Seth Minard, Designer at Cooper: Success Directly Correlates to How Well You Understand the Client

This interview is with Seth Minard, Designer at Cooper. A full-service design house based in San Francisco. 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. I was always interested in the intention, logic and effects of everything — whether or not it was made by people or nature. I didn’t know design was a practice and something that I could do for a living. I specifically remember being obsessed with reverse engineering the thought process of the humans behind the TV ads I watched.

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

A. I lucked out and was exposed to people, like Amy Cueva at Mad*Pow, who were at the forefront of user-centered design, as an internet marketing intern in college. The approach and purpose of user-centered design made sense to me, it was love at first sight. I knew this was the direction I wanted to go in.

Q. What did you study in college?

A. I was a Business Admin major with a focus in Marketing. I minored in art studio. Basically, I would show up to accounting class with paint all over myself and answer the teacher’s questions. I enjoyed challenging the status quo.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. My mother is a child and family therapist and my father is a musician. I grew up sensitive to the human experience, analytical, and expressive.

Q. Tell me about your first design job.

A. I was an experience designer at Mad*Pow learning everything by doing and patient mentorship. I had no ego and did what I thought was right for the client without hesitation.

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

A. When receiving feedback from a client, receive the feedback rather than react. The client isn’t an expert in the design process, you are, guide them. Don’t form attachments to “my” designs.

Q. Tell me about your approach to design today.

A. My approach varies, depending on a number of factors. But the basic principals to approach include:

  • Listen deeply to the client and their needs. Ask good question to make sure I understand what they are saying, and so they feel heard.
  • Challenge the client’s assumptions early and often during the design process.
  • Shape the process in such a way that we’ll be excited executing it.
  • Use sketches and white-boarding to visualize our thinking.
  • Always give time to explore compelling ideas and questions.
  • Use constraints to encourage creativity.

Q. How do you find clients today?

Designing at cooper, great clients with trust us with their most important projects.

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

A. Practice design early and often for real problems. Maybe, help you friends or family refine an existing product or service they use. Or pick something you’re interested in creating. Get people to use it, learn from them and iterate. It doesn’t have to a website or an app. It could be a game you play outside or a tool for the kitchen.

Q. Hardest part of being a designer?

A. Shaping design projects and tasks that will meet the needs of the client. In my experience, the success of the project directly correlates to how well you evolve your understanding of the client and their needs.

Q. Favorite part of being a designer?

A. Right now, it’s pair designing at Cooper. Design is a discussion with my design partner, facilitated by thinking out-loud and on whiteboards. It’s helping me get out of my head, not get attached to my ideas, be more fearless with what I create and share, and actively listen to others. I’m becoming a stronger designer and person, a correlation I’ve enjoyed throughout my career.

Julie Gauthier: Don’t get lost in the noise by being everywhere and nowhere at the same time

Julie Gauthier and three other thought leaders will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds, The New Wave: Unlock the Power of Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest Marketing, Wednesday, April 20, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco. Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event.

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

A. Hi, everyone! My name is Julie and I grew up in France. Three years ago, after I got my master’s degree in consulting and strategy, I moved to the US to run marketing for a procurement software startup. I put in place the inbound marketing strategy there and for our content marketing needs, we started working with Scoop.it. After a few months, the CEO of Scoop.it offered me a job there and I’ve been running their marketing for about a year now.

Q. With this new wave of social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest now at scale, how do you as a marketer or your customers, take advantage of them?

A. There are so many emerging platforms, it’s possible to get lost in the noise by being everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

If we keep in mind the overall business objectives of social media marketing, which can be brand awareness, traffic, engagement or even leads — then it becomes clear that the means to get there is not to be on every single platform, but to be where your audience can hear you out. Which is why it’s not recommended to be completely absent from a platform where your audience could be.

Our customers and our team usually pick one or two strategic platforms where their personas are the most active and build a specific strategy for that platform. In order to plan all of that and maintain a presence on the other platforms all at the same time, we leverage content marketing automation. Our technology helps us know what content to share when, and automate the repetitive tasks of social media scheduling.

Q. Can you give an example of a social media campaign that you did?

A. We always include social media as part of a broader content marketing campaign. Whether it’s an evergreen piece of content, an upcoming partner webinar or an eBook, we always have a distribution campaign with a social media component, but we also include email marketing, influencer outreach, employee advocacy and online monitoring. Doing a purely social media campaign without thinking about the other tactics and the overall impact you want to have is like cooking a desert. It might be delicious, but it’s not a well-balanced meal.

Q. All three platforms now offer paid marketing or advertising products. Do you have any insights into what’s working well for regarding paid social marketing?

A. We tried and failed on paid. Even if we had great content to deliver our audience, we were reaching very top of the funnel leads that were not ready to consume the type of content we had to offer. On the other side, we grew our audience by 250% on organic and search traffic in a year, so we then decided to put our money in creating even better content to help our personas grow and we will probably try and scale it with paid later this year.

Q. What advice do you have for marketers who are limited only to organic marketing on these platforms?

A. I have two pieces of advice to give to marketers like myself who are not investing in paid promotion on social:

The first one is to always focus on creating a meaningful experience for your audience and to add value or address their pain point or questions.

The second is to curate content. Discover content trending in your area and then develop a directory that links to it. You then provide your own analysis and ideas about the topic as part of the larger content piece. There are four benefits to this:

1. It allows you to always talk about the topics trending on your domain

2. It helps you publish content faster, saving you time to either publish more or distribute better

3. It adds 3rd party validation to your argument. You saying something is one thing, but you saying something and using a quote from an influencer to back up your argument is much stronger.

4. By curating content, you get to reach out to influencers in your domain saying “hey, I like what you said about this topic and I have things to say too”.

Q. With the social media landscape changing so fast, what are your thoughts on social channel strategy? Do marketers need to be on every platform? Should they pick one or two and double down where they have success? What’s your advice?

A. It depends on your business goals. If you’re aiming at brand awareness, having a presence on every social platform where your audience goes is very important. If you goals are to get traffic and leads, then better to focus on the one or two platforms where your audience is the most active and really try and add value with your content, not just by promoting your brand.

Not a Designer? Here’s Why You Should Attend the Design Gurus Summit

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the Design Gurus Summit, people are excited about it. But, we consistently get asked this one question, “The summit looks cool, but I am not a designer. What would I get out of this if I was to attend?”

In order to answer that question we created this simple four point guide:

If You’re a Senior Leader (Or Aspire to be One): Most product and marketing teams have designers on that team. Insight into what they do will be invaluable if you’re ever tasked with managing designers. You will also want to know more about design as it will improve your ability to influence the development of a great product and brand. It will help you deliver a superior user experience through all your marketing efforts.

If You’re a Founder: You will need great designers on your team. User experience design is no longer an afterthought, today it’s an essential element to high-tech product success. Even B2B products need to incorporate great user experience design. It’s not enough to just put a skin on the software your development team creates. A carefully developed user-centric interface and brand are essential to success today.

If You’re in a Different Functional Area: The more knowledge and experience that you can accumulate related to business, the more valuable you will be to both current and future employers. A good understanding of product design, branding and how to deliver a great user experience are important to most functions. All VP level executives must have at least a basic understanding of this area in order to be successful in the long term.

