Craig Taro Gold
Gold at the opening of Art Basel in Hong Kong, 2013
Craig Taro Gold
November 1969 (age 49)
|Other names||KinTarō (金太郎) (in Japan)|
|Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Little Book of Eastern Wisdom|
|Home town||Del Mar, California|
Craig Taro Gold (born November 1969), known as Taro Gold, is an American author and entrepreneur. He is the author of several New York Times best-selling books including Open Your Mind, Open Your Life and Living Wabi Sabi. He is the co-founder of eVoice and Teleo along with other business ventures.
Gold attended a Montessori education preparatory academy and Torrey Pines High School in his hometown of Del Mar, California, and also spent time as an AFS Intercultural Programs scholar in Brisbane, Australia. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan, where he studied economics, psychology, and philosophy, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1994. Gold also earned the distinction of becoming the first American man to graduate from Soka University. His postgraduate education included international relations and Spanish at the University of Salamanca in Spain, and computer graphics and graphic design at UCLA.
Gold has been involved in many business ventures. His entrepreneurial career began in 2000 when he co-founded the telecommunications company eVoice, which provided the world's first large-scale, Internet-enabled voicemail system with products including voicemail-to-email, visual voicemail and enhanced caller ID innovations. These Voice over IP innovations were the foundation for future apps deployed by Google Voice and Apple. During this time, Gold helped innovate a voice recognition technology known as Vodex. eVoice was acquired by AOL in 2001 and became part of the AOL voice services group. The company was then purchased by j2 Global.
After AOL's acquisition of eVoice in 2001, Gold became the founding CEO of Call Forwarding Services (CFS), an internet startup that provided white label VoIP communications services to AT&T, MCI Inc. and Qwest. CFS was acquired by Qwest in 2002.
In 2005, Gold launched another communications startup when he co-founded Teleo. The company provided a VoIP system enabling desktop and laptop users to send and receive phone calls over the Internet. Teleo was acquired by Microsoft in 2006 and became part of Microsoft's MSN group.
As a Silicon Valley angel investor, Gold has helped raise funds for several successful startup companies including CallCast (acquired by LiveOps in 2003), and IronPort (acquired by Cisco in 2007 for US$830 million).
In 2008, Gold ventured into the health and fitness app development market as the founding CEO of WebDiet. The patented technology of WebDiet uses mobile phones to count food consumption and was the first app to count calories and automate meal coaching. Weight loss company Nutrisystem has been accused of stealing WebDiet's technology.
In 2014, Gold co-founded Vusay, a social media platform that makes YouTube and other online videos more interactive and viral, allowing users to add comments that highlight specific moments in videos, then seamlessly share them on Twitter and Facebook.
Gold is an advisory board member of Averon, which develops cybersecurity solutions and artificial intelligent applications. In 2015, Averon formed international technology partnerships with Telefónica.
Gold is the executive producer of Out in the Line-Up, an independent documentary film following two friends on a global journey to discover the emerging LGBT acceptance in international surf culture. The film premiered on February 20, 2014 at the Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival in Australia, where it won the "Best Documentary" audience award. It went on to win "Best Film" at festivals including the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival and the 2014 San Diego Surf Film Festival, and "Best Documentary" at the 2014 London Film Festival.
Gold's career in entertainment began at an early age when he appeared in Broadway musicals as a child. He performed in the first national tour of the Broadway musical Evita, directed by Hal Prince, between 1980 and 1982. At age 12, after more than 700 performances with the show, Gold left the cast.
In 1984, Gold was cast as the starring character of John in the world premiere of the musical Peter Pan at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.
From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, Gold also worked as voice-over talent for the Disney Channel, a featured actor in Duncan Hines commercials and an NBC television special with Clint Eastwood, and a print model for PUMA sportswear and Versace men's underwear.
In Japan, Gold produced a 14-track solo album titled The Diamond You, which was released in Asia by Virgin Music Japan in 2008 and on iTunes in the US and Europe by Taro Gold Music in 2009. Most of the album's songs were written by Gold, with several co-written by Gold and Diane Warren, Robi Rosa, K.C. Porter, Ryo Aska, and Aleks Syntek. Saxophonist Dave Koz drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and Grammy winning bassist Mel Brown are featured players on the album, which was produced by an international team including Gold Darren Rahn, and Grammy Award winner Goh Hotoda. The album was recorded at Sony Music Studios in Tokyo, the Chase Lounge in Phoenix, AZ and the Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas, and mastered by engineer Ted Jensen in New York City. A remixed 13-track edit of The Diamond You album including a cover of John Lennon's Imagine was released worldwide on iTunes in 2010. Several tracks from the album appear in Sony PlayStation video games, including Vibes.
