Category Archives: Computers

Episode 35: Cannabis vs. High Tech



A Side by Side Comparison of the Two Industries discussing their similarities and differences. How well do high tech experiences transfer to the cannabis industry? How do the obstacles differ? How are they similar?

Rich spent much of his career in high tech and online ventures. The last few years he’s been involved in the cannabis industry. Although all new business startups share significant similarities, he’ll contrast the unique challenges, the future trends, and the possible opportunities.

Bio:

Rich Rygg started his career at tech giants IBM and Hewlett-Packard gaining big company and big iron experience. Eventually he ended up in the online industry in 1990 well before the Internet was released. He lived through both the rise and deaths of online companies like CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL, as well as the birth and growth of the Internet and the many companies that have come and gone.

He opened the first AOL office in California, but shortly after joined the early top #3 Internet site GeoCities where they raised multiple rounds of VC funding, went public with a successful IPO, and then were acquired by Yahoo! He moved to Palo Alto, and launched a number of Yahoo! properties. Since then he’s been involved in many startups, ranging from online sites to telephony technology, to hemp oil, to soccer, to licensed dispensaries. He recently returned from a strategic consulting project in China related to its One Belt, One Road initiative.

Always curious, he loves the startup process and opportunities in the early stages of any industry. On Saturday mornings you’ll likely find him watching English Premiere League soccer at Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena, YNWA.

Speaker email: RichRygg@gmail.com


Episode 34: “TGIM”: A new look at how to create the best work environment



Baby Boomers and Millennials are the two largest work forces in the history of our country, yet they approach work happiness from completely different viewpoints. Why is this? It’s not necessarily what you think or have read about in the news. There are distinct imprints that each generation brings into the working world and in this talk you will leave looking at your own work/life happiness in a new way. Whether you are a Baby Boomer, a Generation X, a Millennial or Centennial, you will take away practices that you can implement today at your place of work. When we are happy at work, productivity rises and employees don’t leave. Let’s make your work life happier today and every day.

Bio:

Jody B. Miller is one of the country’s leading Career/Life Coaches and Company Culture Strategists. She is known as “The Work Happiness Expert.” She is also a Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker. Her passion is helping people achieve Work/Life Meaning and Happiness. Jody’s books and articles are read worldwide and she is interviewed regularly on television, radio and global podcasts. She contributes to publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Bloomberg BNA, CEO Magazine, HR.com (http://hr.com/), Thrive Global, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, and many more.

Jody has helped thousands of people find their dream job so that their work and life has meaning and happiness. She also helps companies develop corporate cultures that increase employee engagement and decrease departures.

Jody is the head of Dream Job Academy; an online portal of courses and personal coaching that help job seekers find true meaning and happiness in their work, and Company Culture Academy: courses that help companies create thriving cultures that invite employee engagement and collaborative productivity within the organization.

Her newest book, “From Drift to SHIFT: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life,” (https://www.amazon.com/Drift-Shift-Change-Brings-Meaning/dp/1683502922) has just been released worldwide. It follows the stories of amazing people who have gone through major challenges and shifts in order to find true meaning and happiness in their work. Because of these shifts, happiness flowed over into their personal lives and into their businesses and communities. It is an inspirational book that will give you the courage to make a shift in your life in order to achieve happiness and meaning, even if that means finding a way to love your current job. Remember – You Matter!

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jbmillerauthor

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/JodyBMillerAuthor

EMAIL: jmiller@c2cexecutivesearch.com


Episode 33: From Student to Entrepreneur: Jumping in Head First…



What is it like to be a first-time entrepreneur? In some ways, I imagine it is like mountain biking. There are parts that are uphill and parts that are fast moving and exhilarating…Also probably a good idea to keep an eye out for the steep drop-offs.

In my case, I had spent much of my life in academia. I heard a few exciting stories from colleagues about people they knew in start-ups, and perhaps I saw the Social Network one too many times. I read news about start-ups who seemed to quickly raise massive amounts of money for ideas that didn’t seem that groundbreaking to me. If they could do it, why can’t I?

The reality is, of course, a little different than the mythology. I’m looking forward to discussing what I learned, some common misconceptions, and provide some more clarity as to what it is like to be a first-time entrepreneur. Ultimately, it is a great endeavor, but a little different than most expect.

