1,000 Upvotes: Meet Top Product Hunt Makers + Snapchat Spectacles Giveaway

Meet Top Product Hunt Makers

Tue, April 25, 2017, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM PDT @ WeWork SOMA

For those who don't know, Product Hunt is the new community site where all the cool kids discover clever new applications, websites, plugins, startups and stay up-to-date on the latest tech trends. We've assembled a panel of top Makers from the platform whose apps have received over 1,000 upvotes, making them Product Hunt royalty.

Come and listen to our panel of Makers present their applications, discuss the state of the startup world and take questions from the audience. And just because we're nice people, we are raffling off two FREE pairs of Snapchat Spectacles at this event. You must be present to win! Join us.

Get 20% off tickets here >

Find Networking Difficult? Tips to Get the Most From Our Events

Networking. Many find it challenging.

However, there are countless articles, guides, and research that espouse its value. And we all know that having a great network will make it easier to get a job, hire talented people and get advice on solving business problems.

But, how do you build a great network? How do you do it efficiently and effectively? One evening at a sponsored cocktail party, unprepared, can be disheartening. Don't despair. Networking is a skill that can be developed. With a bit of practice and a few pointers, anyone can become a networking ace.

Here are my expert tips for navigating the complex social fabric of business networking events.

Seek Out High-Quality Events
Paid events attract more engaged attendees. I recommend avoiding free events. They appeal to people who may be less interested in serious business networking and more interested in free food, drinks, or because it's simply something to do.

But, you don't have to break the bank and start attending expensive events. There are a lot of high-quality events in the $25 to $100 dollar range. And most employers will let you expense the ticket. Large conferences usually offer an expo pass in that price range, that will let you roam the trade show floor. I also recommend focusing on events with a topic that's relevant to your industry. It's less likely that you will make a valuable connection at a general business networking event.

Come Prepared and Have a Plan
Have a goal in mind and practice your pitch in advance. Otherwise, you will waste valuable time engaging in polite small talk with people who can't help you. Here is a straightforward example, "I am interested in networking with companies that currently have an opening in event marketing." Or if you want to be more subtle, "I am in marketing and want to network with other marketing professionals." When you state your goal up front in the conversation, you may be surprised how quickly people will help you. If they are not in your target, almost everyone will offer to introduce you to someone they know that meets your criteria.

In order to close the conversation many people still like to hand out business cards. I think that's inefficient. When I meet someone I want to connect with, I use my mobile phone to send them an email from my account or connect on LinkedIn in the moment. Then I can follow up with them the next day and meet up for a coffee or set up a call.

Get There Early and Talk to Lots of People
The people who arrive early are motivated to network. Also, it will be easier to strike up a conversation with the first few people who arrive, since they won't be engaged in a conversation already. Chat for only five to ten minutes and then move on. Get their email or card and offer to follow up over email and continue the conversation. Remember, this is work and you have a goal, building your network.

I also recommend that people attend networking events on their own. It will force you to talk with new people. Even if you're a power networker, having a friend will distract you from making connections with new people. If you do go with colleagues, make a plan to split up. Circulate around the room and then synch halfway through the event to compare notes.

Be Positive and Keep an Open Mind
Sometimes, things just won't go your way. It happens. When I just can't seem to meet the type of people that I want to connect with, I leave right away. It's a sign that the event is just not the right one for you. Do not let this get you down. Expanding your network means trying new things. Sometimes those experiments don't work. This is to be expected.

Stay positive and keep looking for events that are a good fit. Once you find a meetup, event series or conference that works, get involved. You can volunteer, sponsor or even pitch yourself as a speaker. Most event organizers are looking for enthusiastic supporters to help.

Good luck networking.

Gregory Kennedy
President and Co-Founder, Uncharted Minds

Women CEOs in Silicon Valley Panel: Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

By: Kathie Green, Co-Founder, Uncharted Minds

Uncharted Minds’ sold-out panel at IDEO, featuring five all-star women CEOs, was truly inspiring. Shaherose Charania, founder of Women 2.0, my personal friend, and hero to many moderated the conversation. The panel covered topics including how successful CEOs manage their careers, get funding, and make the leap from early-stage startup founder to growth CEO.

Key takeaways for aspiring entrepreneurs include:

  • Winning venture capital investment is incredibly exciting and comes with great responsibility. If your intention in starting a company is to be your own boss, know that instead of just one boss, you will now have many bosses when you start having to answer to investors.
  • Do your homework before pitching. Target investors who are missing a product like yours in their portfolio, rather than those who have already invested in your space.
  • Being a founder is all about selling the vision, the dream, and living in the future. But, being a CEO requires living in the now. You will have to take full control of company finances and operations, and have the emotional intelligence needed to counsel and coach employees.
  • Consider the personal costs of starting and running a company. Being an employee has its advantages, including a steady paycheck and a clearly defined scope of responsibilities. Being a CEO is an endeavor above and beyond a full-time job. The responsibilities are immense.

It was a privilege to be able to showcase these phenomenal speakers. We also want to thank our partners at IDEO for being incredible hosts. And of course, a big thank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday.

Erica Rogers, President and CEO, Silk Road Medical

Erica Rogers, President and CEO, Silk Road Medical

Melody McCloskey, Co-Founder and CEO, StyleSeat

Melody McCloskey, Co-Founder and CEO, StyleSeat

Amanda Kahlow, Founder & CEO, 6sense

Amanda Kahlow, Founder & CEO, 6sense

Monisha Perkash, CEO and Co-founder, Lumo Bodytech

Monisha Perkash, CEO and Co-founder, Lumo Bodytech

Kate Kendall, Founder and CEO at CloudPeeps

Kate Kendall, Founder and CEO at CloudPeeps

Moderator: Shaherose Charania, Product Strategist, 23 Design / Advisor, Republic / Co-Founder, Women 2.0

Moderator: Shaherose Charania, Product Strategist, 23 Design / Advisor, Republic / Co-Founder, Women 2.0

Gregory Kennedy, Uncharted Minds, Co-Founder speaking to a packed house at IDEO's office on Pier 28

Gregory Kennedy, Uncharted Minds, Co-Founder speaking to a packed house at IDEO's office on Pier 28

Forces of Disruption, Evolution, and Innovation in Finance

From BitCoin to banking, disruption in finance is everywhere. Even the future of something as tangible as cash is being called into question as credit cards and mobile payments continue to be adopted globally.

On this panel, top fin tech executives will share their thoughts on the future of payments, finance, savings, and investments. Learn if a cashless future will become reality. Gain insight into the latest fin tech trends. And understand what the implications of disruption in finance could even mean for your retirement.

Get 20% Off Tickets Here >

Speakers:

Catherine Berman, CEO and Co-founder, CNote

Third-time entrepreneur Cat Berman is co-founder and CEO of CNote, the nation's first savings products delivering a 40x better return with 100% social impact. Prior to CNote, Cat maintained senior roles at Charles Schwab, Deloitte Consulting and Astia.

 

Tomas Puyeo, Head of Marketing and Product, SigFig

Tomas is the Head of Marketing and Product at SigFig. Before that, he was Chief of Staff and General Manager at Zynga across the Marketing and Product organizations. Before that, he directed Viral Products, Games, and Paid Acquisition at RockYou. Tomas has two MSc in Engineering from Universidad Pontificia de Comillas and Ecole Centrale Paris, and an MBA from Stanford.

 

Eric Wiesen, General Partner, Bullpen Capital

Eric joined Bullpen in 2015 from RRE Ventures, where he was a General Partner. Current areas of focus include financial services and technology, consumer products and manufacturing, marketing technology and next-generation computer interfaces. Much of his investing philosophy and approach is informed by his experiences as a two-time founder, first in the 3D Graphics hardware space and later in the enterprise software/ERP sector. Eric is also an attorney, and practiced in the corporate group at Fenwick & West in Silicon Valley. As an undergraduate, he was an intern in the only very famous White House internship class. Eric holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, a J.D. from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Columbia.

Eric is currently a board member at Imgix and Yieldbot and an advisor to several companies. Successful prior investments include Braintree (acq: PYPL), Flipswap (acq: Hyla Mobile), Hyperpublic (acq: GRPN), Makerbot (acq: SSYS), TapCommerce (acq: TWTR), Singleplatform (acq: CTCT), and Venmo (acq: Braintree). He also sourced or led a number of other investments including Bark & Co., Collective Health, NerdWallet, Paperless Post, Sailthru, Viglink, and YipitData.

