Tag Archives: Pasadena

Episode 70: Space to Startup



Erin was a Dragon Mission Director for SpaceX. Then she took off around the world for a year, had a baby, and started her own business. What did she learn from her years working for Elon Musk? How did she take the leap from stable corporate employment to being self-employed and mobile? And where is Wana now, one year after Erin took the big bet on her free babysitting tech startup? Join us for an inside look at the GO from space engineer to social entrepreneur.

BIO:

Erin Beck is an aerospace engineer, scuba instructor, theatre director, and round-the-world backpacker turned mompreneur at the birth of her first child two years ago. She is the Founder and CEO of Wana, an online marketplace for family-to-family babysitting exchange. Before that, she was a SpaceX Dragon Mission Director, designing and operating the spacecraft bound for the International Space Station. She believes skills are cumulative and transferable across disciplines. She believes being a parent tops them all.


Episode 67: From Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur



Jeff began his career at IBM. After 3 uneventful years, he moved to Google to help launch the Google Apps (now GSuite) business. After running the Education team for 4 years and growing the business to 70% market share, he transitioned to help launch the Chromebook product line and drove the go-to-market strategy.

But 6 years and 2 major launches were at Google was enough. Following this 6-year stint helping launch new businesses at Google, he joined other Xooglers to help launch Upstart the first lending platform to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to price credit and automate the borrowing process. He is now leading Powered by Upstart, Upstart’s new white label offering for banks.

The transition from employee to intrapreneur to entrepreneur may seem daunting – but it’s easier than you think. Come hear about Jeff’s story and the lessons you can take away from his experiences.

Bio:

Jeff joined Upstart after spending 6 years at Google. He launched and built the Google Apps for Education business, growing market share from zero to almost 70% in its first four years. Jeff spearheaded marketing efforts for Google Apps in Global 2000 accounts and led sales, business development, and go-to-market strategy for the launch of Chrome devices in the education and enterprise sectors. He spent several years in direct sales at IBM, always exceeding quota, and was a founding engineer and led UI developer at SSB Technologies. Jeff holds a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University.
Twitter: @jkeltner


Episode 62: Workplace Happiness is Your Best Business Strategy



According to Gallup, American employers lose $450-550 billion a year by failing to create positive corporate cultures that foster accomplishment, autonomy and appreciation in the workplace.

Employee Unhappiness leads to:
• Higher turnover
• Excessive absenteeism
• Poor customer service
• Theft
• Workplace bullying and violence
• Increased workers compensation claims
• More on-the-job injuries

…and a myriad of outcomes that have no line item in the budget, but still reduce productivity throughout the workplace. Engagement, job satisfaction and worker happiness matter to the bottom line.

This talk will give employees and managers the skills to create a positive work environment through simple adjustments and practices anyone can do, no matter the workplace. Whether in an office, a hospital, a restaurant, classroom or construction site, these techniques work!

In the U.S., the average loss due to unhappiness and disengagement is $3,500 per employee per year. When it comes to happiness, is your workplace above or below average? Can you afford to let it stay that way? Make happiness a priority in your workplace today, and reap the rewards tomorrow.

Bio:

Valerie Alexander is a renowned expert on happiness and inclusion. She is the founder and CEO of Goalkeeper, a tech company that builds micro-social platforms to amplify happiness, whose first product is Super Happy Couples. Valerie is the author of the Amazon #1 seller, Happiness as a Second Language and a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of personal happiness, happiness in the workplace, and the advancement of women. Prior to her current work, Valerie was a securities lawyer, an investment banker, a V.P. of Business Development for two companies, and a screenwriter and film director. She can be found at SpeakHappiness.com and invites everyone to watch her TED talk, Why We Must Train Our Brains to Expect the Unexpected.

https://twitter.com/speakhappiness, #SpeakHappiness


Episode 61: The challenges of scaling a technology group



What are the challenges of scaling your technology company or your technology group in a technology driven company? Lessons learned from the front line. Beyond slogans, fads and beautiful articles written by smart people from top consulting companies.

In this brief presentation, Israel Ben-Ishai will share with you what he learned from many years of experience scaling technology groups as a leader and from the last five years as a consultant, coach, and mentor.