Bio:

Prior to founding EvoRx, Dr. Fiacco earned his PhD in the lab of Prof. Rich Roberts at the University of Southern California. He is an inventor on 5 patents and an author in 5 related publications.

Dr. Stephen Fiacco is a founding member of a local biotech company, EvoRx Technologies. There he serves as CEO where he oversees its general operations and business development. In this role, Dr. Fiacco has advanced the business through multiple negotiations of collaboration and license agreements with large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies. During one of these deals, intellectual property was created and sold to AstraZeneca. Other deals are ongoing and not able to be publicly disclosed, but have resulted in licensing arrangements. Additionally, he and his team had applied for and received a phase I SBIR contract from the National Cancer Institute. That work was successful, and Stephen and his team applied for and received a phase II SBIR grant. Work on the grant is currently ongoing. A major pharmaceutical company has expressed interest in partnering around and eventually acquiring the technology generated by those grants.

Dr. Fiacco is actively involved in the Los Angeles biotech community serving on the advisory board of Biocom LA and had previously served on the board of directors at Innovate Pasadena. In March of 2017, Dr. Fiacco was invited to travel to Washington DC to as a representative of the Los Angeles biotech community to discuss this growing industry in southern California as well as the social and economic importance of National Institute of Health funding.

Email: svfiacco@gmail.com


Episode 32: Adventures in STEAM



STEAM:CODERS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, teaches underrepresented and underserved K-12 students the fundamentals of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). Students engage in a variety of STEAM-related classes (i.e., Coding and Robotics) and field trips that allow students to learn directly from professionals – scientists, engineers and artists – and see technology first-hand. Our goal is to unlock each student’s potential for continued learning and future success, providing them with attainable pathways to academic and career pathways. We focus on developing their logic, creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Opportunity + Imagination = Innovation.

Bio:

Raymond Ealy, Executive Director, founded STEAM:CODERS in July 2014. The organization was a spin-off from the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation’s award-winning L.A.M.P. Mentor Program, based in Pasadena, CA. Ealy helped create the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program (L.A.M.P. – Leadership, Achievement, Management and Professionalism) in 2007, to provide soft skill training for underserved and underrepresented high school boys who wanted to attend and graduate from college. The L.A.M.P. Mentor Program students attend and have graduated from schools across the country (i.e., Harvard, UCLA, Amherst, UC Berkeley, Morehouse College, University of Michigan, Marist College, Loyola Marymount, Hampton University, American University, among many others).

STEAM;CODERS was created to address the demand for STEM (and STEAM) training for disadvantaged K-12 youth. STEAM:CODERS has served over 2500 students, since inception. Students have been introduced to the STEAM-related fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The program teaches logic, critical thinking and problem solving, providing attainable pathways for academic and career success. STEAM:CODERS focuses on underserved and underrepresented students of color, who attend Title 1 schools and reside in low-income households. Access to instruction, curricula and equipment, expands their skill sets and increases their exposure to industries and careers that may not be within their vision (i.e., coding, robotics, art and design).

Ealy has over 25 years of management experience in financial services, the nonprofit and retail sectors. Past positions have included management roles with Bank of America, Countrywide Financial Services, Security Pacific Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. Ealy currently serves on the following Boards: Innovate Pasadena, La Salle High School Board of Regents (Pasadena, CA)  and LA’s BEST Advisory Board (Los Angeles, CA). Previous board affiliations include the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation. He received a B.A. from Florida State University.


Episode 29: Future of Personal AI + Pasadena as a start-up location



AI is everywhere: AI driving cars. AI replacing doctors. AI writing music. Taxing robots. AI is taking over the world. By tying our data profiles to artificial intelligence, we can breathe life into our personal information and turn them into our very own 3D avatars; avatars that depict our identical likeness and can perform tasks as our representative. ObEN is developing Personal Artificial Intelligence (PAI), a 3D digital twin avatar that looks, talks, sings and thinks uniquely like its human counterpart. ObEN is also the leading developer for Project PAI, a fully decentralized block-chain based network designed to give people trackable ownership and management rights to their intelligent data profiles, or their PAI. In this talk, you will learn more about what role Personal Artificial Intelligence will play in our future lives.

Most AI companies are based out of Silicon Valley, however, ObEN decided to make Pasadena its home. One of the most common questions ObEN gets is: “Why Pasadena? Why not Silicon Valley?” In this talk, you will find out the critical role location plays in determining if a startup can build a team, raise an initial round of financing, get off the ground, compete in the marketplace, and survive.