 

John Rampton, Founder and CEO, Due.com

s serial entrepreneur who now focuses on helping people to build amazing products and services that scale. He is the founder of the online payments company Due. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivational speaker that helps people find a "Sense of Meaning" in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area.

 

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Matt McNamara, Director of Engineering and board member, Expensify

Matt McNamara is the Director of Engineering and board member at Expensify, a San Francisco based startup. He has been focusing on creating expense reports that don't suck since 2011. Matt is an enthusiastic people-driven generalist software developer with a special interest in web application development, user experience, and design. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of Dayton, with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration.

 

Moderator:

Gregory Kennedy, President and Co-Founder, Uncharted Minds

Gregory Kennedy is the Co-Founder of the highly regarded Uncharted Minds Thought Leadership Series. The series has featured speakers from top Silicon Valley companies such as Airbnb, Lyft, Medium, PayPal, Coinbase, BoostVC, Misfit Wearables and more. Gregory is a sought after thought leader, speaker and author whose writing has been featured on The BBC, VentureBeat, YahooFinance, Entrepreneur.com, CMO.com, and Marketing Profs. A former creative director and user interface designer, he has held marketing roles at InMobi, TapSense, and AdRoll. Born in New York City, he now calls Berkeley, California his home.

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Agenda:

6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Networking and refreshments

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Panel discussion

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wrap up and meet the speakers

 

Venue Sponsor:

General Assembly, 225 Bush Street, 5th Floor (East Entrance) San Francisco CA 94104

Women CEOs in Silicon Valley Panel: Silk Road Medical, StyleSeat, 6 Sense, Cloudpeeps and Lumo Bodytech

Get 20% Off Tickets Here >

The number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 has been rising steadily since 1998. Back then, there were there were two. Today, there are now 27 women in the top slot of an S&P 500 company, an all-time high. Tech startups have also seen a big increase of women founders, executives, and CEOs since 2009.

On this panel, hear women CEOs from top Silicon Valley startups share their struggles and successes. Come and learn from their achievements, be inspired by their stories, and network with other like-minded professionals.

Get 20% Off Tickets Here >

Speakers:

 

Erica Rogers, President and CEO, Silk Road Medical

Erica Rogers is the President and CEO of Silk Road Medical. Prior to Silk Road Medical, Erica was the COO of Medicines360, a non-profit pharmaceutical company developing drugs and devices for women. Erica was the founder and CEO of Allux Medical, as well as the co-founder of Visiogen, which was acquired by Abbott Medical Optics in 2009. Erica spent over 12 years at Boston Scientific, in sales and marketing positions. She began her career in pharmaceutical sales after receiving a B.S. in zoology from San Diego State University. Erica holds five issued and 15 pending US patents in medical devices and nanotechnology.

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Melody McCloskey, Co-Founder and CEO, StyleSeat

Melody McCloskey is the co-founder and CEO of StyleSeat, the leading destination for booking beauty and wellness appointments. McCloskey co- founded StyleSeat in 2011 to simplify the process of booking beauty appointments. With StyleSeat, industry experts are provided a place to showcase their work, connect with clients, and build their business while clients can discover new services and providers and book appointments on the go.Prior to developing StyleSeat, McCloskey led digital distribution at Current TV, where she met developer Dan Levine. Today, the platform has powered over 50M appointments in over 16,000 US cities and has powered over $3 billion in appointments. High profile investors of StyleSeat include Ashton Kutcher, Sophia Bush, Guy Oseary and Uber CEO Co-founder Travis Kalanick.

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Amanda Kahlow, Founder & CEO, 6sense

Amanda is passionate about bringing the power of predictive marketing and sales intelligence to B2B enterprise and mid-market companies. Amanda makes 6sense customers’ needs a priority, applying her proven aptitude for relationship building and sales. Prior to 6sense, Amanda spent 14 years as the CEO and founder of CI Insights, a big-data services company that used multichannel analytics to help enterprise companies generate hundreds of millions in net-new business. The ultimate optimist, Amanda is focused on giving back to the community. An advisor to the organization, Girl Rising, Amanda is committed to their mission to educate girls in developing countries as a way to build thriving, prosperous, healthy communities and effect positive social change.

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Monisha Perkash, CEO and Co-founder, Lumo Bodytech

Monisha Perkash is an entrepreneur with experience building companies, managing cross-functional teams, and creating a strong culture. She enjoys using her business and leadership skills to bring success to innovative companies and to create a positive impact in the world. As CEO and Co-founder at Lumo Bodytech, Monisha champions the vision to unlock the body’s full potential and improve human movement. Lumo is a motion science company that combines sensor data and advanced algorithms to optimize movement for better health, performance, and injury prevention. Their consumer products Lumo Lift and Lumo Run are built on the Lumo MotionScience Platform which is also available to B2B partners to co-brand or build entirely new products. Monisha previously served as CEO and Co-Founder of TuitionCoach (acquired by SimpleTuition in 2009), where she oversaw the financing, launch, and general management of the start-up. After the acquisition, she stayed on with SimpleTuition as VP Products. Monisha has an MBA from Stanford and a BA from Yale.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Kate Kendall Founder and CEO at CloudPeeps

Kate Kendall is a San Francisco-based, British-Australian entrepreneur and writer. She's the founder and CEO of CloudPeeps – a marketplace, platform and community to discover the best freelance talent and jobs. She also created the Freelance Friday global coworking community and The Fetch professional event discovery guide. She regularly speaks about the future of work, the freelance economy, female-founded companies, and the evolution of marketing. Her work has been featured in Quartz, BuzzFeed, The Next Web, The Australian, the ABC, Marie Claire, and Lifehacker, and she was named The Most Influential Australian Entrepreneur on Twitter by Smart Company.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Moderator:

 

Shaherose Charania, Product Strategist, 23 Design / Advisor, Republic / Co-Founder, Women 2.0

Shaherose Charania is a Product Strategist with 23 Design, working to solve business problems through design and is an active Advisor to Republic.co (an AngelList sister company). Previously, she was the Co-Founder and CEO of Women 2.0, the leading brand for the next generation of technology leaders and launched Founder Labs a pioneering incubator that focused on inclusion, and created one of the first “founder boot camps”. The top 30% of companies from Women 2.0 programs and Founder Labs have collectively raised over $100MM to date. She started her career in Silicon Valley as Product Manager and Product Marketer working for a variety of startups including JAJAH (acquired by Telefonica), Ribbit (acquired by British Telecom) and Talenthouse. She sits on the Board of Directors for Good World Solutions. Shaherose received her B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business.

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Agenda:

6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Networking and refreshments

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Panel discussion

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wrap up and meet the speakers

 

Venue Sponsor:

IDEO, 501 The Embarcadero, Pier 28 Annex, San Francisco, CA 94105

 

Read our terms and conditions here.

Venture Capital Event: Tech Investor Perspectives for 2017 With Greylock, Foundation, Norwest, 500 Startups, and Scale Ventures

Tech Investor Perspectives for 2017

On this panel, top Silicon Valley investors share their outlook for 2017. Hear directly from them on what areas of business are hot, and what areas not. We will explore questions such: What impact will the new administration have on tech? What areas or technologies are they looking into for 2017? And of course, are we in a tech bubble or not?

This event is a must attend for business and technology professionals as well as entrepreneurs. Find out what areas of innovation the investment community is focused on for 2017 and how it may impact your startup, company, area or career.

All sales are final. No refunds. Read our privacy policy here.