If You’re Just a Fan of Design: Maybe you don’t fit into any of these categories? Maybe you have some other reason for attending we can’t identify? Great, we’re happy that you’re coming along for the ride.

See You at The Summit,

Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds

www.weareuncharted.com

Anna Shaw, VP of Design at Knit Heath: Design is About Solving Problems and That’s Why It’s Not Art

This interview is with Anna Shaw, VP of Design at Knit Health and a former creative director at Smart Design. She 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. Off and on. I always had an aesthetic interest in my environment and what was around me. I remember playing “fashion designer” with my friends at a pretty young age and being really into finding just the right look and ideas. But I don’t think I ever considered it a career.

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

A. My mother studied design but then took a right hook in her career into other things. So I internalized that it’s not a field that is easy to get into. Then a slightly older relative began a career in design and I was really inspired by the projects he was producing. It demonstrated for me that it canbe a viable career path. So I think I finally just gave in to my desire to ‘make things’ and enrolled in some art classes. I was way behind my classmates who had taken art in high school and already had some type of portfolio for admission.

Q. What did you study in college?

A. I went to the University of Oregon and my major was Visual Design — which included photography, digital Media, animation and communication Design. I weighted my focus in Photography and Communication Design but also had valuable mentoring by the head of the digital media department — which (I’m aging myself here) was just emerging when I was in school.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. As I mentioned previously, my mother studied graphic design when I was in grade school and then followed a career in customer service and sales. My father was a mechanical engineer by background. As I evolve in my career, I like to think I have a blend of both their sensibilities.

Q. Tell me about your first design job.

A. When I was in school I began working (nearly) full time for a local design firm. It was one of two shops in my college town and had about eight to ten people in it. The firm did everything from award-winning campaigns for the local opera to support material for a chain of discount stores. Naturally, I did a lot of work for the latter — ranging from creating maps for all of their stores, to posters and coupons for myriad sponsored events.

It was my first introduction to design as a profession. A thing that you do from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave — not just something you think and doodle on until inspiration strikes. I learned from the designers around me how to create a personal toolbox of processes and tricks to help you work through a problem — even when you’re “not feelin’ it.

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

A. The POWER of design to guide human behavior in a big or small way.

Maybe this is top of mind because it’s an election year, but for me, a powerful example of how important design can be was the Florida voting failures of the 2000 election. For background, voters in Florida had a poorly designed and executed “butterfly ballot” that made it look like they were voting for one candidate but they were actually casting their ballot for another. Further, poor design of the equipment meant some ballots weren’t even counted because they couldn’t be read. And what ended up happening is that the vote counts in that state were so close that a recount was ordered and the resulting president was determined based on a razor thin margin in that one state. Bad design had a role in the outcome of the election. So all of a sudden design was thrust on the national stage. People began a discussion of its impact and consequences. From then on, my perspective widened and I understood my responsibility in this field.

Q. Tell me about your approach to design today.

A. Design is about solving problems and that’s what it’s not art. I start by making sure my team and I understand the objectives we’re trying to meet and the problems that we’re trying to solve. Then, we figure out what we don’t know and how we can learn enough to make important decisions. It’s also important to look for opportunities to step outside our normal way of thinking and expose ourselves to new ideas.

It’s equally important to recognize that design is a journey, not a straight line. Collaboration and communication are essential.

Q. How do you find clients today?

A. Currently, I don’t have to go hunting for clients. But throughout my career, my approach has been to do great work and establish good relationships with my clients. Design is just as much about partnership and collaboration as much as it is about doing great work. Additionally, I’ve started writing articles and talks about subjects I’m passionate about. And when I’ve done that, I find new people who want to work with me because of the things I’m interested in or the way I think.

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

A. Listen and learn from everyone around you. When I was a young designer I craved ownership and independence. And someone a little older than me once said, “Design is an apprenticeship. You learn the most from those around you.” That’s hard to take in when we elevate the rock stars and celebrate kids crushing it right out of school. But the chapters in my career when I let go of my ego and opened myself to learning have enabled the strongest long-term skills and knowledge.

Q. Hardest part of being a designer?

A. There’s rarely a singular “right” answer. There are so many ways to approach a problem and many possible solutions. So as a designer, or as a director, or even as a client how do you know what you’re doing is right? How do you know when it’s ready to ship? Sure, you have design research, analytics and surveys to inform us. But at the end of the day, after the opinions, ideas and measures, you just have intuition backed by your experience. And your ability to convince those around you to trust it.

Q. Favorite part of being a designer?

A. That design has the power to make things better. We’re always in a position of building and improving.

Q and A With Uncharted Minds Co-Founder, Gregory Kennedy: Don’t be afraid of hard work, embrace it

This interview is with Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of the Uncharted Minds Thought Leadership Series. He will be hosting, moderating and problem-solving at the Uncharted Minds: Design Gurus Summit on May 17th. Click here to get 20% off tickets to the event.

Q. What was the original vision for Uncharted Minds?

A. I had been sponsoring trade shows and events as a marketer for years. There was a two year period where I felt like I was spending almost half of all my waking hours at trade shows. I kept complaining about them. About how I didn’t like the food and I didn’t find the content interesting. Or that some event just wasn’t well put together.

So on a dare, someone challenged me to do better. One night over too many cocktails I came up with the concept for Uncharted Minds, and my co-founder, Kathie Green and I decided we would produce our own event series. We wanted to bring together lots of different ideas, concepts and people that we thought made San Francisco so interesting.

Our concept is simple. We focus on great content, great speakers and try to produce the best events possible. We get compared to TED frequently, which is really funny and a massive compliment. I don’t think we’re like TED at all. We’re not as good as they are. We just wanted to do what lots of others were doing at MeetUps and conferences.

When we started, I did make the case that quality content had to be the heart of Uncharted Minds. I will take the credit or blame for that. So in that regard, perhaps we are like TED. But, we never set out to do something so ambitious, like replicate TED. That’s crazy.

Q. You studied design but switched to marketing mid-career. Why the change?

A. Yes. Ironically, the person who created the Design Gurus Summit started out as a designer, but gave it up as a career.

I always loved design and still do. I attended an art high school and showed a lot of talent at a young age. By the time I was 22 I was designing websites and winning awards. I was even a guest of the French government and presenter of my design work in Lille, France when I was 23. What a crazy trip that was. But, believe it or not, something was always missing for me.

As I advanced in my career I became a creative director. Which meant I didn’t actually do much design anymore. I was managing a team, working on strategy, producing presentations, and doing a lot of writing. All of which I enjoyed and excelled at. So I switched. I went back to school and got a marketing degree. Lot’s of designers can’t understand it at all, but for me, it was the right move.

When a teacher asked what the difference was between a marketing director and a creative director, I said that as a creative director I was 85% marketer, 10% high school principal and 5% designer. Which meant I just had to give up the last 5% and it was pretty much the same job.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. My dad is in graphics, he is a typographic specialist. My mom is a therapist.