Bio:

Nikhil Jain is co-founder and CEO of ObEN, an artificial intelligence company based in Pasadena. Prior to ObEN, Nikhil spent five years at Kaiser Permanente after which he founded two startups, Up and Running Software and OnGreen. Nikhil has an MBA from University of Southern California and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. Learn more at www.jain.ai.

ObEN is an AI company that develops Personal Artificial Intelligence, a 3D digital avatar that looks, talks, sings and thinks uniquely like its human counterpart. ObEN was cofounded by Nikhil Jain and Adam Zheng in 2014 with the belief that every person in the world should have their own AI-driven virtual copy which can do things on behalf of the human for which he/she might not have the time or the capability. Nikhil and Adam started the company based on their personal experiences when their kids missed them as they were traveling on business and wished they could leave a virtual copy of themselves behind.

ObEN is based out of Idealab in Pasadena, CA. All technology is developed in-house and is patented. It currently has a team of 35+ of which almost 70% have PhDs and other advanced degrees from top schools such as Caltech, Berkeley, MIT, Princeton, USC and UCLA. ObEN has raised $13.8 million to date in Series A funding from top investors including Tencent, Softbank Korea and HTC.

List of other investors and partners can be found here: https://oben.me/press/


Episode 24: 5 Hi-Profit Secrets from a Hi-Profit Guy



Red is great for lipstick and the sole of your stilettos  – not so much for your balance sheets and bank accounts. The path to profitability can often be seemingly endless, snarled, and plagued with fender-benders and traffic jams – but it doesn’t have to be mysterious or lonely. And while every brand forges its own unique path, there are five markers that guide the way for them all.

This session will cover the 5 steps all direct to consumer brands must take as they navigate their way towards the black:

1) Product Development & Category Expansion

2) Inventory Planning & Allocation

3) Sales Channels, Marketing & Analytics

4) Financial Plans, People Plan & Operations

5) Funding & Pace of Growth

They say it’s the journey that matters, but when we’re talking about profitability, it’s the destination that makes or breaks a brand.

Bio:

Drew Koven is Managing Director of LDR Ventures, an LA based Venture Capital group that works with early stage fashion and consumer lifestyle brands to incubate, operate and grow with a clear path to profitability. LDR focuses on Fashion and Footwear, Food, Health & Beauty, eCommerce, Omnichannel Retail, Fashion Tech & Retail Tech. Notable investments include: Thrive Market, sweetgreen, Fame & Partners and Bow & Drape. They embrace diversity, impact, inclusion and female founders. LDR is opening an incubator in Los Angeles this summer to address the specific needs of fashion and consumer brands and has recently launched a podcast called The BizFix.

An entrepreneur and intrapreneur, Drew was formerly CEO of The Beach People, a home fashion Company his team took global, achieving 5000% growth, which he sold. His executive leadership roles include: Vice President of Omnichannel retail and eCommerce for Guess Jeans, President of eCommerce and Customer Experience for Steve Madden Shoes, CMO/CDO for Melissa & Doug Toys and CMO of FreshDirect, the online grocer. As a leader and culture builder, he has experienced very low single digit turnover with his teams and mantra of “People Before Profits.”

Drew was awarded as a Top 25 Retailer by Apparel Magazine, Top 3 Mobile Marketer by Mobile Marketer Magazine, Boston Business Hall of Fame Inductee, Virgin Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year, a 40 under 40 recipient and is an Advisory Board Member of Apparel Magazine. He has his finger on the pulse of today’s global retail environment and the ins-and-outs of starting and growing businesses. He is married with two sons and lives in Los Angeles.


Episode 23: How to Future Proof your Tech Stack



Optimizing your tech stack with key products is essential for business operations and productivity. This talk will cover essential elements and tips for success:

1. Expect Google to lead on computing, storage, and network.

2. Don’t build a configuration server, instead use Google sheets.

3. Not sure who is gonna win the cloud war? Remember docker and kuberbetes.

4. Tensorflow adoption curve can help you meet your AI needs.

 

Bio:

Darian studied Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University and then served as a Marine.  While engaged in an enterprise software career over the last 17 years, he has enjoyed creative projects like building VillagetheGame.com, acting, and teaching entrepreneurship overseas.  Some of Darian’s personal interests include hang-gliding, kiteboarding, and staying active with CrossFit.