Click here for 20% Off Tickets >

 

New Speaker Added

Cack Wilhelm, Principal at Scale Venture Partners

Cack joined Scale Venture Partners in 2014 and focuses on investments in next-generation enterprise software companies, with a particular emphasis on the cloud infrastructure, big data, DevOps, and security sectors. Cack’s efforts have led to Scale investments in mobile database company Realm and cloud analytics infrastructure company Treasure Data. Prior to joining Scale Venture Partners, Cack was an enterprise sales representative, first at Oracle selling databases and data integration tools, and later at Cloudera, where she sold the management application for Apache Hadoop to early-adopters in the push toward distributed parallel computing. Cack was initially drawn to the technology and software sectors while at Montgomery & Company, where she helped advise on software acquisitions and capital raises. Cack holds a M.B.A from The University of Chicago – Booth School of Business and a B.A. from Princeton University.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Parker Barrile, Partner at Norwest Venture Partners

Parker Barrile is a product builder and Silicon Valley veteran, who recently joined Norwest Venture Partners as a Partner on the Internet & Consumer team. Most recently, Parker was Chief Product Officer at Prosper, a marketplace lending company, where he led Product, Design, and Engineering. Previously, Parker was VP of Product at LinkedIn, where he led a product org responsible for 80% of LinkedIn’s revenue during a period of 20x growth, from $100 million in 2009 to $2 billion in 2014. Prior to LinkedIn, Parker founded a venture-backed startup and held product and business strategy roles at Google and Bain & Company. Parker has served as an advisor to startups such as Medallia, Thumbtack, NerdWallet, Doximity, and Procore. He holds a BS in Math from Stanford and an MBA from Stanford GSB, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Arjun Dev Arora, Venture Partner at 500 Startups

Arjun is currently a Venture Partner at 500Startups, the most active early stage venture firm in the world. He works very closely with the SF accelerator as well as other regional funds and leads the efforts for fundraising for the fund. Prior to 500Startups Arjun was the Chairman, Founder, and CEO of ReTargeter, a leading digital advertising technology company which was acquired by Sellpoints in 2015. Recognized at the White House and the UN in 2013 and at the Global Summit for Entrepreneurship in 2012 for his success and commitment to a values-centered organization. Arjun has also invested in or advised over 50 early stage companies in the last several years including AngelList, Change.org, BranchMetrics and more. Arjun graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Entrepreneurship & Technology.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Joanne Chen, Partner at Foundation Capital

Joanne Chen started as a technology entrepreneur when she was nine years old, selling Web design services to local businesses. She studied electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a master of business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In July 2014, she joined Foundation Capital, where she is heavily involved in sourcing new deals, with a focus on seed- to growth-stage companies with annual revenue of around $15 million. She also launched Foundation Capital's Berkeley Founder's Program, which helps entrepreneurs currently enrolled as students or alumni of UC Berkeley attain seed capital for their startups. Prior to her venture career, Ms. Chen worked as an engineer at Cisco Systems Inc., and was a co-founder of a mobile educational games company called Learning Yard. She began her investing career at Chicago's Hyde Park Venture Partners in 2012.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Matt Heiman Investor, Greylock Partners

Matt joined Greylock Partners as an investor in 2016. Prior to joining Greylock, Matt worked at Charles River Ventures and Greycroft Partners. He was a growth equity investor at Lee Equity Partners where he helped lead investments in the areas of media, consumer, and healthcare. Before that, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he managed teams advising Fortune 500 clients across a number of industries. He also founded a technology startup and was a founding board member of Mommy Nearest. Matt received his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he graduated as an Arjay Miller Scholar. At Stanford, Matt was the President of Stanford’s Private Equity Club and Jewish Business Students Association. He holds a B.A in Economics and Psychology from Columbia University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the Stanley I. Fishel Prize and Costantino Colombo Award. Matt is a native New Yorker and West Coast transplant.

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Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds (@IamGkennedy)

Gregory Kennedy is the Co-Founder of the highly regarded Uncharted Minds Thought Leadership Series. The series has featured speakers from top Silicon Valley companies such as Airbnb, Lyft, Medium, PayPal, Coinbase, BoostVC, Misfit Wearables and more. Gregory is a sought after thought leader, speaker and author whose writing has been featured on The BBC, VentureBeat, YahooFinance, Entrepreneur.com, CMO.com, and Marketing Profs. A former creative director and user interface designer, he has held marketing roles at InMobi, TapSense, and AdRoll. Born in New York City, he now calls Berkeley, California his home.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Agenda:

6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Networking and refreshments

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Panel discussion

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wrap up and meet the speakers

 

Venue Sponsor:

SF Embarcadero Location, San Francisco

Uncharted Minds Design Mixer on January 12th, 2017 @ WeWork San Jose

Meet and mingle as Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds leads an in-depth conversation with top Silicon Valley designers. Through client case studies and examples of their best work learn:

  • How they stay inspired?
  • What drives their creativity?
  • What process they use to solve design challenges?
  • What advice they have for designers just starting out?

Agenda:

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Networking and Refreshments

7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Portfolio Showcase and Q&A

7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wrap up and Meet the Presenters

Click here for 20% off tickets

 

All sales are final. No refunds. Read our privacy policy here.

www.weareuncharted.com

 

Featuring

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Michael Jennings, Senior Creative Director at Fyber and Formerly of Zynga

With more than 10 years of experience, Michael Jennings is currently Senior Creative Director with Fyber, where he is responsible for overseeing the branding, identity and user experience design team. Previously a Senior User Experience Designer a Zynga, he worked on some of their most popular games including Zynga Poker, FrontierVille, and CastleVille. A passionate video game enthusiasts, Michael started his career as an Art Director for print magazines including Computer Gaming World. He lives in San Francisco and in his free time loves to play with his Australian Shepherd dog Buckley.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Joseph Kappes, Interaction Designer at Cooper

Joe is an Interaction Designer at Cooper. A careful and articulate communicator, Joe excels at processing abstract concepts and guiding others to an understanding of those ideas for themselves. With a background in English, he combines his communication skills with his love of narrative, research, and synthesis to create engaging interactive experiences. In his work as a designer he’s helped people with type 2 diabetes lead fulfilling lives, envisioned the next generation of digital photography tools and developed structures to help coordinate care for special needs students. In his down time, he can be found writing, fumbling with crossword puzzles, and hiking the Bay Area trails.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Moderator Host:

Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds (@IamGkennedy)

Gregory Kennedy is the Co-Founder of the highly regarded Uncharted Minds Thought Leadership Series. The series has featured speakers from top Silicon Valley companies such as Airbnb, Lyft, Medium, PayPal, Coinbase, BoostVC, Misfit Wearables and more. Gregory is a sought after thought leader, speaker and author whose writing has been featured on The BBC, VentureBeat, YahooFinance, Entrepreneur.com, CMO.com, and Marketing Profs. A former creative director and user interface designer, he has held marketing roles at InMobi, TapSense, and AdRoll. Born in New York City, he now calls Berkeley, California his home.

LinkedIn Profile

Click here for 20% off tickets

With Snapchat Spectacles, Wearables are Back for 2017

The breakout success of Snapchat Spectacles has the potential to breathe new life into the entire wearables category. The quirky, fun and inexpensive approach Snapchat took has captivated the nascent Millennial audience that Google Glass was never quite able to reach. With a high price point and a less than stylish look, Glass just couldn't get traction with consumers. No matter how much marketing spend Google put behind it.

The enthusiasm that consumers have had for Spectacles demonstrates that there is consumer demand for a Glass type wearable device. The winning product marketing combination appears to be a low price point, a stylish look, and a dead simple feature set. And of course, the fact that Spectacles seamlessly integrate into Snapchat’s user experience is paramount.

This is a unique, almost contrarian approach. When one consider all the investment in Silicon Valley that went into Glass competitors and is now funding VR headset and app development. Snapchat took a big risk with this product, going against the grain, in a failed category, and it seems to have paid off.

Will a Snapchat Hardware Ecosystem Emerge?

It's too soon to say for sure, but the creation of an entire Snapchat hardware ecosystem is possible. Why not offer lots of different styles of glasses for consumers to pick from? Which could lead to the licensing of third party manufacturers like RayBans, Oakley or even Prada Eyewear to make glasses that work on the Snapchat platform? If my RayBans connected to Snapchat, I would be Snapping video all day.

A Rebirth of the Category

Wearables as a category saw the most success with fitness tracking devices from FitBit. Their clever marketing and a large product line, at multiple price points, crushed the competition. But beyond fitness trackers, not much else in the wearables space has gained traction, until now.

If Snapchat’s success continues with Spectacles, expect to see the other dominant players in the social media space imitate the approach in 2017, reigniting interest in wearables once again.

Q&A with Adam Vollmer, Founder and CEO of Faraday Bikes: Advice to Entrepreneurs, Hire Great People

This interview is with Adam Vollmer (@oregonadam), Founder and CEO of Faraday Bikes. He will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds event titled, Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable Featuring Scoop Technologies, Getaround, Ridecell, and Faraday Bikes on November 30th. Click here to get 20% off tickets.

Q. With Tesla, the self-driving car is arguably already on the market. How long will it be until the majority of cars in service are automated?

I think this is still further away than most people realize or want to believe. There are 250 million cars in the US and the average car on the road in the U.S. is 11.5 years old. I bet the majority of cars in service still don’t even have bluetooth or built-in MP3 players.

