Tom Rielly is Partnership Director at TED Conferences, LLC based in New York City.
Rielly is best known as the Founder and former CEO of PlanetOut.com, which joined forces with Gay.com to create the largest gay and lesbian online company with over 5 million monthly customers. Based in San Francisco, the company is now called PlanetOut, Inc. PlanetOut went public on the NASDAQ (Quote) in 2004. In 2006, PlanetOut added The Advocate, Out, OutTraveler magazines and RSVP Vacations to its media and travel holdings.
Rielly is also an accomplished actor, stand-up comic and satirist. His original satires, which close the annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) conferences, receive standing ovations year after year. His deadpan delivery combines cerebral musings, wordplay, original props, and classic slapstick, including concussion-inducing pratfalls, bottles of olive oil drenching his head, or a dance duet with an inflatable lowlife woman.
His "warm up acts" have included evangelist Billy Graham and former Vice-President Al Gore. In 1980 he played the role of Reissman in the feature film, My Bodyguard. He also performed at the TYPO conference twice, the largest graphic design conference in Europe, and at YPO University in Florence, as well as the Aspen Design Conference.
"Another perfect film." -indieWIRE
"Hypnotic. " -The Village Voice
"Unforgettable." -San Francisco Examiner
"One of the most sensuous documentaries you will ever see." -The East Bay Express
Before that, Rielly was Executive Vice-President of Acronym Media, a high end direct marketing boutique agency that helps clients acquire customers through Search Engine Marketing. Clients include SAP Worldwide, Sirius Satellite Radio, AFL-CIO, DNC, The New York Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Lydall, the John Kerry documentary film Going Upriver, and Euro RSCG, the third largest advertising holding company.
PlanetOut was the recipient of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Award for Outstanding Interactive Media, The Webby People’s Voice Award for best community site, The AOL member’s choice award, and the Microsoft Outstanding Content Provider Award. It received Yahoo! Internet Life magazine’s Best of the Best ’98 and ’99.
In addition, Rielly received a medal for Outstanding Innovation in Information Technology from the ComputerWorld/Smithsonian Awards. PlanetOut was named one of Upside’s 100 hottest private companies, and Rielly was named one of the Upside 100 most influential people in Silicon Valley.
PlanetOut and Rielly have been the subject of stories in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Out, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Advocate, and Advertising Age, among others.
In 1991 Rielly worked with Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, MPH of the San Francisco Board of Health to reach out to gay men in AOL chat rooms who were contracting syphilis in alarming numbers. Their collaboration was featured on the front page of the New York Times as well as many other media outlets, and then published by Dr. Klausner in the New England Journal of Medicine. PlanetOut, Inc. continues to offer education about STDs accessible easily in all its chat rooms.
Previously, Rielly served as President and CEO of PlanetOut and held senior marketing and sales posts at SuperMac, Radius, Farallon and the Voyager Company.
Rielly is also creator, co-founder and board member of Digital Queers an influential non-profit made up of technology professionals who raise money to equip lesbian and gay civil rights organization with modern computer technology. DQ also trains activists nationwide how to use computer and online technology in their work. Since its founding in 1992, DQ has raised over a half million dollars in cash, goods and services for these organizations.
DQ merged with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) on January 7, 1999. The combined organization will continue DQ’s work, with DQ making up GLAAD’s Silicon Valley Wing.
DQ and Rielly have been subject of stories in the New York Times, Out Magazine, and The Advocate among others.
Rielly writes occasional articles for The Advocate & I.D. magazine and contributed a chapter, with Karen Wickre, to Out in All Directions: A Gay and Lesbian Almanac (Warner Books, 1996) and frequently speaks at industry events.
Rielly was educated at Georgetown University, Yale University and the Sorbonne, but dropped out to enter the nascent Macintosh industry. He enjoys politics, gay and lesbian organizing, philanthropy, filmmaking, movies, DVD’s, science fiction, hiking and all things French and Italian. He lives in Manhattan and New York's Fire Island Pines.