This is the first episode of a new segment for the Friday Coffee Meet-Up Podcast. I’ll be interviewing tech start ups in Pasadena and around the Los Angeles area. In this inaugural episode I spoke with Pasadena start up Alpha Token about how they’re creating a brand new ecosystem for content creators powered by a new cryptocurrency.
This is a must have talk for technology business leaders looking into the future of blockchain for your organization. We will go beyond the cryptocurrency use case and ICO’s to understand what’s current and next on the roadmap for blockchain. Features and properties of the blockchain ecosystem will be discussed by looking at various platforms.
Hung Q. Tran, is a 22 years technology veteran who builds and oversees world class engineering teams to design, create, strategize, produce, launch and release groundbreaking products, applications and software. Mr. Tran formerly lead Machinima Inc. as founding CTO, a digital video entertainment network acquired by Warner Brothers Digital. Mr. Tran works on an AML/KYC compliant version of Bitcoin, and is currently leading The Change Group, LLC., a new company focused on blockchain as its President and CEO.
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.
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.
A New Internet age is upon us. Fueled by blockchain technology, this shift will catalyze the greatest reallocation of value in human history.
Blockchains are a shared record keeping system. Transactions are recorded in a way that’s transparent, immutable, and decentralized. Blockchains aren’t governed by a central authority. The record is maintained by a distributed network of independent users.
The New Internet will enable the building of applications that reinvent the way in which we assign, transact, and capture value.
Jason Robert is Co-Founder & CEO of HelloSugoi, an event ticketing platform. His company leverages the Ethereum blockchain to reduce ticket fees, manage the secondary market, and eliminate fraud. Jason oversees the company’s operations, drives product development, and formulates marketing strategy. Jason spent 4 years as a Creative at Apple. He’s also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. Jason has composed songs at BMG Production Music for high-profile TV shows on NBC, CBS, FOX, Netflix, and Showtime. He’s also released several albums as Lost Midas on the Tru Thoughts label to critical acclaim by the BBC and NPR.
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.
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/
We will take a look at how twitter has evolved over the last 11 years, from 140 Characters to a Live Streaming Platform.
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.
Erik Wingren and Petra Wennberg Cesario, partners and co-founders of Interactivism, will present and discuss the value of user-centered design, focusing on critical questions:
-What is real UX?
-How does UX fit into the development process?
-Why is it critical to engage design early on, and how do you do that?
-How do UX designers understand the user?
-How does UX increase engineering output?
-How does UX attract and retain users?
– What is the ROI of embracing the UX design process?
Erik Wingren brings 15+ years of experience designing and shipping digital products and services, allowing him to add unique value to every aspect and stage of the product design process. With a degree in anthropology, and graduate studies in creative business management and organizational development, Erik started his career in Design Research, but has expanded his toolbox over the years to span the full width of User Experience Design. Before founding Interactivism in 2012, Erik worked with companies like Idealab, Iconmobile, Sony Design Center, Myspace, and Science. As a consultant, Erik help clients develop brand- & product propositions that are informed and inspired by real people’s needs, behaviors and motivations.
Petra Wennberg Cesario is a Visual / UX Designer with over 15+ years of experience designing effective brands and digital products for Startups to Fortune 500 companies. Born in Sweden, studying communication design at Art Center College of Design (Europe) in Switzerland, then completing her BA in Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Petra is the co-founder of the North East LA based UX Meetup NELAUX that focuses in fostering a thriving community of designer and engineers in the NELA area. She is also a founding Executive Board Member at Innovate Pasadena, and organization with a mission to create a vibrant ecosystem of technology and design innovation in the greater Pasadena area that supports sustainable economic growth.
With over 150 million daily active users participating over 10 billion views daily, Snapchat has emerged as today’s fastest growing social platform. And as Venice-based Snap Inc marches towards its IPO, adults and marketers alike are trying to figure out how to make the most of the channel which is easy to use, but hard to understand. SNAPCHAT 101 author Scott Perry takes away the mystery surrounding the platform by showing the basics of use for Snapchat, and providing an overview of best practices in using Snapchat to promote your brand or business.
In this presentation Perry goes over the macro reasons for joining Snapchat, breaks down the basics of everyday use, explains a lot of the challenges within the platform, goes over how to post, what to post, when to post, and the various paid & free channels businesses can use to engage with potential customers, as well as promote themselves on the platform.
Scott Perry, founder of marketing firm Sperry Media, has made a living for nearly two decades by helping everyone from Fortune 500 companies to indie stores understand emerging platforms for their business, whether it’s been email, ad networks, Friendster, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and numerous other channels which have come & gone along the way. Clients have included Hasbro, Universal, Sony, Comedy Central, BBC, CBS, Fox, MTV, Nokia, Turner Networks, and nearly every single record label in America.
Perry’s first book, SNAPCHAT 101 is a Top 3 best seller on Amazon, and was most recently #1 Most Wishlisted, ahead of such luminaries as Guy Kawasaki and Ryan Holiday. SNAPCHAT 101 has even been called by Snap Inc founder Evan Spiegel, “Easy to understand and approachable.”
Hop along on Jürgen’s journey through technology and media as digital advances have empowered creative professionals and consumers to express themselves. Along the way, explore some of the hard-learned entrepreneurial lessons that grew out of managing product development at publishing icon Quark, serving as CEO of consumer software company Nero, and founding Stashimi, the mobile app and platform for musicians to connect to their fans.
Stashimi revolutionizes how artists engage with fans by using proprietary technology that aggregates content from social media avenues like Facebook and Instagram as well as media outlets like Billboard and Stashimi creates a feed of information tailored to its users’ interests accompanied by Pandora-style music stations. In addition, the app is making moves to intertwine itself with the cultures surrounding music.
Just 25 years ago, music and video production, along with almost every kind of publishing, was available only to companies with deep pockets. Today everybody can be a publisher using Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud and other platforms and tools. Some see challenge, others see the opportunity. Jürgen Kurz has seen both sides and has the stories and insights to show for it.
Jürgen Kurz is entrepreneurially driven software executive with a proven track record to develop, launch and scale award winning products. Throughout his career, Jürgen has enjoyed to develop, launch and scale many award winning products. Prior to founding Stashimi, Jürgen was the CEO of Nero, a household consumer brand for audio and video management with a base of well over 100 Million customers. Before Nero, Jürgen led product development at digital publishing icon Quark (QuarXPress). Nero has an installed base of well over 100 Million loyal consumers with over 1 Million monthly app downloads. On top of Nero’s own products, many of the world’s leading PC, mobile and TV manufacturers bundle its technologies. At Quark, Jürgen helped to build some amazing products and quickly ended up managing the entire product development organization with multiple desktop and enterprise products and hundreds of passionate PMs and engineers in our development centers in the US, Germany and India.