I think the more interesting question is — how will the integration of self-driving cars work out? I suspect that self-driving cars will work very seamlessly when they occupy either a very small or a very large percentage of cars on the road. But, how smooth will the integration go when they are anywhere between 5 percent and 90 percent of the market?

Q. Significant disruption has happened in the taxi industry. What are there other industries that you think will be affected? And why?

I think it’s interesting that Uber etc.’s disruption of the taxi industry has essentially been the disruption of a private industry by another private industry. So much of transportation is inherently public. Especially in light of recent political events, I’m interested to know whether there are traditionally public industries that could be privately disrupted. Public transit and busing for instance.

The emergence of the “tech buses” in the bay area is an interesting example of this — is there a broader market for private buses that could reach consumers other than tech workers? Public infrastructure and public transit are badly underfinanced. Frankly, disruptive transportation startups aren’t helping since they only pull more riders — and revenue — away from the public transit system.

That’s OK, or at least inevitable, so long as we continue to have good, affordable transit options that can effectively serve lower income communities and riders. It’s tough to compete with the value of a bus pass. Carpool startups — Scoop comes to mind — are exciting to me here. So are scooters and bikes, honestly. Personally, I get excited thinking about someone disrupting the bike lane construction industry…

Q. Besides self-driving cars, what other transportation technologies do you think are disruptive?

I think electric cars are incredibly exciting — way more exciting, and way more necessary, than self-driving cars, honestly. Running a bike company I’m excited about the other forms of transport — bikes, ebikes, scooters, escooters, mopeds, hoverboards, skateboards, etc., that are really taking off. But, it’s also quite clear that the car is here for good. Emissions from automobiles account for 20 percent of the CO2 emissions in the U.S. We need to rapidly switch those cars to a cleaner power source, develop the smart electric grid, along with solar and other clean electricity production solutions. That will be required on a massive scale to support an electrified U.S. auto market.

Without widespread adoption of electric cars, I fear self-driving cars could simply make the experience of driving more convenient and less painful, which would only give people MORE of an incentive to drive more, emissions would then only increase. And, boring as it sounds, I think that high-quality divided bike lanes are, dollar for dollar, probably one of the most exciting and impactful transportation disruptions beginning to happen in a lot of US cities.

Q. What inspired you to start a company?

I found an area that was personally exciting and meaningful enough to me that I was willing to work 80 hour weeks on it. Once I built a small prototype and saw that other people were as excited about as I was, I saw there clearly was an opportunity in the market, and that was the start of Faraday.

Q. Is all the excitement around entrepreneurship warranted? Does entrepreneurship deserve all the media attention that it’s currently receiving?

Yes and no. I think that it’s exciting and deserving of attention anytime a talented person makes a big sacrifice and commits themselves to something they really, truly believe could change the world — whether they’re an entrepreneur, a nurse, a social worker, or a teacher.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Hire great people.

Q. What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?

Working with talented people who believe in the impossible and share a common vision. Knowing that we make a great product that people love. Hearing our customers’ stories.

Q. What’s the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?

The responsibility you bear for all the people who have put their faith in you.

Q&A With Rob Goodman: Marketer, Storyteller, and Uncharted Minds Panel Moderator

This interview is with Rob Goodman (@therobgoodman), principal at OpenVerse, a brand strategy and content marketing firm. He will be the panel moderator at the next Uncharted Minds event Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable featuring Scoop Technologies, Getaround, RideCell, and Faraday Electric Bikes on November 30th. Click here to get 20% off tickets.

Q. What did you study in college?

I’ve been an artist and illustrator my entire life and went to Syracuse University to study illustration and graphic design at their VPA school. I have also always been a die-hard music fan and was looking to build a career that could balance the highs and lows of an artist’s life with the stability of a “nine-to-five” job, so I sought out internships working in the music business. I was lucky enough to get internships at a variety of companies in NYC over the summers—at Rolling Stone, Arista Records, MTV Animation, Live Online (the first live-streaming concert company), and Delsener Slater (later acquired by Live Nation). I like to say I got a real world minor in marketing during college.

Q. Tell us about your first marketing job.

I had heard that Sony Music had a paid position for college students as part of their college marketing program, which is actually the longest-standing college music marketing program in the country—industry greats like Harvey Leeds (former Columbia Records music executive), John Sykes (founder of MTV), and so many more got their starts as Sony Music College Reps. I pursued the position full force and after several rounds of interviews, I scored the job. I worked for two years in upstate New York in what still stands as one of my best jobs. I was the eyes, ears, and marketing muscle for Sony Music in Syracuse and the surrounding areas—my job was to get college students and influencers to check out new music, drive sales and interest, and build audiences for developing artists organically in my market. From listening parties to artist tour support, college press, college radio, lifestyle and retail promotions, and campus music events—that was my gig, while also studying as a full-time student.

Q. What were some early lessons you learned about work?

I went on to work for Nickelodeon, took on a full-time position with Sony Music, dove into digital marketing with Simon & Schuster, and shifted to marketing consumer technology in my role at Google. Early on in my career, I learned it’s important to build strong relationships with the people you work with. I’ve been lucky enough that so many of the people I’ve worked with over the years I now count as lifelong friends. My takeaway would be: work somewhere you can find like-minded, passionate, smart people who you can learn from, take on the world with, and also just grab beers, see a show, or hang with.

Q. Tell us about your company, OpenVerse.

In my role as founder and principal of OpenVerse, I work with a variety of brands and startups focusing on content strategy, writing and content creation, and brand strategy, positioning, and messaging work. I love having an outsized impact with smaller teams and building the kinds of relationships with clients that feel more like working partnerships and collaborations than quick-hit gigs. And I still love music and art. I continue to do illustration (band posters and CD design) and recently started writing about the San Francisco music scene for The Bay Bridged.

Q. How do you find clients today?

Finding clients has mostly been through word of mouth. I’ll get connected with folks, we’ll meet over coffee or I’ll come into the office for a chat, and we’ll get rolling that way. And if I’m not the right fit I always try to help connect dots to someone who might be. The Bay Area really thrives via the connections people have with one another. Most of the people I meet have an openness and curiosity that often leads to great conversation, and opportunities of all kinds can spring forth from that.

Q. What career advice would you give to young people today?

I would build upon a popular line of advice I’ve heard time and time again—“Do what you love.” I’ll add to that and say, “Figure out how to make money doing what you love.” We live in the real world and that means rent, food, family, and all that good stuff. So home in on what you love and what you are passionate about, identify your strengths, and then pursue every avenue that could connect back to those things. And be open and giving with your time and your willingness to help others.

Q. What are you most excited about for the upcoming 'Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable' you are moderating?

When it comes to all the innovation we are seeing in the transportation space—I am most enthusiastic about the transformational possibilities for our cities and in the way we work. It’s one of the reasons I was thrilled to recently work with Nauto, a company developing technology that will evolve standard vehicles to smart, autonomous-ready road warriors. The speakers for this roundtable discussion—CEOs from Scoop, RideCell, Getaround, and Faraday Bicycles—are leading this revolution. I can’t wait to get a glimpse into their vision for the future of our cities. I am also interested in understanding the biggest technological advances that are helping us get there and the infrastructural roadblocks that everyday citizens might have a hand in helping to surmount.

Q&A with Robert Sadow, CEO and Co-Founder of Scoop Technologies

This interview is with Robert Sadow (@rsadow), CEO and Co-Founder of Scoop Technologies. He will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds event titled, Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable Featuring Scoop Technologies, Getaround, Ridecell, and Faraday Electric Bikes on November 30th. Click here to get 20% off tickets.

Q. With Tesla, the self-driving car is arguably already on the market. How long will it be until the majority of cars in service are automated?

We could see ride-hailing fleet automation within the next five to 10 years. It may take significantly longer before the majority of non-fleet vehicles are automated — it typically takes more than 10 years for innovation to work its way through the private car market.

Q. Significant disruption has happened in the taxi industry. What are there other industries that you think will be affected? And why?

The better question is “what industries would not be impacted by disruption in mobility and automation of vehicles?” The answer is very few. Decreasing the cost and pain of covering distance will impact where we live, where we work, how services are delivered, and how humans interact. Cheap access to mobility is one of the great enablers of social and economic mobility. The American dream itself becomes more attainable as mobility become ubiquitous.

Q. Besides self-driving cars, what other transportation technologies do you think are disruptive?

I find the evolution of telematics fascinating. The amount of data being generated by vehicles and drivers has profound impact on safety, insurance, cost of vehicle ownership, cost of fleet management, even routing / mapping. Autonomous vehicles get more press, but the data generation and corresponding ripple effects are every bit as interesting.

