Tag Archives: CEO

Episode 21: The Roller Coaster Ride to 40 Million Monthly Users



An honest discussion of the realities of a journey of a of a 5 time successful entrepreneur whose company – Ranker – now reaches 40 million people monthly and is solidly profitable with over 60 employees. Benson will take us through his self-funded beginnings to early angel rounds (partly secured in Pasadena), and funding from “name” VCs like Lowercase, Draper, and Wavemaker, and will discuss not just the success but also the many pitfalls even an experienced entrepreneur faced.

With all his prior success, Benson still did plenty of things wrong in the process of starting Ranker and had to work with less than ideal resources to survive, and eventually thrive. Benson will discuss the challenges of the tech world where massive changes are happening year-over-year and how even disruptive businesses can find themselves quickly disrupted. He will explain how to navigate hype vs reality with investors, and the Silicon Valley investor mentality vs everywhere else, among other topics.

 

Bio:

Clark Benson is the founder and CEO of Ranker, the leading digital media company for opinion-based, crowd-sourced rankings on just about everything. Launched in 2009, Ranker is Benson’s fifth startup. Ranker creates editorial lists to vote on about virtually every topic, and the 40 million+ monthly audience’s opinions shape the rankings. Prior to Ranker, Benson’s company, eCrush, an early social network for teens, was bought by Hearst Corporation in 2006. Benson lives in the Hollywood Hills with his wife and young twins.


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


Episode 13: Staying Ahead of the Curve in an Era of Change



An overview of Laserfiche’s rise to become an international developer of the world’s premiere Enterprise Content Management software. From its humble beginnings with a unique sales structure, to its evolution into an industry leader that annually hosts Empower, the largest ECM conference in the United States, Laserfiche has continued to reinvent and improve the industry for the past three decades. CEO Christopher Wacker will explain where Laserfiche fits within the ECM landscape and how the company has positioned itself for future growth and expansion. He will also touch upon the company’s roadmap – its Digital Transformation Model – and how it will ultimately improve those Laserfiche end users that embark upon it.

Bio:

Chris Wacker is the CEO of Laserfiche, the leading global provider of content management software. With intuitive on-premises and Cloud solutions for document management and business process automation.  Laserfiche products improve productivity, efficiency and strategic decision-making for clients across industries.

Chris co-founded Compulink and Laserfiche in the 1980s with his late wife and partner Nien-Ling Wacker. They grew the organization from a small software consulting company to a more than $100 million software developer headquartered in Long Beach, CA, with offices across the United States, as well as in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and China.

Earlier in his career, Chris worked in Saudi Arabia for Ralph M. Parsons, Construction Engineers, where he helped develop the municipal systems infrastructure for a new city with a population of 50,000 people. Before that, he spent several years with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Chris has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and speaks several foreign languages. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from Hofstra University in New York.


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 GoTo.com). 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.