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Andy Nulman

Business Builder: Just for Laughs & Play the Future

Two big wins. From nothing. And now he’s back for a third. Andy Nulman helped build Just for Laughs from the ground up to become the most prestigious comedy festival on earth rising to the helm of CEO. After 15 years, he left to start up the mobile media firm Airborne Mobile, then sold it for over $100 million. He’s currently the President & CEO of Play The Future an app that combines predictive trivia with branded content.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Lessons You Need to Learn
Some people collect hockey cards, others art, but Andy collects valuable business and life lessons.  With a career spanning more than four decades, from co-founding the world famous Just For Laughs Festival to being a global pioneer in mobile gaming and entertainment, this business speaker has learned more than his fair share of important lessons, compiling hundreds of them in the process.  In a speech customized for your specific themes and needs, presented like a poppy Buzzfeed list, Andy will dig into his database, share the lessons you need to learn to drive your company, motivate your attendees…and ensure that you don’t have to make the same mistakes he did.

Let’s Play Life
“Gamification” is more than a mere buzzword; with fantasy sports now a $32 billion business in North America alone, applying game principles to real-life events is on its way to becoming pervasive.  With his new company “Play The Future,” Andy is driving this trend by gamifying everything from the weather to big brands’ daily sales results, with the premise that “if it can be measured, it can be played.” Heeding a battle cry of “Life’s a game,” are today’s dull spreadsheets tomorrow’s interactive, competitive entertainment?  Find out more with this insightful, visionary look into what’s coming.

My Biggest Failure
One of Andy’s credos is “today’s failure is tomorrow’s back-slapping story over beers.”  No matter what your worst personal catastrophe may be, it pales in comparison to his…something he will prove in “My Biggest Failure,” an examination of how and why things go wrong, and what they ultimately mean.  Presented with cringe-worthy video captures of Andy’s disaster of disasters, audiences will be relieved to learn that failure is a temporary state, feel better about themselves…and be thankful that they are not Andy.

Platform Plus

Interactive Presentation | Risk—The National Anthem
So many people talk about risk, but so few people actually take them. In a veritable “walk of the talk,” Andy will examine the benefits of risk, outline the steps needed to feel more comfortable embracing the concept, and top it off with a literal “fly or die,” stopwatch-timed, nail-biting, high-risk event—composing an improvised “National Anthem” about your company or event based on suggestions from those in the audience.
Panelist/In Conversation


Montreal Gazette | Top 100 Montrealers of the 20th Century br />
Financial Post | Top 40 Under 40

  • He was a fantastic speaker and really resonated with local media and with our conference delegates. Not only did he bring an abundance of energy and humour to his talk, he also did his homework about the Yukon and our tourism industry...I'd gladly recommend Andy to other organizations that are looking for a dynamic presenter.

    - Executive Director, TIA Yukon
  • Just a few words to let you know how much I enjoyed your performance yesterday at C-2 MTL. WOW, we need more of those “pertinent electroshocks” on creativity. Hope you’ll be back next year! - Loto-Québec
  • I LOVED listening to you talk about Surprise Marketing at the MGBC conference. It was one of the best speeches I have ever heard. You can be sure that I will be using this as inspiration to create new marketing pieces

    - Development & Promotion Manager, eFundraising.com
  • ...wow, fantastic way to start off conference...Motivating and energizing….an interesting and fun presentation which encourages one to think beyond the normal.

    - Attendees, Wal-Mart
  • "POW! Right Between the Eyes! proves that a little goes a long way; Nulman's radical new methods are bound to POW through traditional marketing and leave their mark

    - ManageSmarter

Summary Profile

From July, 2010 until September, 2015, for the second time, Andy took on the position of President of Montreal’s renowned Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival, the world’s first and largest comedy event.  This was Andy’s encore performance at JFL; from 1985 until 1999, he literally transformed the event from a two-day show to a month-long cultural happening, attracting over 2 million visitors per year to see talent the likes of Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, John Cleese, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ray Romano and Adam Sandler, and created/Executive Produced over 150 Festival TV shows, in a variety of languages, all over the world.

During the decade in between Just For Laughs stints, Andy was President and CMO of Airborne Technology Ventures, a company celebrated as a pioneer in the industry of mobile media and marketing. In 1999, Andy co-founded Airborne (then Airborne Entertainment) with Garner Bornstein, and provided the company with the insight and creativity necessary to successfully strengthen brands like Family Guy, Disney, Maxim, the NHL and the NFL through the creation of innovative mobile content and applications. Airborne was sold for over $100 million to Cybird of Japan in 2005 and was honoured the following year as North America’s 4th-Fastest Growing Tech Company in Deloitte’s Fast 500 ranking.  

There was a life before comedy though, starting as a journalist out of high school at the age of 16, becoming Entertainment Editor of the Sunday Express newspaper at 17 and writing for entertainment publications the likes of Variety, Us and Circus.  This was followed by a three-year stint as a marketing consultant which led to co-promoting the first-ever North American concert tour of comedian Howie Mandel.

Andy is an acclaimed, thought-provoking and risk-taking public speaker, who has motivated and entertained Fortune 500 companies the likes of GM, Eveready/Energizer, 3M and Wal-Mart.  In 2013, Andy broke new ground as his “Grow Wings” speech was the most popular presentation at Montreal’s annual C2-MTL commerce and creativity event, where this year, his role as “Troublemaker” allowed him to replicate classic “Wisdom of Crowds” experiments and slaughter sacred cows in the business and tech spheres. He has also been a frequent speaker at McGill University, including being honored to speak at the prestigious McGill Alumni Leacock Luncheon and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.  For three years, he also taught the revolutionary “Marketing and Society” class in McGill’s BCom program, where his students learned how to build YouTube channels and use them as a powerful corporate tool.

Over and above his speaking, Andy has written three books: “How To Do The Impossible,” “I Almost Killed George Burns” and his most recent “Pow! Right between The Eyes!  Profiting From The Element of Surprise.” Other accomplishments include being named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders by the Financial Post in 1997, being voted one of the Top 100 Montrealers of the 20th Century by the Montreal Gazette in 2000, and being honored as a distinguished recipient of the McGill Management Achievement Award in 2004. He is a board member of Montreal’s powerful StartupFest, and won Startup Canada’s 2016’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Quebec.

In his spare time, Andy is also an inventive stage director, half-decent snowboarder, obsessive gym rat, hardworking hockey player and gutsy rock singer.  Married with two grown children and two rambunctious dogs, his major disappointment is that he has only one life to live…but he’s working on a solution.

Thrill of a lifetime--I'll be the host of, and handling the Q&A for, my friend and idol John Cleese's cerebrally hi… https://t.co/3ePorGRJLd (2019-10-04 12:22:04)
@TerryDiMonte Nazareth and Nanette Workman on the old CHOM staircase https://t.co/vO1CLcxeXU (2019-09-29 01:17:51)
@TerryDiMonte https://t.co/xSOHPlZ6ck (2019-09-29 01:03:58)