Episode 22: The Evolution of Twitter



We will take a look at how twitter has evolved over the last 11 years, from 140 Characters to a Live Streaming Platform.

Bio:

Alexa is based in Los Angeles and serves as an Account Executive to Media & Entertainment clients at Twitter. In her 5 years at the social media company, she has worked closely with​ ​many of the major movie studios and TV networks on​ ​innovative ways to market a movie or TV show on Twitter.​ ​Alexa was one of the first sales hires in Twitter’s New York office and also​ ​had the opportunity to start Twitter’s offices in Miami and Mexico City.
Prior to Twitter,​ ​Alexa earned her BA at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She enjoys a home-cooked meal from her Italian family and has likely been to more Phish shows than you.


Episode18: Doing Business in the Face of Growing Uncertainty



Our technology, business models, geo-politics and a not too distant inter-planetary (inter-reality) life are all growing in complexity and uncertainty. The age old profit-wage correlation is one of the many lagging indicators that most of our ways of economically and socially operating no longer hold as they did. Volatility creeps up in most facets of our lives at whiplash pace. And there’s no going back. In this talk we will cover what we think are the require tools to thrive in uncertainty and what we think is a new form of worldwide literacy that must be developed: Computational Literacy.

Computational Literacy is a new set of skills that combines data science, algorithmic thinking, AI/Machine Learning enhanced pattern recognition and probability assessments. The ingredients are all there for every person on earth to become literate in a computational perception. The complexity of data sets and the relationships between time, people, resources and economics have grown beyond any Newtonian model of the world or our most basic sensory apparatus. That is, no single human using only their common 5 senses and little elbow grease has the capacity to assess many important decisions on a daily basis – everyone, and especially businesses, need to develop a new literacy that unlocks much larger data sets and much more robust probability assessments of possible outcomes.

This talk will cover the functional definition of Computational Literacy, make a case for its relevance through examples and showcase the already available tools and devices to make anyone, particularly a business person, fully computer literate. There will be live interactive examples using real world phenomena and real world data.

Bio:

Russ is a co-founder of Case Zero (case0.com), a machine-learning data platform that automates market and product development for startups and SMB companies. He is a 17 year veteran of consumer internet and large scale data intelligence platforms. He has started several companies. He has been part of a successful IPO as well as a handful of private acquisitions. He has led several large distributed technical, product and marketing teams.

– Currently a mentor for TechStars Austin, providing strategic guidance to start-ups and TechStars managing director

– Serving as advisor and technical strategist for Thisway Global and Smarter Sorting Inc.

– In 2013, Russell and his wife founded Acton Academy Venice Beach,  a k-12 alternative education school focused learner driven education

– Named “Top 100 IT Executive” by ComputerWorld Magazine for his work at TrueCar.com where he led the creation of and managed the team and tech for the world’s largest, most sophisticated automotive industry data platform

– Deep relationships with executives at Facebook, Experian, Neustar, Hortonworks, Wolfram Research and many other large data and media firms

– Has given several talks at conferences like LeadsCon, Hadoop World and Semantic Web World as a recognized expert in large scale data platforms

– Past presentation videos: Data is the Only Marketplace  |  Behind The TrueCar Data Platform

– 2016 included talks at Google HQ and Hadoop World Business Track

– Has held business, technical, product management and BI leadership positions at Wolfram|Alpha, TrueCar, IAC/Citysearch, Business.com Grind Networks and several large internet content companies. He has a track record of intense business intelligence driven decision drive by the enthusiasm of an entrepreneur and the patience of an investor

– Previous strategy and execution engagements include Hachette Filipacchi Media, Alpha Media Group, Vizio, DrPhil.com, Carney Inc, Sony DADC and more

– In late 2015 Russell Retired from TrueCar and launched a successful visual and fine arts career. In his first year he held 3 exhibitions, wrote a book, sold 74 paintings and continues to produce art on a daily basis. His upcoming work will be seen in Portland, OR in association with Vertigo Productions in April 2017. His art and philosophy can be found at www.worksonbecoming.com . Additional writing and essays on technology and culture can be found at www.socialmode.com  (a bit of an older blog)

Russell has run all aspects of a media and awareness strategy and execution – both as a first party operator and as a third party consultant. Additionally he has helped create several large scale search engines, social media platforms and analytics platforms currently in use by hundreds of millions of people.

Twitter: @un1crom