Some of the questions Israel will attempt to answer are:
– How does one take the initial innovation and market success to the next phase of operational success?
– How do you scale your organization, technology, processes, and people?
– How do the great agile principles, and mindset scale when you grow at today’s high speed and confront some of the business realities?

Bio:

Israel is a Mentor, Coach, and advisor to leaders in technology and technology-driven companies and their investors.

After a long career as an engineer, engineering manager, and technology executive Israel decided to dedicate his energy and knowledge to mentoring new generations of technology leaders and consulting with growth companies and their investors.

Israel’s has many years of successful experience in people development and scaling organizations in the software industry.
In addition to his vast engineering experience, he embarked on a coach training program with the Coaching Training Institute (CTI).
Israel is now a mentor and a coach to leaders in small and large companies and advises CEO’s CTO’s and CPO’s on scaling their organization and developing their people to adjust and be successful as the company grows.

In his advisory capacity, he undertakes interim part-time roles as CTO/ VP of Engineering and helps organizations set up and scale their organization and hire key leaders. Israel holds a Dottore degree in Electronics Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy and completed extensive Executive Management training at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. He is also a Certified Professional Engineer in Ontario, Canada.


Social Entrepreneurism – Give2Grow



Charles Antis, Founder and CEO of Antis Roofing, is fueled by a desire to be not just an expert in his field of roofing and waterproofing, but to be a leader in his community that models how to use success, resources, time and influence to change the world – in his case, one roof at a time. Charles will share his story from the beginning, when every piece of business was necessary to pay the bills and support his own young family. He met a mother and her seven children, living in a mildew and mold infested home, desperate for a roof repair with no ability to pay. That was the start of a life-long practice – to give back first.

How can leaders and their organizations assess their ability to give back to their communities? To build a culture that cares within their own organization?

What is the right balance between running the business, integrating cause marketing, and maintaining a strong, respected brand?
How can contributions powerfully impact the community in which we do business?

Are leaders being called to integrate corporate social responsibility into their organizations?

What are the opportunities and risks with CSR?

Bio:

Charles Antis, Founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, is a highly-respected and widely known roofing expert, entrepreneur and humanitarian. He began his career as a roofing professional in 1984 and has become an emerging thought leader in Southern California who inspires others with his innovative “Give to Grow” approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As the central tenet to Charles’s business philosophy, the “Give to Grow” philosophy ensures that the company, its employees and the entire community thrives together.

As a community-oriented business leader and roofing industry expert, Charles serves on the Board of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). He is also a member of The Roofing Alliance for Progress and serves within the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3). Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for Orange County Habitat for Humanity (Habitat OC), through which Antis Roofing & Waterproofing has donated every roof installation of every home built by Habitat OC since 2009. Charles also serves the following organizations, where his passion and experience inspire others into “doing well by doing good.”
• Ronald McDonald House Orange County (Board of Directors)
• California State University Fullerton Center for Leadership (Board of Directors)
• Integrity Wealth Management (External Advisory Committee)
• Association for Corporate Growth (Corporate Leaders Experience Advisory Group)
• OneOC (External Advisory Board)

Charles has been honored with prestigious awards over the years and was recently presented with the 2018 Irvine Chamber Business of the Year award. In 2017 he received the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizen Award, Small and Mid-Size Business; the National Philanthropy Day Honoree, Outstanding Corporation or Business, Mid-Size; the Civic 50 Orange County Honoree; CACM Vision Award for Corporate Social Responsility; and received the top honor with the CNA Insurance/National Roofing Contractors Association (CAN/NRCA) Community Involvement Award.

As a proponent of multi-tenant housing ownership education, Charles served for more than 20 years on the Education Committee of the Community Associations Institute (CAI), teaching maintenance responsibilities to board members and community managers. He is a former 20-year member of Vistage 390. He attended Brigham Young University and lives with his wife and children in Irvine, California.


