Tag Archives: Pasadena

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 28: William Hung from American Idol fame: From Obscurity to Prosperity



Are you looking to make your own unique impact in the world? How do you find your unique identity? If you want to improve sales and be more successful with your business, then you are in for a treat! William’s presentation will show how you can:

– Break their mental barriers to success
– Build your business by following your true passion
– Embrace your identity and stop worrying about the perceptions of people around you

Bio:

From his experience working in the entertainment industry and overcoming rejection, William Hung learned the importance of perseverance to make dreams become reality. After American Idol, he appeared on Extra, Ellen, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, to name a few. He also recorded 3 albums for KOCH records and his first album, “Inspiration”, was the #1 independent album on Billboards! Also, he appeared on numerous commercials, including AT & T, AskJeeves.com, and Jack in the Box. His fans celebrate the impact he has on their lives.He now hopes to help YOU maximize your potential and wants YOU to achieve YOUR dreams as an inspirational speaker. Audiences include business groups, associations, and conferences.

 

Twitter handle: @wh53

Speaker email: info@williamhung.net


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 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.


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 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.