Q. What was your first job?

A. I used to spend my summers as a messenger for my father in New York City. Obviously, this was before the internet. Packages had to be delivered on time, all day long. I got to know New York City and the Subway intimately. I enjoyed being out all day long, walking around the city, taking the train, talking with people, just having a good time. I got to know everyone. People still recognize me everywhere I go in New York from growing up in Manhattan. The heat was brutal, though.

That experience made me value just how fantastic it is to work in an office, with snacks, coffee, and climate control. Call me crazy, but I think I am lucky to work in a comfortable office every day. Offices get such a rap, but there are definitely work environments that are a lot more challenging

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

A. Don’t be afraid of hard work, embrace it. Take on challenges that other people won’t or can’t do. Succeed at them and that will distinguish you from others.

I also think everyone needs to work on their personality and people skills. The technology is advancing so rapidly that your style, communication ability and approach to teamwork may be the only competitive advantage you have in the future.

My motto is — if I can’t out-think or out-manoeuvre rivals, I will just out-work them.

Q. How do you get speakers for events?

A. I get asked this a lot. It’s very simple. I just ask the most interesting people I know, or can find to be a part of what we’re doing. I also ask them as politely as I possibly can.

Q. Hardest part of producing an event?

A. The anxiety of not knowing if anyone will show up. No one wants to throw a party and have no one come.

Q. Favorite part of producing an event?

A. The energy and feedback that I get when it all comes together as planned.

Trevor Hubbard, Executive Creative Director at Butchershop: Sometimes when people don’t get it, it’s working

This interview is with Trevor Hubbard, Executive Creative Director and Partner at Butchershop. A full service integrated creative house based in San Francisco. 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. I don’t think I knew what design was when I was really young. I mean I did the normal a five-year-old does — like thinking I could build a Blue Angel Fighter Jet in my garage, things like that. When I was eight, I thought I could start a car detailing business called Speedy Detail with a three-tiered product offering of Super Wash, Super Duper Wash, and Super Duper Duper Wash. I hired other kids to do the work that were a few years younger and less concerned about their wages. I think the flyer/brochure for it was the first thing I ever designed and I still have it today. It was an amazing piece of communication.

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

A. I think about 20 years ago my high school art teacher pushed me to make things and that was great. It stuck with me, so when I gave up my basketball scholarship at the University of San Francisco to study documentary film in Boulder, Colorado, I was able to remember what I really wanted to do — ski, build things and tell stories. Not much has changed since then.

Q. What did you study in college?

A. I studied the art of how many corners one can cut to get the same great results. No, but seriously, film, film, film. I remember being at University of Colorado, Boulder and thinking “film” was life. Watching them, making them, talking about them. I took to making documentaries and found a mentor, Jerry Aronson, who pushed me a lot to find myself and not follow the trend of this art. Flash forward 15 years, I can see how it all adds up and has motivated me to march onward, knock down doors, stand up for ideas, push my team and clients to be better and think differently.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. My dad liked to play tennis and watch Warriors basketball. And my mom loves to read books on another level. But together they come over once a week to hang with their grandson Cash Henry.

Q. Tell me about your first design job.

A. My first design job was in 1997, lasted 3 hours and I was asked not to come back. It was the Pacific Sun Newspaper and I had to make an ad for a pet grooming company. I told them I knew Quark Express and I didn’t to get the job. I spent an hour trying to make dog paws from shapes and thought I was pretty awesome. It sucked, but was an awesome experience!

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

A. Here are all the lessons I have learned over the years boiled down into 13 bullet points:

  1. All design boils down to simple principles
  2. Question a question with a question — What kind of design?
  3. Design is everything and everywhere.
  4. Don’t be great. Be good.
  5. Imitation is the best way to learn.
  6. Stop trying to be perfect.
  7. Think of your user.
  8. Build good files.
  9. Realize that everyone has an opinion, and most of the time it will be critical.
  10. Don’t ask friends or family for advice on client work.
  11. Know your audience.
  12. Sometimes when people don’t get it, it’s working.
  13. Not everyone can design something.

Q. Tell me about your approach to design today.

A. My approach changes based on what I am designing. But I always push the mantra, “Simple is hard.”

Q. How do you find clients today?

A. Referrals and being a good person. That creates a culture of positivity, which attracts great clients from all over the world.

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

A. Understand business.

Q. Hardest part of being a designer?

A. People think we (designers) have an endless reservoir of ideas and solutions and what we do is magic. It is hard, bloody, painful work that is absolutely joyous.

Q. Favorite part of being a designer?

A. Listening to people. Finding the angle to solve a problem or expose opportunity. Making people feel something. Getting people to move.

Designer Shaun Modi: Empathy for Other Humans is the Lifeblood of Design

This interview is with Shaun Modi, the co-founder of the design studio TM. He was an early employee at Airbnb and now calls Product Hunt, AltSchool, Radpad, Boosted Boards and many other startups his clients. He will be giving a keynote presentation 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. For the most part, it’s all I ever wanted to do. There was a short period of time when I wanted to be a meteorologist to study the atmosphere. Design was a huge part of my upbringing. There are four people in my immediate family and we are all designers.

Q: What did you study in college?

A: I studied industrial design at RISD [Rhode Island School of Design].

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

A: My family exposed me to creative thinking and design at an early age. My parents ran a graphic design firm in New York for 15 years, and they taught me about design integrity, idea generation and creative execution. My Grandfather was the Executive Officer of the United States President’s Science Advisory Committee. For 20 years he was involved with science and technology policy development in the White House and Executive Office for the President. To this day, he inspires me to make a positive impact on society through design and technology. Another influence was my professor at RISD / MIT, Matt Kressy. He selected me to lead an international project for Nokia exploring product applications for multitouch when the technology was in it’s infancy. Throughout the year-long project, he taught me the principles of product development, interdisciplinary collaboration, the general “ins and outs” of design as a business, and product storytelling.

Q: What did your parents do?

A: They were both graphic designers.

Q: Tell me about your first design job.

A: My first official design job was working for NASA, designing the interior environments of the lunar ascent module and lunar base. This was part of the Constellation program, a mission for the United States to return the moon by 2020. The hard constraints of microgravity environments, human factors, materials, cost, and life support systems taught me a tremendous amount about interdisciplinary teamwork and technical design.

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

A: My professors at RISD were incredible. It was at school where I developed my understanding of an insights driven design methodology, and craft. I was able to work on projects like telepresence video communication, prefab architecture, and furniture. While all of my projects were different, I approached them with the same creative process and attention to detail in execution. Whatever ideas I came up with, I had to make with my hands. Making with your hands is crucial for young designers. Another lesson I learned is the value of independence. Being an independent designer is hard yet rewarding because you are able to choose to take on projects you’re passionate about. Learning how to be independent is something I work on every single day.

Q: Tell me about your approach to design today.

A: My approach to design starts with finding problems my team and I want to solve. What industries can design in conjunction with technology improve? What populations are being underserved? My mission is to improve the human condition through design, while creating measurable business value for my clients. Once I take on a project, my process is insights driven and highly collaborative. I work closely with my clients and my team. TM is a tight-knit design team that embeds itself with our clients, becoming part of their company culture. We work directly with founders and our clients leadership teams to address strategically important business opportunities. Then, we do the hardcore design work. We get our hands dirty. We execute, measure impact, both qualitative and quantitative, synthesize, learn, and the process repeats itself. The most precious resource a startup has is time, and my goal is to provide the most value for my client’s nascent businesses in the shortest time possible.