Episode 59: Digital Democracy and our “Digitzenship”



People believed that new technology would increase efficiency, productivity, and human capability while generally driving down cost, waste and poverty. Politically, many hoped the success of technological development would ultimately promote the values of democracy empowering both the companies and individuals within. Unfortunately, the contrary has taken place, as the “citizens” of this digital society more accurately resemble undocumented residents with trivial influence on culture and policy. These digital dwellers are internet users at the mercy of despotic powers who exercise their control though products, services, and technologies.The data generated by digital dwellers is being taken away and sold to the highest bidder without compensating its owners. It is the despotic digital powers that pray upon the dwellers, completely stripping away their individual, political, and economic liberties. The monopolized platforms and products continue to oppress and consume the digital world by coercing the digital dwellers into apathy. Personal freedom, privacy, and value are consistently being deprived as many decisions are made in the name of us, despite us. However, there is a common theme of rebellious objection that we have seen throughout the history of societal development. In the digital society this theme is exemplified in a call for decentralization. In a decentralized digital economy, we shall only profit from our own digital assets. We shall be in complete control of our digital assets without losing any value to negotiation, time, or bias. It is imperative to recognize that we have arrived at a crucial breaking point that will either liberate or further oppress our digital freedom. We must acknowledge the esoteric threats posed by the system and its congruence with the despotic powers that control the usage and environment of technology. Fellow Digitzens, it falls upon our shoulders to uphold these rights and fight against any form of centralization or despotism that comes from any organism, living or nonliving.

Bio:

Wallace Lynch is a Serial entrepreneur, seasoned tech-media expert, startup community connector, associate professor, and economist. Founder and Chief Economist of Alpha Token, HSHub, MenuMeet, JianyueApp; Cofounder of Svinsight, SVACE. Columbia University Ph.D.

Twitter handle @AlphaToken_ATK
relevant #hastags: #blockchain, #digitzen, #creator, #content, #content economy, #youtuber, #influencer, #crypto, #cryptocurrenty, #student, #digitaldemocracy


Episode 58: 3D printing a Colony on Mars



As humanity moves closer to our vision to settle the moon, and then Mars, the ability to generate critical infrastructure “on site” in space becomes increasingly important for cost control, timelines and safety. 3D printing with indigenous Mars materials in an autonomous robotic way, before humans set foot on Mars may be the key. My team has been participating in the NASA Centennial Challenge to 3D print a Mars Habitat for the past 3 years to develop this concept and technology.

In this presentation I will first illustrate how our adventures started from the garage, while being unfunded and understaffed. We borrowed key hardware components, including a pasta machine that substituted for a clay printer extruder and a 10 foot robotic arm, from industry and academic partners. We even generated our own Mars regolith simulant based on volcanic basalt rocks we handpicked in Northern Israel.

Despite many challenges, ranging from limited access to materials, short deadlines, and zero dollars in funding, we were able to print the first physical deliverable, which significantly outperformed the NASA required minimum in initial mechanical testing. In delivering the second physical deliverable, we struggled with optimizing the curing time and heat exposure to the printing nozzle. However, we overcame operational challenges, recruited new team members from around the world, and increased the printing accuracy.

The BubbleBase team was recently “adopted” by Caltech, in a strategic move to enhance our US presence and increase manpower working on the project, especially in the field of robotics and autonomy. The talk will elaborate on additional challenges currently facing the team, including: merging teams from different disciplines and cultures, technology challenges in material science, robotics and civil engineering, funding requirements, and operational challenges. It will conclude with the team’s plans for the future (on Earth, and on Mars) and how you can follow our work and get involved in the project.

Bio:

Helen Wexler is an award winning “ArchiTech,” positioned at the intersection of architecture and technology. She is the founder of Caltech-BubbleBase, an aerospace project developing technology to 3D print and robotically assemble housing on Mars for the NASA Centennial Challenge. She has served as architect in leading New York and Austria based firms before becoming a technology analyst in the VC industry.

Helen was previously Director of the The Jnext Hi-Tech & Entrepreneurship Program at the Jerusalem Development Authority, where she oversaw the emerging tech ecosystem of Israel’s capital city, while innovating economic development policy. Ms. Wexler holds a degree in Architecture from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design where she is Lecturer on “Technology Paradigms in Architecture.” She is a graduate of the MEET MIT Computer Science Program and Israel Academy of Arts and Sciences (outstanding honors). Helen was named to Forbes Israel 30 under 30 list and has recently completed the International Space Studies Program as an Ilan Ramon Scholarship Fellow.


