Tommy Tallarico is CEO & President of Intellivision Entertainment, a name many of you may recall from a prior era. 40 years ago it was a household name as a pioneer in the video game industry. Tommy and team have built on its legacy to bring back its simple, affordable family-focused games and entertainment. They are launching under the Amico name, which means "friend" in Italian.
Tommy has over 30 years of gaming industry experience in virtually every role – designer, producer, writer and even head of music and video. He’s also an accomplished musician and even holds some Guinness World records. He has an amazing vision for the company, and energy and excitement to see it succeed. We talked a lot about his entrepreneurial process on the show as well.
Enjoy Tommy's enthusiasm in this Operate Podcast conversation. And thanks to show sponsor, Hunt Club. They help you find the best talent for your company, from their network of thousands of referral partners.
William Fikhman is Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Amazzia, a leading provider of services to brands who sell on Amazon. They work with these companies to help them protect and grow their Amazon business by doing things like removing unauthorized sellers, monitoring for counterfeit products, and other brand monitoring services. We talked much more about the needs for control, trust and other factors that have emerged in an Amazon-heavy commerce world.
Amazzia has helped companies deliver hundreds of millions of dollars of sales on Amazon across dozens of brands and product categories, so William has seen a lot and identifies the patterns and opportunities that building a successful business on Amazon often needs.
William is a SoCal native and has built his company here as well - enjoy the entrepreneurial story of how the company got started and his perspective on the evolving eCommerce landscape.
And thanks to show sponsor, Hunt Club, please check them out for their world class referral talent network.
Joshua Lee is Founder & CEO of Ardius, a fast-growing SaaS startup that helps companies identify and recover tax credits. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him over the past year, and enjoy his perspective from many angles – startup founder, investor, and former big 4 accounting firm background.
Ardius has helped companies recover millions of dollars in tax credits from things like research and development that they’ve done in building their product and company, and this money can feel like non-dilutive capital to help fund ongoing operations. This is done by companies of all sizes, but historically has been a very expensive and manual effort, which Ardius is making was faster and easier and automated. I successfully recovered these credits in one of my prior companies several years ago, so I've seen the historical effort and cost firsthand, as well as how well Ardius can now do it for our Operate companies, as an example.
Prior to Ardius, Joshua was investing and building startups through an incubator and venture studio, so we’ve had a lot to talk about in that arena as well! He began his career at E&Y, where he developed expertise in tax credits.
He is a SoCal native with degrees from both UCLA & USC, and has built his company here in SoCal as well. Look for big things from him and Ardius this year!
Annette Walker is President of City of Hope Orange County and is leading the development of a world-class cancer center in Orange County, which was reported to be more than a $1B investment. She and her team have recruited world class researchers and clinicians to the center. She has also quickly become a top community influencer and advocate who is rapidly transforming the health care landscape of So Cal. City of Hope is one of the most comprehensive cancer centers in the country, as well as a leading care providers to serious chronic illnesses like Diabetes.
Annette was a previously a senior executive of Providence St. Joseph Health, a leading health system with over 50 hospitals and over 100,000 caregivers in the western US. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Annette a bit in the last year as she’s gotten involved with the CEO Leadership Alliance of OC and I appreciate her commitment to its mission and particular focus on the next generation of talent and leaders here.
We talked about the history of City of Hope, the great excitement of the big investment they're making here, how that will transform health care and other innovation in the area, how important it is as a community to better develop our local young people, and how programs like Orange Fellowship are critical to building connections across a region as vast as Orange County.
Libby Duane Adams is co-founder and Chief Advocacy Officer of Alteryx. She and her co-founders, Dean and Ned, have built one of the biggest analytics software companies in the world, with a multi-billion dollar market cap, and they’ve done so right here in Orange County. She is also one of only a handful of female founders to take a technology company public. We talked about that amazing journey and story on the podcast.
Alteryx has also had a technology journey as they offer solutions from the desktop to the cloud and she’s evolved and thrived through it all. As a co-founder, along the way she’s led Marketing, Customer Experience and now Advocacy. It’s also been great to have her more involved in the community as Alteryx is taking its platform to schools to equip the next generation with important skills and experiences.
Libby described how companies like Pacific Life are using Alteryx across their company and putting the thrill back into problem solving. She is clearly still thrilled to be a part of the company.
