Monthly Archives: February 2017

Episode 09:Entrepreneurship and the razor-thin difference between success and failure with Bill Cullen

Are you an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial?

Is there a difference? Aren’t both innovators, promoters, builders, leaders, passionate, persistent and dedicated?

Being a successful entrepreneur starts with who you are. If you’re forced at gun point to walk a tight-rope between two New York skyscrapers, do you ask for a safety net or not?

Entrepreneurship is identifying, evaluating and exploiting an opportunity. It could be a solo project or something on the scale of Google or Uber.

But a new venture isn’t always an innovative idea to meet a need the consuming public didn’t think they had. It can be as simple as looking at an old idea or method in a new way. A case in point, good companies are always singling out people who are “intrapreneurial” because inside ventures are driven by the need for innovation to add sustainable competitive advantage and economic value.

So why do some businesses succeed and others fail? David Drucker says it’s usually due to poor management, not because the idea was bad although that’s certainly a factor. While there’s no substitute for skilled and experienced management when the going gets tough, there are several other critical success factors besides good science and technology such as attitude, patience, people, good habits and timing. We’ll explore these in depth with many real world examples of success and failure and what made a difference.



Bill Cullen is a highly respected executive with 40-plus years of C-level experience in media, mobile, consumer products and advertising businesses. He is actively engaged as an adviser and board member specializing in strategic positioning, financial management and complex business dealings for early-stage and middle-market companies including a well recognized travel comfort products company a long-established sunglass brand, both enjoying rapid growth in worldwide distribution.

Previously, he has led a leading mobile marketing company that he sold to a competitor, served in various executive officer capacities including Chairman and CEO of a publically traded, enterprise software developer, a long-form advertising company that he helped organize and grow from inception to serve approximately 30 million cable television households, and founded a news programming project for Cox Communications, Inc. He held various high level leadership positions in the cable television industry for two decades and was recognized for a record of innovation, industry progress, and marketing excellence.

Mr. Cullen began his business career in banking and has held several senior finance positions in a wide variety of businesses including professional sports, real estate, restaurants and consumer, industrial and commercial finance companies.

Episode 08: Echo Factory Presents: Women in Technology


Renée LaBran, Senior Advisor, Idealab

Renée is a seasoned executive, investor, board director and advisor. She currently oversees a portfolio of investments and serves on the board of directors for Rustic Canyon/Fontis (a growth stage fund) and as a top advisor to Idealab, a preeminent tech incubator in Pasadena. Renée also serves as Gov. Brown’s appointee to the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California as a non-attorney public member.

Max Powers, SVP, Business Operations, TeleSign

Max heads Client Services and directs the operational business team for TeleSign, a leading Internet security platform. She leads global routing and makes sure Client Services helps TeleSign’s worldwide customers optimize service workflow, shorten service integration time and solve immediate real-world security and fraud challenges.

Natalie Sun, Creative Technologist & Producer; Founder, Next Art

Natalie is a creative force who likes to “tinker with technology and design great experiences that allow people to share their stories.” She exercises these passions through her career as a digital creative consultant, VR producer and art tech curator and as the founder of Next Art Night, a series of events that focuses on future-making experiments by artists working in technology.


Dea Goldsmith, Chief Creative Officer; Founder, Echo-Factory

Dea is responsible for all things creative at Pasadena-based advertising agency Echo-Factory. She spends the majority of her time thinking about, strategizing and iterating new ideas with her happy team of creatives. Dea is a firm believer in harnessing the power of technology in marketing to deliver explosive business growth.

Episode 07: Tim Cadogan (CEO OpenX) talks about his experiences building Open X

In this session Tim Cadogan will talk about some of his experiences building OpenX. Topics will include strategic focus, navigating the life cycle of a company, making decisions in the face of uncertainty, leadership choices and implications, shaping culture & communicating through adversity. 

OpenX creates quality programmatic advertising markets that drive superior monetization for publishers and optimal value for brands. As monetization partners to more than 1,200 publishers worldwide, OpenX has the largest knowledge base of publishers needs and trends. Our robust global technology infrastructure that ensures full reliability for all ad formats across all digital environments.

Tim Cadogan is the Chief Executive Officer of OpenX and Chairman of the Board of Directors. From 2003-2008 Tim was at Yahoo!, most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Advertising Marketplaces overseeing the primary advertising product lines at the company, including Display, Search and Video. Previously at Yahoo!, Tim was Vice President of Search where he was responsible for both the consumer search and paid search businesses. Prior to Yahoo!, Tim was Vice President of Search at Overture (formerly Prior to Overture, he was a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company.

Tim earned his B.S. from The London School of Economics, his M.Phil from Oxford University and his MBA from Stanford University.

Episode 06: Civic Innovation & How it Improves our Lives: Pasadena as Case Study

Historically, innovation has been almost exclusively the realm of the private sector, but more recently there has been a movement to assess and strategically deploy innovation in the places we live.  Civic innovation includes new ideas, technologies or methodologies that improves upon existing processes and systems in order to improve the lives of citizens or the function of the society that they live within.  This broad concept includes but goes beyond the more narrow technology movement known as smart cities. It spans new modes of transportation or how existing modes might better work together, clever ways to capture real-time data across city infrastructure and enhance efficiency and citizen transparency, new approaches for managing zoning or even concepts as radical as what is a city and how does it function.  This presentation and conversation will introduce the concept of civic innovation and then explore a few specific examples of it at work in the City of Pasadena.


Andy Wilson is a serial entrepreneur having led, founded or invested in almost two dozen Southern California high tech start-ups. He has a long history of service with local not for profits including leadership roles at Pasadena Heritage, Pacific Oaks College, the Gamble House and STEAM Coders.  Andy is a co-founder and board member of Innovate Pasadena, which is dedicated to advancing the east side of Los Angeles as a vibrant innovation community. He is a frequent speaker on the role of innovation to create high paying local jobs with the goal of enhancing quality life in our community.

Andy has extensive volunteer experience with the City of Pasadena including service on the Planning Commission, Design Commission, Urban Forestry Advisory Commission and the Pasadena Center Operating Committee (the convention center & visitors bureau). Andy currently represents District 7 (District 7 includes Playhouse District, South Lake, Madison Heights, Oak Knoll, Caltech, Pasadena City College and  Langham Hotel neighborhood) on the Pasadena City Council.  He also serves on the both the Municipal Services Committee (the Pasdena Power & Water Company) and the Economic Development and Technology Committee of the City Council.

Andy is an advocate for thoughtful urban planning that protects neighborhoods and is committed to the Complete Streets and Active Transport concepts, making it easier for people to walk, bike, use transit and ride share. Since in office, Andy has been active in both the South Lake Business Association and the Playhouse District Association in an effort to attract more high quality tenants and promote the success of these District 7 Business Improvement Districts.  With an extensive background in finance, Andy is committed to fiscal responsibility while maintaining high quality services in key areas like public safety and recreation and parks.

Andy holds a degree in engineering with honors from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  He is a graduate of Leadership Pasadena and has completed advanced certificate programs at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Northwestern Kellogg School of Business.  He and his wife Liz can often be seen walking with their school aged boys and rescue dog in Madison Heights, their home for 20 years.