Q: How do you find clients today?

A: Word of mouth, friends, investors.

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

A: Start with empathy. Empathy for other humans is the lifeblood of design. It allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When you’ve identified a type of design that makes you happy like industrial design, graphic design or architecture, focus on developing a technical a skill set that is defensible, focus on a discipline that is in demand. The world needs great interaction designers, visual designers, and cad modelers. Being a generalist is useful in the long run, but it’s important to have tangible skills that are marketable. You should provide immediate value for your company from the start and hit the ground running.

Q: Hardest part of being a designer?

A: Not enough hours in the day.

Q: Favorite part of being a designer?

A: Mentoring my team and seeing people use your creations. Nothing is as rewarding as working with your best friends to develop something great, then see your invention make an impact on someone’s life.

How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Attend The Design Gurus Summit

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The First Annual Design Gurus Summit features Lyft, Airbnb, Strava, Microsoft, Pandora and More… Tuesday, May 17, from 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM (PDT) San Francisco, CA. Click here for more info.

1. Be Enthusiastic: Simple, I know. But if you’re not excited about it, they won’t be excited about it. If you’re confident and have energy, your boss will be much more likely to agree to letting you go to the summit.

2. Email Them The Link First: Do not write a long email explaining why you want to go. Your boss does not have time to read it. Email them just the link in advance with a short note, so they can see all the great speakers. Be sure to use a descriptive subject line: Design Summit w/ Lyft, Airbnb, Strava, Microsoft, Pandora - Cheap Tickets Still Available. Your boss gets a ton of email, so don’t expect a response, but they will see the subject line. This way it won’t be a total surprise when you bring it up later.

3. Prepare: You need to prepare. You will need one or two reasons why it’s a good idea for you to go to the event. Remember, your boss wants you to be the best you. They just need to be convinced that you’re not wasting the company’s time. Here are a few good reasons to get you started:

  • Learn from the most creative people in Silicon Valley. Hear about their approach and that will save your company time and money in the future.
  • Meet and learn from industry peers. A lot of smart and talented people will be in the audience. You can also chat and learn from them.
  • Stay current with recent trends in design. Hear about the latest techniques top companies use to approach branding, product design and more.
  • It’s a cost-effective approach. TechCunch Disrupt charges a lot more and the speakers aren’t as a relevant. This is the only event of its kind.

4. Find The Right Time: Find them in the hall and ask them casually if you can attend. Do it early in the day, when your boss isn’t too tired and worn out. Also, mention the email you sent two days ago. Here is an example, “I just wanted to follow up on my email about the design summit. It’s only a half day event and I really wanted to see Frank Yoo, from Lyft speak.”

5. Buy Super Early Bird Tickets: There are still a few left. You can use this link to get an additional 20% off the list price. That’s only $68.00 per ticket and you’ll save the company lots of money.

Rachael Cihlar of TapInfluence: Marketers, act like real people instead of a brand

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Rachael Cihlar and 3 other thought leaders will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds, The New Wave: Unlock the Power of Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest Marketing, Wednesday, April 20, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco. Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event.

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

A. I’m Rachael Cihlar, and I’m the Senior Influencer Marketing Strategist at TapInfluence, the leading influencer marketing automation SaaS platform. At Tap, I lead a team of content and strategy specialists, and together we optimize our customers’ influencer marketing programs. Prior to Tap, I was a social media manager for technology startups in Boulder. I basically started my career when most of the social networks were evolving, and introducing advertising platforms, so it’s been exciting to be part of the evolution.

Q. With this new wave of social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest now at scale, how do you as a marketer or your customers, take advantage of them?

Our customers are leveraging these platforms both through influencers and their own efforts. They are all obviously all visual platforms, but they each require different strategies. They should make them an extension of the brand’s persona - not just a place for messaging and promotions, but a true representation of the spirit of the brand.

With Instagram, the user base is very active, and as of September 2015, the network has seen 400 million monthly active users (source). It’s also global with 75% of users living outside the U.S. Our customers are using Instagram to capture new consumers through hashtags and geotagging. Influencer marketing has blown up on Instagram, especially with the millennial user base, and marketers can take advantage of this by repurposing user-generated content.

For Snapchat, which also has a huge millennial base, marketers should be focusing on real time events and being genuine. Snapchat has a very authentic, unapologetic air, so it’s okay for your Snaps to be candid and spur-of-the-moment. Of course, practice caution! We love how brands can be a little silly on Snapchat, and merge the offline events and day-to-day with their online practices.

On Pinterest, you have the opportunity to be inspirational. Our marketers aren’t just pinning their own content, but engaging with their user base and building a hub where consumers can see what the brand also aspires too. It’s a great place to show consumers you’re listening to them, by re-pinning their content.

Q. Can you give an example?

A. We work with an international drugstore beauty brand who recently extended their influencer efforts into their social media plan and vice versa. They decided to feature influencers in their social ads, and as they go live, the influencers are posting their own tutorial content featuring the brand. It’s a very cohesive blend of UGC and a brand’s own vision for content.

Q. All three platforms now offer paid marketing or advertising products. Do you have any insights into what's working well for regarding paid social marketing?

A. It’s a huge development that these channels now have their own advertising products, however they are still mostly out of reach for small brands or marketers with minimal budget. This is why influencer marketing is so beneficial at all budget levels. It might take more upfront work, but influencer marketing allows a brand or agency of any size to start small and work their way into larger budgets. If you just write off a channel because you can’t afford it, you’re missing out on an opportunity for grassroots marketing. We’ve seen brands and agencies start with a few thousand dollars and grow that to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, which allows them to experiment with advertising platforms as they so choose.

If you do have the budget for paid advertising on these channels, consider using UGC backed by advertising dollars. It allows the brand to still have authentic content that resonates with the audience and maximize their returns on those channels.

Q. What advice do you have for marketers who are limited only to organic marketing on these platforms?

A. I recommend learning as much as possible about what works on each platform, and keep it a two-way conversation. All of your content should be providing value to your audience. Start engaging with your consumers now. Comment on their content, and keep the dialogue going. In other words—act like a real person instead of a brand.

For Pinterest, it’s about pinning your own content as well as inspirational content. Your page shouldn’t look like an extension of your website. For Snapchat, keep it real! Snapchat is all about relatable content that isn’t perfectly planned or posed. And for Instagram - comment on your followers’ content and follow new and inspirational people or brands.

Q. With the social media landscape changing so fast, what are your thoughts on social channel strategy? Do marketers need to be on every platform? Should they pick one or two and double down where they have success? What's your advice?

A. Social media is ever-changing, so my advice is to stay informed and know your goals. First you must know who your audience is, what they are interested in, and where they hang out. You have to be able to meet them at the right place, at the right time, with the right message and content. If Snapchat doesn’t work for your business right now because your target audience isn’t part of the Snapchat user base, it’s growing fast and that could rapidly change.

