, we offered fashion that fit—with fresh style for every woman.

Business to Business Sales


Public Company; 10,001+ employees; AAPL; Consumer Electronics industry

20052006 (1 year)

Business to business sales and consultation, with a focus on complete solutions and integration of third-party productivity software.

Operations Manager


Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Consumer Services industry

20042006 (2 years)

As the Assistant Operations Manager for Portland's East Side franchise, collaborated with the business owners to transform their hiring and training practices while growing the franchise into new markets. The franchise went from four driver-operators to twenty-five between 04-06, relocated, and began to interact with issues of diversity and long-term planning.

MJ Petroni's Volunteer Experience & Causes

  • Volunteer Experience

    • Founding Enabler, Global Digital Financial Services Platform for Poverty Alleviation

      Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
      • Economic Empowerment
      January 2014 present (9 months)

      The program aims to play a catalytic role in broadening the reach of digital payment systems, particularly in poor and rural areas, and expanding the range of services available on these platforms as a way to alleviate poverty and support egalitarian access to critical services and protections. [See more in the project section of this LinkedIn profile].

  • Volunteer Interests

    • Organizations I support:

      • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

MJ Petroni's Projects

  • Global Digital Financial Services Platform for Poverty Alleviation

    • January 2014 to Present

    The program aims to play a catalytic role in broadening the reach of digital payment systems, particularly in poor and rural areas, and expanding the range of services available on these platforms. Until the infrastructure and customer base are well established, this might involve a combination of mobile banking services that are accessible via cell phones and brick-and-mortar stores where subscribers can convert cash they earn into digital money (and vice-versa).

    Our approach has three mutually reinforcing objectives:

    • Reducing the amount of time and money that poor people must spend to conduct financial transactions
    • Increasing poor people’s capacity to weather financial shocks and capture income-generating opportunities
    • Generating economy-wide efficiencies by digitally connecting large numbers of poor people to one another, financial services providers, government services, and businesses

    [^ from gatesfoundation.org]

    While we're just getting started, I am excited to do this [pro bono] work and consider it one fulfillment of a lifelong calling to leverage my own social privilege and perspective to lessen global inequalities and suffering. I am honored to work on the advisory council for this project, hopefully adding value by bringing the perspectives of my anthropology studies, global travel, financial services ecosystem literacy, entrepreneurship and diversity, equality and access perspective to bear on the human and technical pieces of the project. I am joined by many great minds and leaders. If you feel you have valuable insights or resources for the project, feel free to let me know; though I am not a representative of the Gates Foundation or its partners, our team has been asked to use our networks to find the right people to accelerate design, development and adoption/integration of this project so that it begins to show traction in the first few years, not just decades from now.

MJ Petroni's Publications

  • The Social Network of Things

    • August 15, 2014
    Authors: MJ Petroni

    Machines, like humans, have their own relationships. Fundamentally, to understand how humans are changing, we have to look not just at how humans relate to other humans, but at how machines relate to other machines—and how humans, machines, purpose and data coalesce and re-coalesce constantly into new kinds of beings.

    This research was compiled with generous funding from NTTi3, the platform IT company.

  • Full Spectrum Innovation

    • Causeit, Inc.
    • September 12, 2014
    Authors: MJ Petroni

    Full-Spectrum Innovation is the idea of creating value in every possible place—from culture & society down to end users of a product, service or platform.

  • A Field Guide to Creating Cultures of Innovation [Alpha]

    • Causeit, Inc.; Curated by MJ Petroni
    • October 2012

    The Field Guide to Creating Cultures of Innovation is a living web of concepts, examples, tools and real-life practices to support you as you navigate the New Normal of leadership, power and productivity. It's also a big part of Causeit's source code for effecting change within organizations, so it serves as a reference for our clients and collaborators and is updated constantly based on their feedback.

  • Opening the Door for Innovation

    • October 2012
    Authors: MJ Petroni

    In this pilot ethnography and concept piece, we asked questions about where untapped innovation potential is. Based on real-life interviews with people representing these experience models, we found that—not surprisingly—many barriers to innovation still have to do with access to the confluence of social, financial and human capital—connections, cash and skill.

MJ Petroni's Languages

  • Spanish

  • Web 2.0

MJ Petroni's Skills & Expertise

  1. Team facilitation
  2. Innovation
  3. Content strategy
  4. Brand Development Strategy
  5. Diversity
  6. Coaching
  7. Technology Tool Selection
  8. Team Facilitation
  9. Content Strategy
  10. Technology
  11. Productization
  12. Entrepreneurship
  13. Strategy
  14. Ethnography
  15. Leadership
  16. Nonprofits
  17. Social Media
  18. Workshop Facilitation
  19. Business Development
  20. Fundraising
  21. Event Planning
  22. Organizational Development
  23. Research
  24. Training
  25. Executive Coaching
  26. Team Leadership
  27. Project Management
  28. Small Business
  29. Leadership Development
  30. Personal Development
  31. Social Networking
  32. Management
  33. B2B
  34. Strategic Planning
  35. Start-ups
  36. Online Marketing
  37. Networking
  38. Product Development

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MJ Petroni's Education

Lewis and Clark College

BA, Sociology, Latin American Studies, English

Worked with Dr. Deborah Heath to craft a thesis exploring the interaction of technology and humanity through practical & theoretical research in the emerging field of Cyborg Anthropology. Pioneered a diverse housing initiative which gained national media attention.

Activities and Societies: Gender Studies, Dominican Republic Overseas Program

Contact MJ for:

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