Language barrier? Pshaw. When Adam Needs found himself booted off a train outside Paris for losing his passport and then tossed in a room with another criminal, they bonded via a universal language: Eminem and 50 Cent. You see, Adam, OZY’s director of audience development, is an adaptable sort. He’s just as comfortable among the coal miners and cowboys of Price, Utah (his hometown), as with the moneyed elite of Manhattan (where he worked at the kids’ TV network Nickelodeon) or dodging trouble overseas (his French detention was brief, and he was merely “kicked in the tush” for losing his documents).
The son of a mechanical engineer and a chef, Adam describes his unusual upbringing this way: “I grew up Mormon and Catholic. Now all I have is a lot of guilt.” But critics underestimate Utah. A nice perk of living there is that you can go to work late on a good snow day, an opportunity to savor the fresh powder on the slopes.
When the foreign service didn’t pan out (embassy life would be boring), Adam developed a career in emerging media and digital optimization, from Nickelodeon to startups to Rosetta Stone and AOL, before becoming a certified member of the OZY tribe.
He’s also a travel fiend, with his countries-visited odometer clocking up to the mid-30s; 100 is the long-term goal. He prefers to spend quality time in a place rather than getting the nickel tour. One day, perhaps, he’ll settle down as an expat and live somewhere remote. Maybe he’ll open a bar, with plenty of early-aughts rap on the jukebox, naturally.