Gold is a New York Times best-selling author of numerous books published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, for which he began writing in September 2012. Gold's books have sold more than two million copies and have been published in seven languages. His first book, Open Your Mind, Open Your Life, was released in 2001 and became a perennial best seller that has been published in English, French, Portuguese, Hebrew, Japanese, and Korean. The book received a strong endorsement from Arun Gandhi, director of the Gandhi Institute and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who said of Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: "This book will enlighten and ennoble the reader." The book's cover was created by Gold and designer Laura Shaw, and its depiction of purple irises became an iconic image of Gold's literary work that later influenced the development of a Taro Gold brand logo.
Gold's book Living Wabi Sabi: The True Beauty of Your Life, released in 2004, was called a recommended read by Time magazine, featured in a Time holiday gift guide, and subsequently featured in a Time article on Asian aesthetic philosophies.
In 2011, British journalist Marcel Theroux presented "In Search of Wabi Sabi" on BBC Four as part of the channel's Hidden Japan programming, beginning by enacting a challenge from Gold's book Living Wabi Sabi to "ask people on a Tokyo street to describe Wabi Sabi." Theroux showed that, as Gold predicted, "they will likely give you a polite shrug and explain that Wabi Sabi is simply unexplainable."
In 2005, Gold received a Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews for his book What is Love? A Simple Guide to Romantic Happiness, and in 2007 received a Benjamin Franklin Literary Award for his book Living Wabi Sabi. His work has been cited by various authors including in the books Even June Cleaver Would Forget The Juice Box and Wisdom For The Soul. All of Gold's books have received endorsements and positive reviews from Publishers Weekly.
Gold has written essays for magazines and newspapers including The Advocate, the World Tribune, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Parabola, and Beliefnet. He also served as an associate editor for three years with Living Buddhism, a publication where he was a regular contributor.
In 2010, Gold launched a unisex jewelry collection based on the Taro Gold logo design found in the cover art of his books and music CDs. He has explained his design inspiration as "the diamond of wisdom and joy we all possess in our hearts, and the flower of strength and beauty that blossoms from our lives as we overcome each challenge and hardship.... The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud." The jewelry line consists mainly of diamond rings and pendants made in gold, platinum, or sterling silver. It sold primarily at specialty boutiques in Osaka and Tokyo in Japan, and in San Francisco in the United States.
Gold is involved in philanthropic efforts including private sponsorship of underprivileged students in Asia and South America. He is also a long-time supporter of The Trevor Project, founded in 1998 by his friend James Lecesne, with profits from the Taro Gold CafePress "Diamond You" shop benefiting the project. In 2005, Gold endowed a named scholarship at Soka University of America called "The Rainbow Family Fund" for LGBT students and families.
Gold is a frequent speaker and participant in communities including Digital Life Design Munich and DLD Tel Aviv, Burning Man, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and the World Economic Forum. He is an advisory board member of the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP), led by co-presidents Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
On September 8, 2007, Gold met then-Senator Barack Obama at the home of Oprah Winfrey in Montecito, California. The following day, Gold publicly announced his endorsement of Obama's candidacy for President of the United States. He reaffirmed his support for Obama in 2012, including fundraising, social media activities, and writing several opinion pieces for The Huffington Post. Gold's maternal great-grandfather was a popular four-term Republican mayor in California and friend of Ronald Reagan. Gold has written about his family's long history of Republican affiliation and their change to the Democratic Party in the early 1990s.
Gold maintains a vegan diet, practices yoga, and is an animal rights supporter. He lived on four continents during his childhood, high school, and college years, including Del Mar, California, in North America; Tokyo, Japan, in Asia; Brisbane, Queensland in Australia; and Salamanca, Spain, in Europe.
Members of his extended family live around the world and come from a range of philosophical traditions, including Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Buddhism, which Gold says gave him "a keen awareness that there are many ways to view the same thing." He has self-identified as a "JuBu," a Jewish Buddhist. Gold knew he was gay from an early age and has written about growing up gay for the Gay Voices section of [he Huffington Post. Since his teenage years, he has practiced Nichiren Buddhism as a member of the global Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International.