We also spoke about the early days, when Alteryx was not so big, and some of those memories and lessons.
Bob Nunn is CEO of battery-free startup Everactive, a deep tech company that self-powers IoT devices. They have pioneered ultra-low-power circuits, and we talked a lot about the company's history, evolution and current status on the show. Have you ever realized how big of a market industrial steam trap monitoring is?!? Bob considers Everactive the biggest opportunity of his career, by far, as this market grows exponentially in the coming years.
Bob calls himself a “trust-first” manager and we talked about that philosophy, as it has helped his team to thrive during the pandemic, even as they’ve had to go remote, like many other companies. Bob shared his operating principles as a 30 year executive, as well as the qualities he looks for in other company leaders.
Bob has worked successfully with startups for over 30 years across various stages. He’s also raised a lot of capital, nearly $100M with Everactive alone. He previously ran a company, Fulcrum Microsystems, which he successfully sold to Intel, and spent several years there in senior roles.
Bob is also a fellow UCLA Bruin. There was so much wisdom and perspective from this accomplished business executive in the episode - enjoy it!
Deepa Krishnan is the co-founder and CEO of Spoonful, a company focused on leading the “food as medicine” movement. Deepa, her co-founder, Sam, and her team have developed a leading and fast-growing application that helps consumers increase their confidence and safety when selecting foods to eat, based on health restrictions, allergies or their diets.
We talked much more about her and the company’s path on the show, including how food is becoming more and more prevalent as powerful health solution, especially for chronic conditions. I’ve greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Deepa over the last year, as we are excitedly an investor in Spoonful through Operate.
Deepa has a strong background in software product and data, having previously worked in a couple prominent data companies. She’s a graduate of Princeton University, and earned her JD from UCLA.
I was super excited to have Kelly Perdew on the podcast. He has been an entrepreneur, an executive, an Apprentice, and for the last several years, a venture capitalist. He’s currently Managing Partner of Moonshots Capital, an early stage venture firm. He’s been a fixture in the So Cal startup and venture community for a long time.
Kelly is a graduate of West Point and a JD/MBA from UCLA. He and I met years ago through the UCLA network, where he remains an active participant. He and his partner, Craig, started Moonshots about 4 years ago – and documented the realities of starting a venture firm and fund, which was greatly appreciated by others who were trying.
We covered a lot of ground in our conversation about investing, the amazing leadership training program that is the military, and how his experiences have shaped him as an entrepreneur and VC.
Thanks to show sponsor and great partner for your hiring needs, Hunt Club
I was super excited to finally have Jennifer Friend join me on the podcast. She has been a leader in our business, legal and non-profit community for a long time, and has really asserted herself over the last year, during this challenging time. Jennifer's story, perspective and wisdom was so profound - this episode resounded with me on so many levels! I'm so grateful to her for sharing her whole self with me and the audience - there is a ton of life wisdom to be learned from her.
Jennifer became the CEO of Project Hope Alliance 8 years ago, after a successful career as a corporate attorney. She was presented the opportunity to lead the now 30-year old organization. Their mission is to end the cycle of homelessness one child at a time, and we discussed their work and incredible impact, and their journey since starting.
She’s also been President of the UCI Alumni Association, is a trustee of the UC Irvine Foundation, and also advises and works with other foundations and non-profits.
Jennifer is bold and very visible in our community. Follow her and PHA on social media!
And thanks to show sponsor, Hunt Club
Ben Kuo has been a fixture as an evangelist for startups and innovation in Southern California for many years, and I've appreciated our nearly 20 year friendship. We actually recorded this conversation several months ago, and yet it's almost timeless, as the challenges we face in business, in startups and in the ecosystem largely persist.
Ben is the founder of SOCALTECH LLC, a company that provides regional high tech news, interviews, venture deal flow tracking, and more. SOCALTECH's flagship publication is socalTECH.com, a web site focused on high tech in Southern California. I consider Ben the tip of the spear for startup, tech and investor news in the region, and remember him as one of the first folks I met in the community when I arrived back in the early 2000s.
Before focusing on SOCALTECH, Ben was a product manager and engineer for Troika Networks, which was in storage area networks. He also started and sold a website RealEats.com for restaurant reviews, well before Yelp!