Q. What inspired you to start a company?

Deep passion for the problem we are solving. Our mission at Scoop is to build congestion-free communities — to improve quality of life for commuters and residents. 100 million commuters drive alone to work in the United States. Long distance solo commuting is expensive, unproductive, has been linked to myriad negative health outcomes, and even divorce. My brother and I grew up commuting more than 250 miles each week to school in Atlanta — we know what that feels like and felt compelled to invest energy to solve it.

Q. Is all the excitement around entrepreneurship warranted? Does entrepreneurship deserve all the media attention that it’s currently receiving?

The excitement around entrepreneurship absolutely is warranted. Entrepreneurs take big risks to try and change the world around them, and we should celebrate risk-taking to advance quality of life. Personally, I don’t love how the media covers entrepreneurship. There is too much of a focus on fake milestones and vanity metrics that don’t really reflect the health or value of underlying businesses. With not enough focus on why entrepreneurs start companies, how hard the journey is, and how to be a better entrepreneur from those that have been successful in the past.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Make sure you believe deeply in the mission of your company. Being an entrepreneur is HARD. Some days you feel like the smartest person in the world. Other days you don’t understand why you are putting yourself through so much stress and hardship. Underlying belief in your mission and why doing what you do is important is how you get through the tough days. If you don’t feel that way about the problem you are solving, don’t go down the entrepreneurial path.

Q. What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?

For me personally, it is getting to work with my brother and see him every day. More broadly, it is the ability to build a team of passionate individuals that work together to accomplish a bigger vision. Getting to build and work with a tremendous team is the real payoff in being an entrepreneur.

Q. What’s the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?

The learning curve is exceptionally steep, and it never slows down. Every problem you solve breeds three more problems you didn’t foresee. But that is also what makes it fun! I’ve learned more in the past two years than I had in the previous five, and I am incredibly thankful for the journey.

It’s Going to be Different Getting Around in the 21st Century

Disruption in transportation is happening everywhere you look. Self-driving Google cars map our roads, ride-sharing startups like Uber and Lyft have made access to taxis as easy as pushing a button on our phones. Electric cars, after having spent many years as an R&D curiosity, are now popular and found all over. Cities across the U.S. have been installing bicycle sharing systems, improving bicycle infrastructure, and encouraging people to ride a bike instead of drive. There are even companies pioneering self-driving trucks like Otto, acquired by Uber. And of course, Elon Musk won’t stop talking about the Hyperloop, his new idea that could revolutionize mass transit.

In the 20th Century, the car was arguably one of the most disruptive innovations ever. It changed everything about how we live, shop, eat, and work. From the creation of the suburbs to the innovation of the destination shopping mall, the car transformed daily life. In the U.S., the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system in the 1950s connected the country with a system of modern freeways and paved the way to establish the car as the undisputed winner when it came to transportation.

As America embraced the car lifestyle, city planning became entirely car-centric. Train tracks for trolleys were paved over, ferry service for commuters was reduced or eliminated. Bridges and freeways went up all over the country. And the U.S., the only nation that produced cars after World War Two, tied it’s identity as a nation so closely to them that apple pie, hamburgers and denim jeans are the only three things more American than the car.

But, the story didn’t end there. Our car based utopia of the 1960s came to a literal stop with the oil embargo of the 1970s. At times people had to line up for hours to get gas for their vehicles. It was not just an inconvenience, the oil crisis made it abundantly clear how vulnerable the entire system was to forces outside of the control of the United States. The economy suffered significantly from the oil shock. The issue became a matter of national security. And has been a major factor in U.S. foreign policy for the past 35 years.

Not to mention the side effects of all those cars. Unbearable traffic congestion and pollution at a frightening scale. The dreams of a car based society quickly devolved into an unscalable, dystopian nightmare. Cars were no longer an icon of freedom. They were now a symbol of environmental crisis and crowded cities.

Technology Offers New Solutions

The problems that the popularity of the car caused has been widely known for years, but solutions have been hard to come by. Regulations were used to reduce emissions, freeways were widened to accommodate more cars, but the basic problems remained.

Today, a wide variety of technologies and businesses are solving the problems of congestion and pollution, disrupting transportation significantly, even calling into question the concept of private car ownership.

Tesla, the pioneering electric car manufacturer, was a key turning point. It demonstrated that creating transportation alternatives were not just talk. It could actually be a viable business model for entrepreneurs.

Along with Tesla, a number of other innovations came of age around the same time. Cloud computing has made software-based startups easier than ever to get off the ground. Access to financing, a notoriously difficult problem for many entrepreneurs to solve, is more plentiful than ever. In fact, it can be only one clever Kickstarter video away. Faraday Electric Bikes is a great example of how traction with a Kickstarter campaign can culminate into another promising company that’s offering a real alternative mode of transportation.

But, it’s the mobile app revolution that’s ushering an even bigger era of change. One so transformative it could call into question how cities are designed and challenge real estate pricing.

Uber, Lyft, Scoop Technologies, RideCell, GetAround, Chariot and a host of other companies, are all working to transforming everything we thought we knew about transportation.

Uber, the most well known, offered a simple value proposition. Download an app to your phone. Push a button and a taxi will arrive at your location using the GPS chip in your phone to find you. Simple, easy, scalable, affordable and massively popular.

Big Change is Coming

The implications of this technology and these companies are vast. If an on-demand self-driving car or bus system scales to every urban location around the world, why even own a car at all? What if an electric bike becomes so powerful that it’s the obvious choice to make a run to the store instead of a car? What if peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, combined with self-driving cars, reduces the cost of on-demand taxis to mere pennies? What if the Hyperloop makes travel from LA to SF happen in under an hour?

Could private ownership of cars become a luxury, not a necessity? Yes. Someday, it could happen. And it probably will happen.

Fewer cars would mean less traffic, speeding up travel times in autonomous rented cars. It also eliminates the need for most parking structures, since there is no need to park a taxi or self-driving car. This then frees up all kinds of resources and space that were previously dedicated to private car ownership like carwashes, parking lots, street parking and even driveways. It would fundamentally change our approach to urban planning and make getting around more efficient.

Eventually, in this scenario location becomes less important. You can live far away, but still get where you need to go on time. Shops don’t need to be connected to ample amounts of parking. Commuting to work would be much more manageable. And this all could impact real estate prices, the bedrock of our financial system.

It won’t all happen all at once. The regulation will probably be the biggest barrier to overcome. But, it’s so top-of-mind that even Obama is working on it. I don’t have a crystal ball. And I don’t know exactly how this will all play out, but what is certain, it’s going to be different getting around in the 21st century.

Gregory Kennedy, President and Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds.

Four startup CEOs will discus this topic at the next Uncharted Minds Thought Leadership Series on November 30. Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable: Getaround, Scoop, Faraday Electric Bikes and Ridecell. Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT) @ WeWork Transbay in San Francisco, CA

You can get 20% off tickets to the event by clicking on this link.

Subscribe to the Uncharted Minds mailing list.

Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable: Getaround, Scoop, RideCell and Faraday Electric Bikes

It's Going to be Different Getting Around in the 21st Century

Self-driving cars, ridesharing, the hyperloop and massive investments in bicycle infrastructure are all culminating into significant disruption in transportation. And it's happening at a global level. In the 20th Century, the car was arguably one of the most disruptive innovations ever. It changed everything about how we live, shop, eat, work and transformed how we build cities.

Today, a wide variety of technologies and transportation options are set to further disrupt a basic need in our society, getting around. On this panel, we will hear from experts who share their insights into how disruption in transportation will change our daily lives. Learn what the implications are for business, work, shopping and even real estate prices.