Understand the capabilities of each channel. For instance, we know that organic marketing on Snapchat and Instagram doesn’t allow you to link posts to off-platform content. So, if your goal is to drive more traffic to your ecommerce site, you’re probably not going to achieve that through those channels. In that case, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest are better options.

And lastly, you don’t have to be the expert at everything social. Rely on influencers to know which content will resonate with your target audience, and trust them. They have followers for a reason, and over time they can become an extension of your brand online.

Meet The World Cup Soccer Player Who Only Ever Wanted to Design Things

Tim Brown just wanted to be a designer. Born in New Zealand, he initially attended design school in the U.S. on a soccer scholarship. But, through a combination of luck and talent, he ended up as a professional soccer player for nearly a decade. He even played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for the New Zealand national team.

However, he never forgot about his true passion, design.

Allbirds, the shoe company he co-founded with engineer and a renewable materials expert Joey Zwillinger, was initially just a fun side project. Tim says,”I initially started making black and white basic sneakers in response to a gap in the market for simple, unbranded footwear. After several years of experimentation and testing we now have a proprietary NZ merino fabric produced for us by one of the world's great Italian textile mills”.

Which is the basis of their first product – The Wool Runners – launched on March 1st, 2016.

Tim started by creating prototype after prototype and even sold an early version himself as a Kickstarter project. But, when he finally developed the prototype for the Wool Runner, he knew he had what he needed to take this all to next level. With that prototype in hand, he and his partner decided to use it to raise VC funding.

Tim found the fundraising process both scary and exciting. The countless hours spent developing prototypes paid off. Investors were impressed with not just what they heard, but what they could touch. Tim and Joey successfully raised $2.7 million in funding. The round was led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Tim is passionate about design, “it’s at the centre of everything we do and I am fortunate to be able to both build a brand and develop products with a cast of incredibly talented designers.”  

He advises other creative people, “Think about design more broadly than just type or form or aesthetic. In my mind design is really a way of thinking, a process for problem-solving, and an embedded curiosity and creativity that is more powerful when anchored in more traditional schools of thought.”

Meet Tim Brown and 15 other thought leaders at the First Annual Design Gurus Summit, Tuesday, May 17, from 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM (PDT) San Francisco. Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 20% off tickets to the event.

Everything About The First Annual Design Gurus Summit 2016

Featuring Silicon Valley's top designers who will share their insights on topics including:

  • Product and users experience design
  • Branding in the 21st century
  • Design for virtual and augmented reality
  • Inspiration and maintaining the creative spirit

Our First Annual Design Gurus Summit will be a half day event of both keynotes and panels from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm. The audience will be limited to 150 participants, which will create a warm and intimate atmosphere. Like all our events, this will help facilitate audience participation, with opportunities to engage speakers in a dialogue and ask great questions.

Student and group discounts available. Email inquiries at: weareuncharted@gmail.com

Early bird tickets on sale now. Click here for 20% off tickets.

Event Agenda:

12:00 PM Networking and Arrival

12:20 PM Kickoff by Gregory Kennedy, Co-founder of Uncharted Minds

12:30 PM Keynote by Frank Yoo, Head of Design, Lyft

12:45 PM Keynote by Shaun Modi, Partner at TM, Ex-Nasa, Google, Airbnb

1:00 PM Keynote by Janice Fraser, Director of People at Pivotal Labs

1:15 PM Questions and Answer Session with Janice, Frank and Shaun

1:30 PM Break

1:40 PM Panel: Design Innovation Through Virtual and Augmented Reality

A new generation of products are on the horizon, many of them unveiled this year at tradeshows like E3, CES and Mobile World Congress. Beyond entertainment, what do these products mean for design? Our panel of experts discuss the implications of augmented and virtual reality are for designers.

Susan Etlinger, Industry Analyst , Altimeter Research (Moderator)

Joe Duggan, Design Engineer, Microsoft Hololens

Jayson Tang, Creative Director, The Otherside

Tony Scherba, Founder and President, Yeti

Saad Alayyoubi, Lead 3D Designer, Jaunt VR

2:40 PM Panel: Branding for The 21st Century

Most agree that branding has evolved significantly from the Mad Men era, but few agree on what it means in the 21st century. Our panel of experts discuss how branding has been impacted user experience design, community, mobile technology and the rise of social networking, and what top companies do to make brand a competitive advantage.

Rob Goodman, Foundation Capital & OpenVerse (Moderator)

Tim Brown, Co-founder, AllBirds

Keenan Cummings, Design Manager, Airbnb

Joshua Taylor, Design Director, Walnut and White

Trevor Hubbard, Partner and Executive Creative Director, Butchershop

Emma Sherwood-Forbes, Product Designer, Educator at General Assembly

3:40 PM Panel: Creatives on Creative Inspiration in Design

Creatives on Creative Inspiration: On this panel listen to experts discuss an elusive but important aspect of all creative development, inspiration. Our experts will debate and discuss where creative inspiration comes from and what can be done to institutionalize it. Also, learn what they do themselves to stay engaged, inspired and creative.

Gregory Kennedy, Co-founder, Uncharted Minds (Moderator)

Stephanie Whitney, Sr. Visual Designer, Hotwire

Missy Titus, Design, Bindle Chat Inc.

Seth Minard, Interaction Designer, Cooper

Anna Shaw, VP of Design, Knit Health

Joyce Lau, Pandora, Designer, Pandora

4:40 PM Refreshments

5:30 PM End

 

Speakers

Frank Yoo - Head of UX & Product Design at Lyft

Frank is the Head of Product Design at Lyft where he's focused on building experiences that connect people through transportation and community. His background is rooted in UX and product management, with prior roles leading design at LinkedIn and Yahoo!. He's a dad, a husband, and principle frisbee chucker for the family Boston Terrier, Arial.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Janice Fraser - Director of People at Pivotal

Janice Fraser is one of America's leading experts on Lean Startup, having advised many successful companies including Lyft and Sharethrough. She is an ongoing trainer for White House administration on innovation techniques. As Director of People at Pivotal, Janice serves as an internal consultant, working with company leaders apply agile and Lean Startups approaches to solve key business problems. Janice has coached, taught, and interviewed thousands of startup founders around the world. Previously, she was founder and CEO of Luxr, among the first Lean Startup firms, as well as Adaptive Path, the first User Experience firm.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Shaun Modi - Partner at TM

Shaun Modi is an award-winning designer at the intersection of technology and design. With a degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design, Modi has set the creative vision for large scale products at Airbnb, Google, NASA, Motorola, Nokia and his own venture-backed startup, DailyModi. He is known for his highly collaborative approach and ability to work closely with teams to reimagine the future of a business and society.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Tony Scherba - founder and President of Yeti

Tony Scherba is the founder and President of Yeti, a San Francisco product design and development studio. Yeti works with industry leaders such as Google, Qualcomm, MIT, Playstation and Westfield Labs to help create meaningful and impactful products on platforms ranging from mobile apps to IoT and VR. Tony is a contributing author to TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, Forbes and Re/Code and was recently featured in the Netflix documentary Chelsea Does Silicon Valley where Yeti built an app with comedian Chelsea Handler.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Joshua Taylor - Freelance Design Director

