Tag Archives: Marketing

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.


Episode 20: Business, Risk and Pants-Free Mindfulness



A few years ago, most of us would have thought of “sensory deprivation” as some kind of unique torture experience. But Jim Hefner saw an opportunity for both personal, and business growth, all sans pantalon. Jim will share his experience discovering floating, and turning that discovery into creating the world’s largest sensory depravation center in Pasadena.

After a lifetime of using business to fuel his passions, Jim found himself at the center of a seismic life shift in which opportunity, fatherhood, and mindfulness coalesced. The result was Just Float, the world’s largest and most advanced float center. Since his very first float, Jim has been convinced that floating is a powerful tool for mindfulness and healing, and his journey has placed him in contact with a diverse and committed community of people who are out to prove it.

This journey has been marked by intensely stressful, risk-filled and sometimes overwhelmingly dark moments. But through a lifetime of survival, business experience, outdoor adventure, and inner exploration, Jim has found himself uniquely poised to not only revolutionize an industry, but to profoundly re-shape himself as well.

Bio:

Jim Hefner is co-founder and visionary of the world’s largest float center, Just Float, located in Pasadena, CA.  He is also a fledgling psycho-naut, serial entrepreneur, MBA, adventure athlete, husband and father, who also happens to be rabid about floating and creating the perfect float environment. Throughout his life, he’s been drawn to hobbies and experiences that require perfect commitment to the moment. Whether on a sheer rock face, a mountain bike, a wave, or in a float tank, what matters most to him is the sacred experience of flow, of absolute attention, and freedom from the noise of everyday life.

 

Twitter:  @justfloat


Episode 19: Startup Failure Is Not What You Think



This talk explores new ways of looking at failure in the World of Startups. Failure is being presented not as a possible outcome, but rather as a mile-marker that all Startups go through. Specifically it covers a concept of “unfail” or “unfailure”, where Startups try to “unfail” every element of their business on their way to success.

It also examines importance of failure, in its traditional sense, as it pertains to Startups, and analyzes reasons why failure is so common. It emphasizes how Lean Startup principals are connected with failure scenarios and lessons learned.

Bio:

Before Co-Founding Raken, Sergey served in capacities of Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Officer and Chief Product Officer. Sergey is a serial entrepreneur co-founding multiple successful Startups focused on Small Business Marketing and eCommerce. Last Startup co-founded by Sergey was acquired by Capital One in 2014. Sergey specializes in implementation of subscription based high volume SaaS platforms, with strong emphasis on early stage product development, product marketing and customer acquisition. Specific areas of expertise include User Testing, A/B Testing, Marketing, Big Data, Video Management, eCommerce, RTB platforms and Cloud Computing.

Sergey has B.A. in Computer Science from the University of California, San Diego, M.S. in Information Technology from the University of Liverpool. Ph.D. in Information Technology Management from the School of Business and Technology, Capella University.


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 17: Going Global: Localizing a Localization Startup



As a copywriting and translation agency, Supertext has helped many startups go global by localizing websites, software, apps, and more. A decade after starting up in Europe, it decided to eat its own dog food – Supertext USA, Inc. launched in Silicon Valley in 2016. Kristy Sakai, CEO, talks about the challenges companies face when expanding internationally. What does it mean to have a global strategy? What should drive expansion and growth? How do you remain true to your brand or product when adapting to markets? Find out about the hard lessons learnt and why it’s still worth it.

Bio:

Kristy Sakai is CEO of Supertext USA, Inc. Born to Japanese parents, she spent her early childhood in the sunny state of California, had a few testing years in Japan before surviving adolescence in England. After graduating from the London School of Economics with a BSc in Management, she moved to Berlin. There, she honed her entrepreneurial skills as a freelance copywriter and translator, subsequently joining ADAPT, a copywriting & design agency for international markets. As Head of English and East Asian Languages, she was key to establishing the agency in the advertising industry through marketing, account management and project management. 10 years later, she joined Supertext in Zurich in its early startup stage. Founded as the first web-based copywriting service, Supertext shook up the industry with the digitalization and automation of workflows way back when projects were still being managed by email. Today, it offers copywriting, translating, localizing, editing and proofreading services in more than 30 languages for all industries. Kristy is now back full circle in Los Angeles to head up Supertext’s US expansion. Wherever she is, she remains true to her mission: to rid the world of bad copy. Because she believes the pen is mightier than the sword.

 

Twitter: @kristysakai

Email: kristy@supertext.com


Episode 16: Media Literacy 101: How Combat “FAKE NEWS”



With all the talk about “fake news” and new questions arising about what to trust — we’re setting the record straight.

Understand how the news media works. What is mainstream media anyway? Who writes and produces it? What goes into it? Who is breaking news? Where do they get that info?

Understand what news gathering is, who breaks news and what that means. How to tell if a news source is legitimate. And how to tell if a news source is not ethical.

We’re pulling back the curtain on how the news business works. We’re showing you how news is gathered, what’s at stake with every story, and how to stay informed (without getting fooled by fake news or propaganda).

The freedom of the press is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution for a reason — we’ll explain why and show students how they too can be best informed and fight against fake news and unethical sources of misinformation.

