Episodes

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Luke Cooper is the founder and CEO of Fixt, an innovative mobile device support and repair business that he sold earlier this year (for 11 times revenue!).  Over the last 7 years, he’s been through a great entrepreneurial journey that we discussed on the show.  Luke is the kind of entrepreneur and leader that makes you lean forward and pay more attention - his honesty, authenticity and clarity were inspiring.  He shared a lot of wisdom that new and current entrepreneurs can immediately use, and anyone building and leading a team should appreciate.

His personal stories that have shaped him were powerful, and once again illustrated the importance of storytelling in how we build relationships and connect with each other.

Luke also had a great background prior to Fixt – having been a lawyer at one of the largest firms in the world, in-house counsel at a large financial services firm and strategy lead for a tech startup that grew and successfully exited.  I'm super excited to now count him as a friend, and one that really knows how to operate!

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Nick Bradley is Co-founder and Director at Fielding Group, a growth accelerator and investing company. He's been a business owner & investor who has built, bought, & sold multiple businesses over the last decade. He also spent 15+ years with corporate organizations - as a CEO, Board Director, & senior commercial leader - working in both large & small companies all over the world.

Nick loves to work with ambitious entrepreneurs, with the sole purpose of creating value from growth and scale-up. He also works with a select number of Private Equity firms, advising on strategic investments & acquisitions.

He's also the host of Scale Up Your Business podcast and has developed a great show.

We had a wonderful crossover podcast discussion about the future of entrepreneurship, venture capital, the roles of different groups such as venture studios and growth advisors, etc.  Enjoy!

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John Dearie joined me to discuss the critical need for more entrepreneurs in our country, to drive forward more economic growth, innovation and jobs in our country.  He is currently the President at the Center for American Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC.  John founded this organization in 2017 as a nonpartisan research, policy, and advocacy organization. CAE’s mission is to engage policymakers in Washington, and at state and local levels, regarding the critical importance of entrepreneurs and start-ups to innovation, economic growth, and job creation – and significantly improve new business formation, survival, and growth.

John has studied the history of how economic development, job and innovation growth, and entrepreneurship has evolved in our country, and has pulled together an amazing group from across the country to advise CAE in its efforts.  We now have the first ever caucuses in both houses of Congress on the topic of Entrepreneurship, which has led to much more energy around new key pieces of legislation to spur more entrepreneurship and innovation.

Prior to CAE,  John was the CEO of Financial Services Forum, a policy organization formed by the CEOs of the largest US financial institutions.  He also was at the Federal Reserve Bank in NY for almost 10 years, including several years as an officer of the bank.

John and I hadn't discussed it previously, but he attended a rival school in Indiana, Notre Dame.  In fact they often don’t claim Indiana as their location.  Thankfully we don’t play them in football – but we usually have our way with them in hoops. 

This conversation is important to everyone in this country as we look ahead to the profound changes in our economy in coming years, and how we create more prosperity and opportunity for as many people as possible.

 

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Ian Hathaway has been a founder, an investor, an author, a professor and an advisor, just to name a few roles he’s played.  He’s currently an executive at Techstars, a fellow at Brookings Institution, a board member at the Center for American Entrepreneurship and recently co-authored a book, The Startup Community Way, with his friend, Brad Feld.  Ian is the type of thinker, connector and advisor that we need in our country to help us better understand entrepreneurship, investment and how we transform our economy to one more focused on innovation.

I am so excited to share our chat with you as Ian can cover a lot of ground. We both love data and have had some fun geeking out a bit lately on some economic and jobs data.  This is part 1 of 2 - enjoy!

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Anthony Saba is currently Executive Director at Samueli Academy, an amazing charter high school in Santa Ana that uses an innovative, student-centered approach to education.  As a public charter school, it’s available for all students and no tuition fees. The students can even take high school and college classes at the same time.  Their new facility includes on-site housing for foster youth who need a stable living environment to excel academically. They’ve recently added junior high as well. We talked about the school’s journey, as well as his, on the show.

Anthony came to Orange County almost 10 years ago and I had the pleasure of meeting him shortly after arriving here. He has nearly 2 decades of high school experience (both in the classroom and in administration) plus a passion for involving students in the learning process. He says: “My teaching philosophy is to allow students to take an active, hands-on role in their learning,” and we talked about how the school focuses on that learning approach, and is getting amazing results.

The Samueli Academy’s mission is - "To ignite the passion within all students to reach their greatest potential through a nurturing and innovative learning environment."

Anthony also says “I think it is especially important in the 21st century that we don’t just teach students WHAT they need to know but show them WHY they need to know it.”  We talked about how important it is to provide the why and the context for learning.  