Joshua Taylor is a contract design director working with exciting startups. He was previously a design director at Evernote where he spent 4 years. Since then he’s helped design and launch multiple startups—designing everything from their core product to their brand— and also worked with companies like Airbnb, Credit Karma, and Classpass. He’s always looking for what’s next.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Jason Mamaril - UI Designer at Airbnb

LinkedIn Profile

 

Stephanie Whitney - Senior Visual Designer at Hotwire

Stephanie Whitney is a Senior Visual Designer at Hotwire where she works on a variety brand, UI and marketing related projects. She was previously a Digital Design Strategist at Torme Lauricella a Marketing and Public Relations firm. She also held a design position at CR&A Custom Design Studio where she worked on a wide variety of print related projects. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Graphic Design from the University of San Francisco.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Saad Alayyoubi - Lean 3D Designer at Jaunt VR

Saad is the Lead 3D Designer at Jaunt VR. As an architect & CG generalist, he creates immersive virtual reality environments and experiences that seek to inspire a sense of awe and wonder. At Jaunt, he has designed experiences for the NFL, ABC News and various other brands. Prior to Jaunt, Saad has worked as a freelance Art Director specializing in CG environments and motion graphics for clients such as Nike, Sony and Oracle. He started his career as an architectural designer at KPF, designing commercial office towers in Hong Kong, China and South Korea, and has a masters degree in architecture from Columbia University as well as an MBA from New York University.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Anna Shaw - VP of Design Knit Health

Anna Shaw is the VP of design a Knit Health an innovative technology company that uses human-centered design to guide parents through early childhood health and development. She previously was a creative director at Smart Design and worked on projects for clients including AmEx, GE, Snapfish, LG, Microsoft and Logitech. She also successfully operated her own design business for five years and customers included Applied Biosystems, Polaroid, Williams-Sonoma, Nokia and Opower.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Missy Titus - Design at Bindle Chat Inc.

Missy Titus is currently the head of design for Bindle Chat. She has held design roles at The Hunt, which was acquired by Pinterest and StackMob which was acquired by PayPal. She started her career working for MTV Networks as a User Interface designer. She is also a prolific writer and contributor to the Huffington Post and maintains her own blog ww.curateyourwork.com

LinkedIn Profile

 

Jayson Tang - Creative Director at The-Otherside

Jayson has a passion for creating environments and visual content that engages and inspire. Having spent his early career at the seminal creative agency The Attik, Jayson started his own design studio, The-Otherside and has worked independently for the past 10 years with brands like Motorola, Scion, Nissan, Ford, Ubisoft, EA Sports, Disney, Cisco System, HP, Intel, Applied Materials, Sony, Doritos, Google, Apple, Motorola, AT&T.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Joseph Duggan - Mechanical Design Engineer at Microsoft

Joseph Duggan has spent the past five years working on augmented reality glasses projects that push the limits of realizing real-life holograms. He is currently a design engineer at Microsoft and previously worked at the Osterhout Group to help create a lab-on-a-chip system that improves human health by way of early detection of diseases and pathogens.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Trevor Hubbard - Executive Creative Director and Partner at Butchershop

Trevor founded Butchershop to build something that creates value and is a great place to work and be creative. He ensures the company’s sense of swagger doesn’t waver. His favorite thing to do is to share in the delight his two-year-old son, Cash, experiences as he grows up.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Emma Sherwood-Forbes - Product Designer and Educator

Emma Sherwood-Forbes is a designer and educator based in San Francisco, California. She's been designing meaningful experiences for startups, agencies, and schools for the past ten years. From functionality to brand, she believes truly great digital experiences must connect with people in a personally meaningful way. Emma has spent her career learning to find ways to discover the personal, then translate it to design. She's also passionate about sharing knowledge inside and outside the workplace; she has taught and spoken at numerous institutions. She's shaped her brain through consulting and at Cooper, Momentum Design Lab, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Wesleyan University.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Seth Minard - Interaction Designer at Cooper

Seth is an Interaction Designer at Cooper. Here, he creates products and services that have a huge impact by closely collaborating with organizations. Before Cooper, Seth worked as a Senior Experience Designer at Mad*Pow and Product Designer at Indiegogo. At Indiegogo, he worked closely with executives, marketing, and engineering teams in an agile environment to lead the product design of InDemand, which went on to raise millions for customers. During his time at Mad*Pow, he redesigned ESPNCMS.com, creating an interactive lead generation tool, which integrated top brands into ESPN’s 65 multimedia properties.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Joyce Lau - Designer at Pandora

Joyce Lau is a designer at Pandora where she provides front-end and visual support for Pandora's online brand experience. Prior to Pandora, she was with a small marketing agency called Blitz. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Studio Arts.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Tim Brown - Co-founder of Allbirds Shoes

Tim Brown is the co-founder of Allbirds a San Francisco based direct-to-consumer footwear startup with ambitions to create better shoes in a better way. Allbirds recently launched their first product – superfine NZ Merino shoes called the Wool Runners – that TIME Magazine called the most comfortable shoes in the world. The company has raised $2.7 million in a funding round led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Tim is a graduate of the London School of Economics with a degree in International Management. A former professional soccer player he was a member of the New Zealand national football (All Whites) team that went undefeated at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Moderators

Susan Etlinger - Analyst, Altimeter Group

Susan Etlinger is an industry analyst with Altimeter Group, a Prophet company, where she focuses on data strategy, analytics, and privacy. Susan is recognized as one of the most influential voices in the Big Data industry. Her TED talk on big data has been viewed more than one million times. She is regularly interviewed by the press and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, the BBC and Fast Company. She is a published translator and holds a B.A in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.

LinkedIn Profile

 

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

Rob Goodman is a content marketer working with Foundation Capital, a 20-year old venture firm in Silicon Valley. Rob Goodman’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. Rob is also the founder of OpenVerse, a marketing and storytelling firm.

LinkedIn Profile

 

Gregory Kennedy - Co-Founder, 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

 

Location:

General Assembly, 225 Bush Street 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

 

Venue Sponsor:

General Assembly transforms thinkers into creators through education and opportunities in technology, business, and design.

The New Wave: Unlock the Power of Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest Marketing

April 20, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, CA

On this panel, hear industry experts offer advice on how to take advantage of emerging social media platforms Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest. They will offer tips, and tricks for marketers on how they can maximize both organic and paid marketing strategies, grow a users base and reach new high-value customers.

Click here for 50% off tickets >

Student and group discounts available. Email inquiries at:weareuncharted@gmail.com

Prachi Mishra — Product Marketing Manager, AdRoll

Prachi Mishra is a product marketing manager at AdRoll, the performance marketing platform. Where she is responsible for defining strategic initiatives around new inventory sources, including Instagram. She has held marketing roles at the advertising technology startup Triggit and started her career in marketing with General Mills. She holds a degree in Marketing from the University of Minnesota — Carlson School of Management.

