Influencers Karen X. Cheng TEXT NINA FOUSHEE At the end of Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Oysters,” the speaker asks to be transformed into “pure verb.” Designer and videogra-pher Karen X. Cheng embodies that phrase. Cheng runs Karen X, a creative agency that makes viral videos and commercials. A palpable sense of energy and activity pervades both her client work and her personal projects. Collectively, Cheng’s videos have over 100 million views, and her work has appeared on NBC, Good Morning America, and Ellen, among others. She has spo-ken at Google, TEDx, and Stanford, and her diverse range of clients includes Microsoft, Fiat, and Facebook. In late 2016, her TV spot for Beats by Dre premiered at the Thanksgiving Day football game. One of Cheng’s first viral videos depicts a time lapse of 40 Cheng teaching herself to dance over the course of a year. The bubbly music and living room setting of the video’s first half recalls the childhood levity of belting alone into one’s hairbrush. But Cheng’s quotidian dedication to practicing, paired with the visual crescendo of her mesmerizing final dance sequence atop a BART platform, give the piece a nar-rative arc and a visceral appeal. Cheng is at once a creative visionary and a didactic coach for those seeking to create highly shareable content. In our conver-sation about her career thus far, her answer to each of my ques-tions contained a piece of advice befitting a designer graced with both a refreshing practicality and an incisive ability to identify the goals of any project and the means by which to achieve them.