Gain a better understanding of the media landscape in 2017. We’ll reveal what are ethical, vetted sources of information, and why the freedom of the press is vital to democracy.

(This overview is a preview to a longer course series being taught at General Assembly April 24 – June 5).

 

Lori Kozlowski, Journalist, Editor, Media Exec

Twitter: @lorikozlowski

Email: lori@lorikozlowski.com

Lori is a journalist, editor, producer, and media executive, exploring storytelling in all of its forms. She produced the virtual reality documentary series Project Empathy. Previously, she served as Editorial Director at entertainment company Atom Factory, leading the company’s media division. She also co-founded Smashd, a publication about culture, music, and tech. She was formerly a digital editor and columnist for Forbes, writing about entrepreneurs, startups, and technology. Prior to Forbes, she served as a senior editor at the Los Angeles Times for five years, where she headed mobile technology, digital strategy, and emerging platforms for the media company. She has worked with MIT Media Lab startups on the merger of tech and story, and has served as adjunct faculty at Chapman University and USC. Her work has appeared in numerous national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Variety, among many others.

 

Aunny (De La Rosa) Bathe

Founder + CEO

DLR Public Relations

www.dlrpublicrelations.com

t: @aunnyd

ig: @dlrpublicrelations

Email: aunny@dlrpublicrelations.com

Aunny is a PR professional with over 15 years experience working with the media on behalf of her roster of tech and consumer clients. Aunny joined a digital marketing agency right out of college at the height of the tech boom where she cut her teeth building communications programs for enterprise software companies and large consumer brands like Virgin and Kodak. Since then, she has experienced all sides of the table working at PR agencies, managing corporate communications in-house, and consulting both small companies and established brands at every stage of business. Some of her current and past clients include, Yelp, deviantART, Project Empathy, Science 37, Talenthouse, Fluence, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, and Birdwell Beach Britches.


Episode 15: Patient Care & Community Engagement in 2030 & Beyond (Kaiser School of Medicine)



The Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will offer more than a conventional medical education. It offers the unique opportunity to be taught by the physicians of the Permanente Medical Groups, recognized as one of the premier medical groups in the nation, and surrounded by the people, data and technology of Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s highest-performing health care models. Students will get invaluable realworld experience in an inclusive environment of multi-dimensional diversity, and will prosper in a culture of wellness, resilience and total health. This unparalleled approach will create physicians who have the knowledge, skills and passion to lead the transformation of health care in our nation and help our communities thrive. • Students will learn how to deliver high quality care from one of the nation’s premier medical groups, whose physicians have been teaching physicians for over 70 years. • They will get unparalleled access to the people, data and advanced technology of KP’s future-facing care delivery model.

 

• Students will get invaluable clinical experience from Day One, learning how to provide compassionate, healing, hands-on quality care in a team-based environment.

• They’ll find multi-dimensional diversity — of thought, experience and culture — in every aspect of the school.

• Students will learn what matters from the interplay of information and experience between the clinical and classroom settings.

 

Bio:

Christine K. Cassel, MD is the Planning Dean of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. Previously, she was the President and CEO of the National Quality Forum. She is a leading national expert in geriatric medicine, medical ethics, health policy and quality of care. Dr. Cassel was one of 20 scientists chosen by President Obama to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which advises the President on science, technology, and innovation relevant to responsible and effective policy. Among her many professional achievements and honors, Dr. Cassel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, was President of the American College of Physicians, Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine; President of the American Federation for Aging Research; and was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director at the National Institutes of Health. She has served on the boards of directors of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Premier Inc., and the Greenwall Foundation.


Episode 14: Why Good UX Design is Smart Business



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?

Bios:

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.


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 11: The Five Smartest and Dumbest Things I did as a Founder



The Managing Director of Techstars LA shares the story of her journey as an entrepreneur.  She will talk about how she transitioned from a McKinsey consultant to a tech founder, how she raised money, grew her company and sold it, and the mistakes she made along the way.  She’ll also provide an overview of the new Techstars LA accelerator program and how she’s applying what she learned as a founder to helping other entrepreneurs.

Bio:

Anna Barber is the Managing Director of Techstars LA, an accelerator program that is part of the global Techstars network.  After graduating from Yale and Yale Law School, she started her career as a corporate lawyer focused on public company transactional work and spent two years at McKinsey as a strategy consultant to retail, media and financial services companies. She served as VP Product at Petstore.com and two other early stage e-commerce companies, before transitioning to Los Angeles where she started a talent management firm and produced two feature films.  In 2006 Anna sat next to a woman on an airplane who became her business partner in her next startup, Scribble Press. Anna was most recently GM and VP Partnerships at Fingerprint Digital, after exiting Scribble Press to Fingerprint. During the past decade she has served as an advisor, strategy consultant and coach to many other entrepreneurs, with a focus on product roadmap, commercialization, business development and financing.

She loves the concept-to-launch phase, go to market strategy, fundraising strategy and growth planning.  In her coaching work she focuses on building high performance teams and helping founders grow with their companies.  She believes in the power of storytelling and creating harmony between personal and company goals.  Find her @annawbarber.

email anna.barber@techstars.com