LinkedIn Profile

Julie Gauthier — Inbound & Content Marketing Director, Scoop.it

Julie Gauthier is the inbound and content marketing director for Scoop.it a social media marketing platform that allows people to publish content on a wide variety of social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Prior to Scoop.it she a marketing manager at iValua a SaaS procurement solution. She holds a masters degree in consulting and strategy from Adencia School of Management

LinkedIn Profile

Tina Crawford — Content & Digital Marketing, Clif Bar & Company

Tina Crawford is the content and digital marketing manager at Cliff Bar, a well-known sports nutrition company. A sports and lifestyle brand marketing professional with extensive strategic digital, social and grassroots marketing experience. She brings the companies brand stories to life in authentic and meaningful ways on and offline. An outdoor sports enthusiast Tina enjoys long distance cycling and running in her free time.

LinkedIn Profile

Rachael Cihlar — Senior Influencer Marketing Strategist, TapInfluence

As Influencer Marketing Strategist, Rachael strategizes, designs, implements, and optimizes influencer marketing campaigns and programs for brands and agencies. When she’s not working with senior executives at leading digital and PR agencies, or with social-media teams inside top brands, Rachael is actively monitoring trends and data in consumer buying behavior.

LinkedIn Profile

Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy — Co-Founder, 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.

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

Location:

General Assembly, 225 Bush Street 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

Click here for 50% off tickets >

How APIs, Analytics, and Algorithms are Transforming Finance: Q and A with Former Rocket Scientist and Emotomy CEO Dr. Patrick Beaudan

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Patrick Beaudan and three other fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: How APIs, Analytics, and Algorithms are Transforming Finance, Wednesday, February 24, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event

Fin tech is an elusive term, how would you define the space?

Fin tech is all about digital software that makes finance easier, smarter, cheaper and safer. Take Emotomy for instance – it allows investment advisors to upgrade from abacus and spreadsheets to online interface that makes advisors smarter and more scientific in analyses, with more time to dedicate to client management and education

There is a lot of talk around big data and analytics but is it just hype? Is the access to data, through APIs really changing how finance works?

Anyone who thinks that big data and analytics is hype is obsolete. Just look at how Facebook and Google know all about which sites you visited seconds ago. Access to data on who did what when for how long and how much, will change how financial institutions view individual credit, company financials, capital markets information, and many other things. Emotomy has APIs connecting to online brokerage firms and TAMPs to automatically trade thousands of investor accounts through 4 computers. The efficiency is amazing.

What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you le ast excited about?

Any area in fin tech that helps level the playing field is exciting, and can bring tremendous opportunity to groups that would otherwise not get access to information. Fin tech is helping democratize access to information, and it can have incredible far reaching implications. Emotomy feels good about bringing institutional-quality investment, risk, and compliance tools to professional advisors so that they, in turn, can provide high-level investment advice to their investors.

What's the biggest challenge entrepreneurs and small businesses will face in 2016? What advice do you have for them to navigate it?

The biggest change in 2016 will be access to capital. The past 5 years has marked an era of cheap, available capital. Interest rates are near zero, and the market has grown year over year with double digit growth. Therefore, the opportunity to exit a private investment via acquisition or IPO was relatively easy. This is changing in 2016 as markets are correcting, and more realistic valuations will kick in. The model of raising quick VC money, hyping up the brand with ads, and quickly flipping, is no longer going to work.

Is the change that the finance industry is experience transformative? Are fin tech startups disrupting incumbents?

Yes. Just think of how easy it is today to pay a bill using fin tech apps. Traditional financial institutions will quickly have to adapt or lose big portions of their businesses. Emotomy is providing turnkey B2B robo-advisory platforms to independent investment advisory firms so that they can compete with mega institutions with a fraction of their expenses.

What advice do you have for prospective employees who want to join a company like yours?

Experience working and knowing the market you want to disrupt is key to knowing what issues need to be solved through disruption. Relationships built in these markets can be converted to customers and investors

How APIs, Analytics, and Algorithms are Transforming Finance: Q and A with Sean Anderson, Chief Product Officer & Founder, Bento for Business

Sean Anderson and three other fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: How APIs, Analytics, and Algorithms are Transforming Finance, Wednesday, February 24, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event

1. Fin tech is an elusive term, how would you define the space?

Fin tech for me is any business that's trying to apply new technology to address inefficiencies and gaps in our current financial system--whether that's banking, personal finance, investing, insurance, etc. It's a pretty broad umbrella term, and I think it can apply to both efforts by small startups and even certain activities within established businesses. At Bento for Business, we're creating easier, more convenient solutions for small businesses--this isn't a single type of technology application--but a comprehensive approach to rethinking how small businesses leverage technology to save time and money.

2. There is a lot of talk around big data and analytics but is it just hype? Is the access to data, through APIs really changing how finance works?

Lots of people are trying to use analytics to create new data models that make systems "smarter". The idea is that a small improvement in, say risk modeling for loans, makes lenders more efficient and allows them to make more money at scale. A five basis point improvement in fraud losses on a loan portfolio is significant, but it's hard to judge if your new analytical model is delivering that improvement over the status quo when you've only lent $500,000.  

As far as APIs--they make payments infrastructure accessible to startups and other players who need them.  Previously, some of these things required a banking charter and a cadre of lawyers and compliance folks. It's truly remarkable to see how this has changed the landscape for fintech startups to date, and I believe we're still early--there's a lot more that can be done.

3. What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you least excited about?

Naturally, I'm most excited about small businesses--your consumer bank account looks and feels different than it did in 2006, but small business banking and financial services have a lot of room for innovation and improvement. That's why we started Bento for Business.

On the flipside, I worked on my first near field communication (NFC) payments solution in 2002, so I'm a bit jaded about the transformative power of NFC. It will make a difference, but it's hard to be too enthusiastic about it.

4. What's the biggest challenge entrepreneurs and small businesses will face in 2016? What advice do you have for them to navigate it?

I think there's a lot of uncertainty around larger macroeconomic trends and elections that will color attitudes of investors and customers in 2016. When such things happen, it's a good time to make sure that you're a company is focused on the core value that you offer, especially when that's new and unique. You can't afford to be distracted.

5. Is the change that the finance industry is experience transformative? Are fin tech startups disrupting incumbents?

I think fin tech disruption is often overstated in the short-term but underestimated in the long term, once the hype settles. Incumbents are being forced to change their business in response to startups, although that means a fair amount of the disruption will be acquired, copied and co-opted. Startups need to be focused on specific goals, so I don't necessarily see 10 startups displacing the top 10 banks--most startups aren't trying to build the end-to-end banking stack, and will need to partner with incumbents to get things done.

6. What advice do you have for prospective employees who want to join a company like yours?

Fin tech startups have the same challenges and opportunities as any startup, as well as some unique domain-specific challenges such as compliance and regulatory issues. It's tremendously complex, and not all of it makes technical sense. If it seems like a complex puzzle that you're interested in solving, you'll do fine.

How APIs, Analytics, and Algorithms are Transforming Finance With LendingClub, Yodlee, Emotomy and Bento

Fin Tech Perspectives: How APIs, Analytics, and Algorithms are Transforming Finance

Click here for 50% off tickets to this event >

The world of finance is rapidly evolving. Today, there are new ways to pay, lend, invest, and conduct almost every type of financial transaction. And the pace of innovation is not slowing down, in fact, it's picking up. Join our panel of experts as they discuss how the world of finance is transforming and what it means for developers who want to build new applications to take advantage of it.