Episode 57: Building Collaborative Intelligence



Learning to think with people who think differently than you is what collaboration is all about. Unfortunately, collaboration goes out the window when major disagreements strike. People compete with each other, making sure their position or interests are secured first. Or they avoid the conflict altogether, which only makes matters worse. These reactions can kill an otherwise excellent business idea, simply because people haven’t been trained to collaboratively disagree with one another.

Collaborative Intelligence measures the ability of a person to: (1) respectfully assert themselves; (2) remain open to new ideas, adjusting their position; (3) understanding how the other side feels and using that as an additional data point; and (4) ultimately knowing how to work with the other side toward a solution. Born from his work training, coaching, and facilitating founder-level conversations, Bryant has developed a methodology called Collaborative Disagreement™ that builds founders’ Collaborative Intelligence capacity. His work even saved one venture-backed startup from nearly exploding after a prominent co-founder decided to quit. Now, that same startup/co-founder team is back on track with an ICO offering coming this year, having recently revamped their company culture and market strategy. Increasing their Collaborative Intelligence capacity ultimately saved them.

Bio:

Bryant is Founder and CEO of Workplace Collaborations, a conflict resolution and negotiation training business located in Los Angeles, CA. Bryant partners with startups to get a bird’s eye view of the co-founder relationship as well as the company culture to quickly assess and correct problematic behaviors and organizational inefficiencies. He trains, coaches, and facilitates high-level discussions between founders, and has worked with venture-backed and early stage startups in travel, edTech, health, e-commerce, transportation, blockchain and cryptocurrency for the past three years.

Prior to this, Bryant was a Federal Mediator for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where he negotiated employment discrimination complaints in the $500,000 range. He remembers his first mediation that he conducted where a woman, who was alleging gender-based and national origin discrimination, cried when she got the result she was looking for. Upon seeing her reaction, Bryant knew he was hooked and had found his calling – the rest is history.

Bryant received his Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University, is a certified Mediator through the New York Peace Institute, and is a first-generation Mexican-American. He speaks fluent Spanish, is a proud coffee addict, and when he’s not working, enjoys nature, road biking, and checking things off his bucket list, which includes visiting a new country every year (this year he’s going to Portugal!).

Speaker email: bryant@workplacecollaborations.com


Episode 55: 10 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Machine Learning



Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its most popular subfield, Machine Learning (ML), are all the rage these days. Futurists predict that every facet of our lives and every line of business is going to be transformed by ML. In this talk, we will focus on some of the key insights that every business owner and practitioner should know about ML. Theses insights will range from some of the key ML tools to some of the common fallacies and lessons learned related to the ML process. This is a high-level talk so no matter what your expertise level, you will likely walk away with some amount of learning.

BIO:

Ahmad R. Khan is a Solutions Architect at AWS. Based out of Southern California, Ahmad helps strategic AWS customers architect and optimize their workloads on AWS. His current focus areas are real-time communications and machine learning. Starting his career as a developer, Ahmad has since held various roles in both product development and sales engineering at Cisco and two Silicon Valley startups before joining AWS in 2014. Ahmad holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California.


Episode 54: The First $250 Million – A Case Study in Branding, Failures & Self-Confidence



Over the past decade, three of Echo-Factory’s clients have achieved more than $250 million in growth. The agency’s founder and CEO, Mike Schaffer, will look at the role branding, marketing and advertising played in each company’s growth.

Intuition suggests that what works in one marketplace won’t work in another. But while all three of these companies operated in very different spaces, their success can be traced to a shared, closely-related set of decisions made by their founders and leaders. Mike’s talk will cover those decisions and how they can be applied to any company looking to achieve rapid growth.

BIO:

Mike Schaffer founded Echo-Factory in 2008. In less than two years, the company had grown into a diversified and award-winning full service agency. Today, Echo-Factory is designed to work as an in-house marketing department for clients who are ready to commit to significant, rapid growth. Echo-Factory works with a range of clients, specializing in the consumer goods, clean tech, healthcare and aerospace markets. Mike is also an organizer for Friday Coffee Meeutp, an advisor to LA CleanTech’s portfolio companies and a regular contributor to CSQ magazine on the topics of branding and marketing.

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-schaffer-98518213/

Twitter: @echofactory