We have an innovative high school and leader in our community in Anthony. He's another example of the world class people here who are shaping lives and accelerating our collective futures.

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Andy Wilson is currently the Executive Director of the Alliance for Southern California Innovation, a group formed to pull together the talent and ideas in all of SoCal to help more innovators to emerge and succeed in bringing their breakthroughs to the world.  We talked a lot about the mission and activities of the Alliance on the show. 

Andy has also been an executive in a number of venture-backed, high-growth companies, such as Yahoo!, as well as an investor, advisor and startup community builder.  He was co-founder of Innovate Pasadena years ago, and he’s currently a city council member in Pasadena.

He cares deeply about this region of the country, and helping, connecting, inspiring and encouraging others to participate and support each other.  His leadership and friendship are things I greatly appreciate, and you'll see from the conversation that we can talk for hours about our excitement for all that's happening here.

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Katrina Ghazarian is founder & CEO of Gameday HR, an HR solutions provider to small and mid-sized companies. She recently renamed the company to reflect the perspective they have - "IT'S GAMEDAY... EVERY DAY. We're changing the way the world thinks about HR."  They offer both hands on consulting and an online subscription service.  Katrina unveiled the new name and her views on HR, people leadership, culture and other topics in our conversation.

She is also an advisor to the Professional Collegiate League, which works with college athletes to enable them to directly benefit from their talent and marketability.  This is a very interesting topic, which we discussed on the show.

Katrina is also a working mother and formed a consulting firm around that several years ago.  That eventually became part of EVA8, the prior name of the company until now.  She is also a partner in an LA community initiative called 5D United, to help with health and wellness in children in under-served communities.

However, I mainly invited Katrina on the show to share how she beat out her other 5th grade classmates to be named the funniest (as it says in her LinkedIn profile). Did you have superlatives in your 5th grade class?!?  She’s also a great podcaster with her own, called "HR Sucks", so I was hopeful that she’d have some pointers for me. We had a lively conversation across these many topics - enjoy it!

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Neal Hansch is CEO and Managing Partner at Silicon Foundry, a membership-based innovation platform for corporations, enabling them to connect, learn and invest in the innovation ecosystem, such as in startups and with each other.  He and his team have helped advise and drive forward many corporate venture capital, venture studio and other innovation activities.  He’s been very active in connecting corporations to startups and innovative thinking, which we discussed on the show.

Additionally, we spent a lot of time talking about how corporations and startups translate their different languages, and how companies need multiple strategies to be innovative.  Neal and I could talk for hours!

Before Silicon Foundry, Neal ran an incubator for Meltwater Group, which included building bridges between high tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets like Africa with Silicon Valley.  He trained over 200 entrepreneurs, and invested in a couple dozen startups, including helping them access accelerator programs like Y Combinator and 500 Startups.

He was also a venture capitalist at Rustic Canyon Partners, which was a longstanding LA-based VC with several funds.  Neal has been a great friend for a long time – it was so fun to have him on the show!

andrewbermudez.pngAndrew Bermudez is founder and CEO of Digsy, a commercial real estate search and marketing engine.  He often calls it "Zillow for commercial real estate."  He started it a few years ago after a successful career as a commercial real estate professional.

Andrew and I met and became friends when he was first conceiving the idea of what became Digsy.  He has been through the process of raising capital, making hard choices and pivots in his startup, and many other challenges of being an entrepreneur.  We explored many of those topics and his personal development as an entrepreneur on the show.

He also has been active in the community in trying to connect and help other entrepreneurs.  Earlier this year he joined the Cal State Fullerton center for real estate as a board member as well.

denise.pngHazime is the Founder of Prodoscore, a SaaS startup that provides productivity intelligence. Leveraging ML, AI, and NLP to measure thousands of daily activities across cloud tools already in place (like your office suite, CRM, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Communications, etc.) Prodoscore creates visibility and drives performance and growth. They’ve seen a big surge during the last 6 months as sales teams have mainly been moved to remote, distributed home offices.  She's leading a growing distributed team and "eating her own dog food" at Prodoscore.  We talked about that a lot on the show when she recently joined me.  Prodoscore also closed a Series A round of funding in May. Troy Carter, famed investor, and entrepreneur, led the round.

Denise was previously Chief Revenue Officer of VIWO, one of the first Google Apps for Business providers, so she’s been in the cloud business application world for awhile.

She's clearly a good writer, too, as a multi-time author and member of the Forbes Business Development Council.

And like me, Denise is a Midwest transplant to Southern California, as she grew up and spent a long time in Michigan.

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