 > Use This Link for 20% Off Tickets <

 

Robert Sadow - CEO and Co-Founder of Scoop Technologies

Rob Sadow is CEO and Co-Founder at Scoop Technologies, the Bay Area's leading community and solution for commuter carpooling. Rob has long been a firm believer that technology could be harnessed to solve everyday problems that impact our quality of life. Rob moved to the Bay Area to join his brother, Jon, and was immediately struck by the magnitude of the area’s transportation issues and how they affected the region. Inspired, the two brothers put their heads together and developed Scoop. Rob started his career with Bain & Company in New York as a strategy consultant. He specialized in customer strategy and marketing, helping big companies develop and execute plans to attract and retain customers. Rob graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BSE in Management, Legal Studies & Business Ethics. Growing up in Atlanta, Rob and Jon drove 25 miles each way to and from high school, which put the importance of a better, more sustainable commute into perspective at an early age.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Adam Vollmer - Founder and CEO of Faraday Electric Bicycles

Adam is the founder and CEO of Faraday Bicycles. Faraday designs exceptional electric bicycles and believes that everyone deserves a commute that's efficient, healthy, sustainable, and fun. Formerly a senior engineer at IDEO, Adam brings years of expertise in medical device design and biotechnology, as well as a passion for designing considered products and services that responsibly address pressing human needs. In 2010 Adam co-hosted the Emmy Award-winning PBS Kids TV show Design Squad Nation, a nationally broadcast series that showcases real, exceptional kids using engineering and design to turn their dreams into reality. Adam studied mechanical engineering at Stanford and MIT. Originally hailing from Portland, OR, Adam has ridden, raced, built, wrecked, and advocated for bikes for close to two decades.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Aarjav Trivedi - CEO of RideCell

Aarjav Trivedi is a CEO and Founder of RideCell, the leading business automation platform to launch, operate, and scale autonomous and new mobility services, including ride-sharing, car-sharing, and dynamic fixed route services. Before RideCell, Mr. Trivedi worked in engineering at SpiDynamics (Acquired by HP) and as a research engineer at CipherTrust and Secure Computing (Acquired by McAfee) where he helped invent and ship security systems used by over 40% of the Fortune 500 as well as the Pentagon. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech and a Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Mumbai.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Jessica Scorpio - Founder and VP of Marketing of Getaround

Jessica Scorpio is the Founder and VP Marketing at Getaround, the leading peer-to-peer carsharing community. As a member of the inaugural class at Singularity University (SU '09)Jessica was challenged to facilitate the developing technologies in order to address humanity's grand challenges. Focused on transportation, Jessica is passionate about the Sharing Economy and the positive impact it can have on individuals and their communities and has been recognized on both the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Inc 30 Under 30 lists for her work.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Moderator:

Rob Goodman – Content Marketing with Foundation Capital & Principal at OpenVerse (@therobgoodman)

Rob Goodman is principal at OpenVerse, a marketing and storytelling firm, and marketer with Foundation Capital, a 20-year old venture firm in Silicon Valley. Rob’s ability to blend business sense with creative expertise defines his work as a marketing consultant, content strategist, and writer. Rob was most recently head of global marketing for digital publishing at Google, and previously led online marketing for Simon & Schuster and helped shape grassroots digital marketing at Sony Music. Today, he works with an array of startups and technology companies to drive brand and content initiatives. Rob can often be found exploring the city's many music venues, illustrating band posters, running, or eating BBQ.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Agenda:

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Networking and refreshments

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Panel discussion

8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wrap up and meet the speakers

 

Venue Sponsor and Location:

WeWork Transbay, 535 Mission St. 14th Floor, San Francisco

An Open Call for Speakers for Our Disruption in Transportation Panel @ WeWork Transbay

For our next panel, we're kicking off an open call for speakers. If you know someone that you think could be a great fit, please email us. The event details are below.

Disruption in Transporation: It's Going to be Different Getting Around in the 21st Century

Date and Time: Wednesday, November 30th, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Location: WeWork Transbay

Self-driving cars, ridesharing, the hyperloop and massive investments in bicycle infrastructure are all culminating into significant disruption in transportation. And it's happening at a global level. In the 20th Century, the car was arguably one of the most disruptive innovations ever. It changed everything about how we live, shop, eat, work and transformed how we build cities.

Today, a wide variety of technologies and transportation options are set to further disrupt a basic need in our society, getting around. On this panel, we will hear from experts who share their insights into how disruption in transportation will change our daily lives. Learn what the implications are for business, work, shopping and even real estate prices.

What People Say About Uncharted Minds

"Uncharted Minds cuts right to it - what is happening today and what will happen tomorrow, with the players who are shaping the future."

— Panelist, Sasha Orloff, LendUp

"Uncharted Minds is what this industry needs more of — a forum for open, honest discussion, with the risk of audience participation."

— Panelist, Keenan Cummings, Airbnb

"They put knowledgeable panelists in front of a highly engaged audience, which makes for an evening that’s informative and entertaining."

— Panelist, Tina Crawford, Clif Bar & Company

 

Is Virtual Reality Finally a Reality?

Meet Virtual Reality Experts From Unity, LucidVR, WEVR and Presence Capital

No other technology has seen so many false starts and fleeting moments of success in Silicon Valley. Movies from the brilliant, like Avatar, to fan favorites, like Lawnmower Man have romanticized the technology for the past 20 years. Trendy VR-inspired products like Second Life saw rapid adoption, only to pop along with the real world bubble in 2009.

Today, the breakout success of Pokemon Go and a new selection of home VR entertainment devices are set to once again usher in a new era of excitement in virtual and augmented reality. Our panel of experts will give their perspective on this wave of VR innovation and what it means for entertainment, media, marketing and more.

Our Panel of Experts Include:

Sylvio Drouin, Unity

Han Jin, Lucid VR

Amitt Hahajan, Presence Capital

Tony Parisi, WEVR

Use Code ‘insider’ for 20% Off Tickets

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, CA

At WeWork SOMA, 156 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Ivan Kirigin: Growth is a systematic approach to hitting company goals

This interview is with Ivan Kirigin, Founder and CEO of YesGraph, and the former Head of Growth at Dropbox. He will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds event titled, From Growth Hacking to Growth Marketing Featuring Slack, AdRoll, Hired, BrightFunnel and YesGraph on July 27th. Click here to get 20% off tickets.

Q. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background.

A. I’m Ivan Kirigin, Founder and CEO of YesGraph. I’m got obsessed with growth back in 2008 after my first startup failed. That experience left me with a pretty big chip on my shoulder. I then went to work at Facebook and after that Dropbox, where learned a lot about how to build a great product and help them grow.

Q. How would you define Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing? Are they just terms popularized by trendy firms in Silicon Valley? Or do they represent a new approach marketing and lead generation?

A. Growth is a systematic approach to hitting company goals and requires marketing, product design, data analytics, and of course engineering. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Some folks are obsessed with defining labels, but at Silicon Valley startups, this isn’t even a discussion. A focus on growth is table stakes for the best tech companies.

The biggest problem I see is unreasonable expectations about what growth hacking can achieve. So I hope people dig into the details and get to work.

Q. Can you provide an example?

A. Lead generation is a good example. With the right tools, a marketer could run an A/B test on a landing page and boost conversion on a lead-gen form. But, it would take more engineering and data analysis to understand the connection between, for example, the in-app behavior of leads from different traffic sources to that lead-gen form. Or to customize the product experience in a way that an A/B copy test just couldn’t.

Q. How is this different from what was traditionally viewed as marketing?

A. Marketing teams traditionally didn’t have enough influence over product development, and often lacked access to engineering resources. Marketers also lack the technical ability to understand large, complex data sets. In short, it’s very different from traditional marketing.

That said, I tend to think the hard parts of marketing are underrated. Explaining a complex product with short and succinct description is a herculean task. Connecting on an emotional level with your customers requires immense empathy.

Q. Is there a place still for the softer and less data-driven disciplines like public relations and brand building? Are Growth Hacking and Growth Marketing only for startups?

A. You’re cheating with two questions at once, but I won’t hold it against you.

Public relations or PR is awesome and powerful. I think telling a compelling story to the right audience has incredible value and the people that do it well deserve their sometimes enormous consulting fees. That said, ask a PR team about attribution, and they will freeze like a rabbit in the headlights. The collective incompetence of the PR industry in failing to attribute outputs to their inputs boggles my mind. It makes them seem like they are hiding something.

Growth isn’t just for startups. Again, unreasonable expectations about what growth can do are everywhere. So I recommend people dive into the details and learn what they can apply to their own companies.

Q. For teams or individuals who are looking to build a career in marketing, what skills would you recommend that they invest in learning?

A. I recommend people build a broad base and then dive deep into specific topics.

Learn enough about engineering to understand how a product gets built. Know enough math to understand common tasks like AB testing and user behavioral analysis. The same could be said for a broad, basic understanding of marketing and design.

Once you have a solid base, go deep on a specific topic. The good news is that the best way to learn is to dive into a project. For example, if a marketing project involves millions of web pages, you probably need to learn a lot about SEO. If you’re building a social product, learn about referral systems, social re-engagement channels, and social design. If you’re building a Kickstarter-type project, you’ll want need to become a both community management and performance marketing expert.

Nadim Hossain: If there’s code written, it’s probably growth hacking

This interview is with Nadim Hossain, Co-Founder and CEO of BrightFunnel, a Marketing Intelligence company. He will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds event titled, From Growth Hacking to Growth Marketing Featuring Slack, AdRoll, Hired, BrightFunnel and YesGraph on July 27th. Click here to get 20% off tickets.

Q. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background.

A. I’m Nadim Hossain, Co-Founder and CEO of BrightFunnel, a Marketing Intelligence company. I started the company three and half years ago to solve a personal pain point that I had as the VP Marketing of a 100-person, Series C company. I struggled to prove the value of my team’s efforts. I wanted to be data-driven in my marketing but I couldn’t. This was hard because it was at odds with how I view myself. I’m very analytical — I’m a marketer who came up through the product side and have a quant background. This ‘identity crisis’ led me to discover a gap in the market — a massive chasm between CRM and marketing automation systems — to deliver actionable insights to marketing teams.

Q. How would you define Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing? Are they just terms popularized by trendy firms in Silicon Valley? Or do they represent a new approach marketing and lead generation?

A. Growth hacking is the use of engineering approaches to drive user or revenue growth. If there’s code written, it’s probably growth hacking. If you’re not writing code (do you have a Github account?), sorry, you’re probably not “hacking” anything. If you’re a non-engineer who is stringing together tracking scripts and HTML, it’s getting into the hacky territory, so you get partial credit. But, if you’re generally just helping your company grow by generating awareness and consideration… uhh, there’s already a word for that — ‘marketing.’

As to ‘Growth Marketing,’ I have no idea what that is. It sounds like a great way to add an extra word that adds zero meaning if that’s what you’re into (I’d also be happy to sell you a few seats of my online course, 7 Tips for Marketing That Shrinks Your Company).

Q. Can you provide an example?

A. Sure — if within your product, you create a workflow to invite new users, get referrals, add new modules — that’s in the intersection of generating new revenue through product and engineering, that I’d call growth hacking. Generally, growth hacking tends to be used by companies that look like early Dropbox. And plain old enterprise marketing is what Dropbox is probably trying to figure out today.

Q. How is this different from what was traditionally viewed as marketing?

A. Traditional marketing was for pre-Internet products. Back then it wasn’t as easy to link the product to the marketing of the product (though I’m sure we’d have fun coming up with some examples!).

Q. Is there a place still for the softer and less data-driven disciplines like public relations and brand building? Are Growth Hacking and Growth Marketing only for startups?

A. Absolutely. Forget growth and hacking for a second. What the new era of marketing is really about is being data driven — applying that data to be more intelligent about marketing. But the mistake most people make is to think of marketing as deterministic — like sending Juno to Jupiter using advanced Calculus. Marketing is probabilistic — you’re playing the odds. And you have to be comfortable with uncertainty. Sure, if you’re an e-commerce marketer or a transactional SaaS marketer, you can be a little more deterministic. But most B2B marketers will need to be comfortable with going from making decisions with no data to making more timely decisions, made with the amount of confidence and data that’s appropriate.

With that said — ultimately, a brand is what we all strive for. Startups can’t invest in their brand in the traditional, Madison Avenue sense, but they must absolutely have a point of view and identity, have a great product, generate word of mouth — be consistent and high quality in their interactions. All that is a brand. And there are ways to measure the impact of your brand.

As a startup CEO, I’ve seen our sales conversations getting easier every year. We get fewer objections upfront; we already own space in the prospect’s mind. That’s brand. Part of it is company-specific, part of it category-oriented. But either is fine.

PR can also be incredibly helpful. The point of view and story should be amplified through influencers, whether that’s press, analysts, or just prominent bloggers and smart people. It’s not always easy for a startup, but it can be very valuable. Lastly, I don’t think growth hacking is just for startups, but I do think it is specific to web-based products.

Q. For teams or individuals who are looking to build a career in marketing, what skills would you recommend that they invest in learning?

A. I would recommend these three things:

  1. Story-telling
  2. Analytics / Making decisions with data
  3. Applying technology to marketing

Evolution is Revolution: From Growth Hacking to Growth Marketing, July 27th @ General Assembly in San Francisco

Join us for our next panel on July 27th at General Assembly in Downtown San Francisco. We've assembled an all-star lineup, featuring growth marketers from startups Slack, AdRoll, YesGraph, Hired, and BrightFunnel.

Panel Description:

With marketing departments predicted to spend more on technology than the CIO over the next 10 years, will this become the decade of the growth marketer? What skills are required to succeed in this brave new world? What software, tactics, and platforms should one implement? Our panel of growth marketing experts will address these questions and help make sense of the emerging growth technology landscape.

Speakers:

Kelly Watkins - Head of Product Marketing at Slack (@_kcwatkins)

Peter Clark - Head of Growth Marketing at AdRoll (@plc)

Ivan Kirigin - CEO and Founder of YesGraph, Former Head of Growth at Dropbox (@ikirigin)

Nadim Hossain - CEO and Founder of BrightFunnel (@nadimhossain)

Zack Onisko - Vice President of Growth at Hired Inc. (@zack415)

Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy - Co-Founder, Uncharted Minds (@IamGkennedy)

Early Bird tickets on sale now. Use the code 'insider' or click here for 20% off. (With the discount Early Bird tickets are $20 per ticket. A full $15.00 off the full ticket price of $35.00.)

Jayson Tang: Put your best work out there, but only the work you are proud

This interview is with Jayson Tang, Creative Director at The-Otherside. Having spent his early career at the seminal creative agency The Attik, Jayson then broke out on his own. He has worked independently for the past 10 years with brands like Motorola, Scion, Nissan, Ford, Ubisoft, EA Sports, Disney and more. He will be speaking at the Uncharted Minds Design Gurus Summit on May 17th. Click here to get 20% off tickets to the event.

Q. When you were growing up, were you always interested in design?

A. Yes.

Q. What were some early influences on your career choice?

A. Tony Kaye and Kyle Cooper come to mind. Tony Kaye TV commercials blew me away. They were revolutionary for the time. Visually rich and stunning, it just made you stop what you were doing and watch the whole commercial.

Kyle Cooper changed the way we saw movie titles. His title design for the movie “Seven” was a game changer, people started talking about the title sequences, more than the actual movies! It spawned a whole new industry in title design and it’s what got me into motion graphics.

Q. What did you study in college?

A. Graphic Design at the London College of Printing. I didn’t think too much about it and my art teacher told me it would be the perfect career for me. It was.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. My dad was a ship engineer and my mother a beautician.

Q. Tell me about your first design job.

A. My first design job was at a web design startup in London. It was run by a bunch of Yugoslavians who chain smoked and played Doom all night. I was replace by a free and good looking intern.

Q. What were some early lessons you learned about design?

A. Not to take feedback on my design work too personally.

Q. Tell me about your approach to design today.

A. I always aim as high creatively as I can.

Q. How do you find clients today?

A. Mostly by referral, or they find me.

Q. What career advice would you give to young people today?

A. Put your best work out there. But only the work you are proud off and nothing less.

Q. Hardest part of being a designer?

A. Running the business side and not taking anything personally!

Q. Favorite part of being a designer?

A. Doing great work that people enjoy and appreciate.

Saad Alayyoubi: VR will dramatically change how humans live, socialize and work

This interview is with Saad Alayyoubi, Lead 3D Designer at Jaunt. A cinematic Virtual Reality startup that focuses on immersive 360° stereo video experiences for all platforms including ios, android, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Vive, and LG. He will be speaking at the Uncharted Minds Design Gurus Summit on May 17th. Click here to get 20% off tickets to the event.

Q. Virtual reality has seen many incarnations over the past 20-years. Why is it different this time around?

A. We finally have the attained the perfect confluence of hardware and software necessary to create high quality immersive experiences at a price point consumers can afford. Powerful graphics chips, high-pixel-density displays, high fidelity visuals driven by game engine software that can render at 90 frames per second are essential for developing VR experiences that don’t make people nauseous.

Not only can we now achieve an amazing sense of presence on high-end PC’s, but it is even in everyone’s pocket. Current smartphones can run scaled-down versions of these VR experiences, thereby enabling a huge audience of consumers to at least get a taste of what’s to come.

Q. Can you explain what the vision is for Jaunt VR?

A. Jaunt wants to be the premier content distribution platform for high-quality VR content. When the company was founded over 3 years ago, there was very little content to speak of, and so we sought to create an ‘end-to-end’ VR pipeline solution. We created a production-ready stereo 360 camera, developed sophisticated 360 panoramic stitching algorithms, launched a content production studio and developed a multi-platform app to distribute the content.

Now in mid-2016, there are many more players in the market, many of whom are laser-focused on just one particular vertical within that ecosystem. The challenge for Jaunt is to leverage our extended capabilities across all parts of the pipeline.

Q. Can you name some of your clients?

A. We have been fortunate to have worked with the NFL, MLB, NHL, North Face, ABC News, Disney, Sky, and CBS News, just to name a few.

Q. What do you think is future of VR?

A. My 5 to 10-year outlook on VR is that it will dramatically change almost every aspect of how humans live, socialize and work. VR and AR will converge into a single technology, in the form of lightweight, unobtrusive devices that overlay the digital world on top of our physical world with varying degrees of opacity. We will be able to quickly switch between being fully immersed in a pure virtual construct, to being mostly present in the real world but with some small degree of virtual information displayed on top.

VR will amplify all that is good and bad in our civilization. We will have transformative, otherworldly experiences that alter the course of our lives, and conversely some will become so addicted to the escapist fantasy of their virtual lives that they will all but neglect their “real” lives.

We will no longer have to live and work tethered to ‘keyboards’ or ‘monitors’, or look down at ‘phones’. Every form of interaction will happen in a “Metaverse” (to use the now-ubiquitous term Neal Stephenson coined in his novel ‘Snowcrash’) that materializes just in front of our pupils, using our own body gestures as the input mechanism.

In the near term, however, the challenge will be to get over the inevitable “trough of disillusionment” as consumers get their hands on the first batch of content and it struggles to live up to the hype cycle of click-bait driven media hyperbole. Most of us who work in the industry believe in the potential of the technology, and know that we are still a couple of years away from the earth-shaking, paradigm-shifting experiences consumers are expecting.

For example, current VR experiences and headsets look substantially grainier and lower-quality than simply watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster or AAA videogame on a 4k display. Current VR games have significant technical limitations due to the effective doubling of render resolution and framerate needed for a comfortable experience. It will be a couple of years before VR content can visually compete with existing media and entertainment.

VR companies need to be in it for the long haul, until they (and the industry as a whole) reach a caliber of storytelling and visual impact that audiences will be interested in paying for on a consistent basis.

Q. How did you get into VR design as a career?

A. I started my career as an architect, doing conceptual design, 3d modeling, texturing and animation for large scale commercial skyscraper projects across the globe. My favorite part of being an architect was creating photorealistic 3d models and renderings of conceptual building projects, essentially selling clients on the dream which they would then find the means to develop and construct.

I then decided to focus more on pure 3d visualizations, moving into commercial 3d graphics which could be more abstract and further removed from the constraints and realities of building construction. As the VR industry began to emerge, it was a perfect crystallization of all of my early aspirations to design awe-inspiring virtual worlds unconstrained by the limitations of physics or money. I don’t think I have quite achieved that yet with my current work, but I do feel I am on the right path.

Q. What were some early influences on your career choice?

A. I have always been a fan of videogames, particularly narrative-driven, single player, visually beautiful and immersive experiences. To me, the best games really do take you to a believable alternate reality, even before VR enabled us to be ‘inside’ the world.

However, I’ve also always been turned off by the overall immaturity and crassness of the gaming industry as a whole. Besides a small number of outstanding developers, I was never attracted to working in the games industry, largely because of the culture. Now though there is a growing number of indie (and even AAA) developers working on more thoughtful, mature experiences that go beyond mere adolescent power fantasies.

Video games and VR go hand-in-hand. I think very soon there will no longer be a chasm between “movies” and “games”, and instead, we will just have interactive, immersive storytelling experiences.

Q. What did you study in college?

A. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute, a Master of Science in Advanced Architecture from Columbia University, and an MBA from New York University.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. My parents are both medical doctors, neither of them has a single creative bone in their bodies. I can only assume I was adopted! (sorry mom)

Q. Tell me about your first design job.

A. During my junior year of architecture school, I worked for one of my professors named Dan Silver, who ran his own small architecture practice. I fondly remember the two of us working crazy 18 hour days on an architectural competition project to design a large hotel in China over the course of a cold New York winter because we were both just so into the design and excited about what we were doing. He was a great mentor and I learned a tremendous amount from Dan not just about architecture, but about the personal sacrifices necessary and dedication to the craft one has to have in order to attain the luxury of getting paid by discerning clients to do interesting, avant-garde work. Especially early in one’s creative career, it’s often the drudge, safe and mundane client work that pays for the interesting, frontier-crossing experiments that happen after rent gets paid!

Q. What were some early lessons you learned about design?

A. During my freshman and sophomore years of architecture school, everyone was still hand-drawing all of their designs and making physical models out of wood and plexiglass. Every time we needed to ‘scale-up’ a floor plan to double size, we would need to spend hours tracing and redrawing the entire sheet! Talk about inefficiency…

The summer after my sophomore year, I stayed on campus to take one of the first 3d digital modeling courses offered at the architecture school. The initial learning curve was incredibly painful for the first several weeks, as it was entirely different from anything else I had ever done before. The first assignment was to 3d model a pair of eyeglasses, and I remember struggling with it for days. When the process finally began to click, however, I fell head over heels in love with digital modeling, and this love became the driving force behind my whole career. It was like seeing an entire potential universe just waiting to be revealed; anything was possible.

The lesson learned is one that remains with me to this day. Whenever I come across something that appears to be too difficult or a hurdle that feels insurmountable, I think back to my time as a young architecture student, struggling to make a very simple 3d model of a pair of eyeglasses. I remind myself that everything worthwhile is usually worth struggling for and that grit and determination are they key to creative fulfillment. Fortunately, I am also married to an amazing woman who happens to be a psychology researcher studying ‘sisu’, a Finnish term denoting extraordinary courage in the face of extreme adversity. Any challenge I have faced in my career pales in comparison to her own life story, and the stories she tells me every day of people overcoming the most seemingly insurmountable odds.

Q. Tell me about your approach today.

A. There are so many new technologies and software programs emerging each month that it often feels hard to keep up. With every cool new 3D tool, I feel an unavoidable sense of ‘FOMO’, that I might be missing something by not diving into and learning to use the tool. I have become quite adept at quickly identifying which tools are worth the research time, and which are just minor variations of what I can already do with my existing tools.

That being said, probably the biggest driver of my work ethic today is an insatiable desire to constantly learn and improve. There are so many incredible artists and designers in the world, and in a way, I feel like we are each contributing to the collective hive intelligence of the earth’s artistic legacy. Nothing great comes out of a vacuum; every amazing work of art is born out of the rich tapestry of our collective creative culture. I soak everything up like a sponge. Every day while I work I keep my second screens saturated with images, videos, models, etc. Doing creative work is mentally exhausting, so it’s vital to recharge and refuel by being inspired by the incredible work of others.

Q. What career advice would you give to young people or people who want to get into the VR industry?

A. I know this sounds cliche, but if you want to get into the VR industry as an artist or designer, I would say: just start now. The barriers to entry are virtually non-existent. Spend your free time learning the software, creating concept art, building a game, building your personal brand. The internet has made it possible for anyone living in their basement in Siberia to create something (a game, a painting, a video) and have it be seen by millions of people.

Don’t wait for publishers, bosses, parents, or teachers. Human beings have never been as empowered as they are today to reach millions of others without having to go through gatekeepers or boundaries.

Q. Hardest part of your job?

A. I think the hardest part of any job as a creative person is working perfectly in sync with people who perform the other functions necessary within a company (business, engineering, etc). It can be very challenging to keeping trying to come up with your best ideas and most compelling work when under pressure to meet a sales goal or tight deadline. I’ve become better over the years at straddling the conflict between art & commerce, but I still find it challenging to continually produce emotionally resonant, meaningful work while under pressure to ship a product.

You constantly have to factor in whether pursuing a certain vision you have in your head aligns with the larger business objectives of your organization, or whether it can even be executed by an engineering team already swamped with millions of other (probably more important) tasks, and temper your ambitions accordingly. At the same time, these factors keep the job interesting and challenging!

Q. Favorite part of your job?

A. I love dreaming up new virtual places, and visual experiences that have never been seen before. It feels like magic every time, it’s what I live for every day and I couldn’t imagine a life doing anything else. I also really love working with my incredible art and engineering team, who continually inspire and challenge me to do better work every day.