Student and group discounts available. Email inquiries at: weareuncharted@gmail.com

Speakers:

Louis Caditz-Peck - Small Business Lending and Public Policy Manager at LendingClub

Louis Caditz-Peck helped launch Lending Club’s small business lending program, and works on small business underwriting and credit risk systems, strategic partnerships, and public policy initiatives. Prior to joining Lending Club, Louis was a commercial lender at Self-Help, a leading nonprofit community development financial institution. Louis has also worked with Kiva Zip, a nonprofit peer-to-peer small business lending platform, and in municipal economic development. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and attended the MBA program at UC Berkeley.

Jeanine Swatton - Director of Developer Evangelism at Yodlee Interactive

Jeanine has more than 15 years of engineering experience in the government and surveillance space as well as in the startup sector. For the last five years, her main focus has been on mobile app development, which includes helping companies define a mobile strategy as well as developing native iOS apps. Jeanine has taught iOS development and Ruby on Rails at a number of universities. She is also a technical mentor/advisor for TechStars Barclay's Accelerator and for Technovation. Jeanine is a regular speaker on Fintech, entrepreneurship and app development at conferences and events nationwide. Jeanine holds a master's degree in computer science from Boston University and a graduate certificate in cybersecurity.

Sean Anderson - Chief Product Officer and Cofounder of Bento

Sean Anderson is the Chief Product Officer & Cofounder at Bento for Business. Sean has spent his career solving complex problems with manageable, intuitive solutions. As a product and project manager, he has worked with companies large and small to build complex eco-systems in payments, financial technology, transit, and healthcare. As Senior Director of Emerging Products at Blackhawk Network, he built and launched their open API platform to connect digital and mobile wallets, e-commerce players, and financial institutions to the retailer gift card ecosystem. He also launched an offers platform and developed a prepaid processing platform that generated over 7MM cards in the first 6 months. At Bento for Business, Sean has created a platform to deliver easy, intuitive products that save small business owners time and money.

Dr. Patrick Beaudan is the CEO of Belvedere Advisors

Dr. Patrick Beaudan is the CEO of Belvedere Advisors, and is the architect of Emotomy – an online robo advisor builder – built with attention to the CIO’s perspective on efficient portfolio construction, back-testing and re-balancing, compliance, client marketing, onboarding and reporting. Previously, Dr. Beaudan was a Vice President at Lehman Brothers in charge of the firm's European strategy, product development and corporate mergers and acquisitions. He joined Lehman Brothers from McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm where he worked primarily with financial institutions and healthcare companies in North America. Dr. Beaudan holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and an M.S and B.Sc. Summa Cum Laude in aeronautical engineering from the State University of New York.

Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy - Co-Founder, 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.

Click here for 50% off tickets to this event >

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

Location:

General Assembly, 225 Bush Street 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

2015 Uncharted Minds Year in Review

It's nice to look back at 2015 and see just how far we have come. Uncharted Minds started out as a bad idea, dreamed up over too many Tycoons at Local Edition (thank you Arjun). But in one short year of operation it grew into one of San Francisco's premiere thought leadership events.

In 2015, we featured the best speakers in Silicon Valley, from some truly amazing companies and had a great time putting on these events. I want to thank all the speakers, the volunteers and, of course, my co-founder Kathie Green.

Our 2016 event plan is already shaping up to bigger and more exciting than 2015. I hope to see you all at our events next year.

Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder, Uncharted Minds

How Innovation is Eating Wall Street: Q and A With Andrei Cherny the CEO and Co-Founder of Aspiration

In this Q and A, we speak with Andrei Cherny, CEO and Co-Founder of Aspiration, an investment firm created for the middle class, committed to giving, and built on trust. Andrei Cherny and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.

Is all the excitement in fin tech just an investment trend? Or is it driven by fundamental changes in the industry?

Finance represents a third of all business profits in America. It is at once the largest industry, most "undisrupted" industry, and the industry with the least customer satisfaction. Large scale change and modernization is inevitable.

Regulation is a significant hurdle for fin tech companies to overcome, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to navigate it?

There's an old joke about a man walking along the riverbank and yelling down to a fish, "How's the water?" The fish replies, "What is water?" In finance, regulation is a fact of life and all around us. You don't navigate, you live in it. So that means embrace regulation, but also know that bureaucracies--for reasons both good and bad--do not move at the speed of, or think in the same terms as, the world of technology.

What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you least excited about?

The biggest single challenge confronting consumers in the financial world is not cost (where most innovation has happened), but trust. There is deep mistrust and distrust built into how people think about financial companies--for some very good reasons. Innovations that restore trust are more vital in financial services than in perhaps any other industry because it is is an industry ultimately built on trust. I am also excited about anything that can open up the doors of investing to Americans who have been previously on the sidelines of asset building and give them access to products and strategies that were once exclusive to the super rich (private equity, hedge strategies, VC, sustainable strategies, real estate, etc). Breaking down those walls is what technology has done at its best across other industries.

What will the financial industry look like in five years time? How about ten?

My hope is that new players will have used the distributed power of technology to empower millions around America and billions around the world to join a world of wealth creation that is no longer all-but private to the so-called "1%." And, by doing so, those new players will have become the new major financial institutions of the 21st century.

What advice do you have for prospective employees who might want to join your company or team? What are three key things that you're looking for from them?

First and foremost, reach out. We are looking for super-stars in all areas from engineering to growth to operations to investing to design. They need to be willing to junk the conventional wisdom, work hard and creatively, and be incredibly mission driven around the challenge of expanding opportunity to all.

Andrei Cherny and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event

How Innovation is Eating Wall Street: Q and A With Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Maveron

In this Q and A, we speak with Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Maveron who shares her thoughts on innovation, regulation and what underserved areas she thinks entrepreneurs might want to tackle. Rebecca Kaden and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.

1. Is all the excitement in fin tech just an investment trend? Or is it driven by fundamental changes in the industry?

Over the last decade, we’ve been watching technology penetrate giant, old school industries, transforming at the core how they operate. It is happening with how we communicate with each other and stay in touch, how we work, how we get around, how we think about our health care. Financial services is one of the biggest industries out there—it is also burdened by old systems, untouched processes, and unhappy clientele. I think it would be a miss to think the innovation inside and around it is just a trend when we’ve watched how it has dramatically shaken up and improved so many other industries that were in comparable positions. Consumers, particularly millennials, are looking to relate to brands and feel like they are a part of them more than ever. This is creating huge opportunities not only to provide better services, utilize data, and harness technology towards better products, but to reinvent financial services brands.

2. Regulation is a significant hurdle for fin tech companies to overcome, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to navigate it?

Go in with eyes wide open. Know the regulation cold and what it takes to abide by it (as well as what happens if you don’t.) It’s a heavily regulated arena but one in which you can build giant businesses—perhaps the biggest market there is—even in the current regulatory environment. The problems arise when young companies make moves that run them into timely and expensive walls that they didn’t see coming.

3. What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you least excited about?

I love areas where you can not only innovate on products but also on brand—where there is a gap in information, heightened confusion, a mismatch between messaging and the millennial market. Lending is one of these categories and I think that gap accounts for much of the recent boom in that consumer lending market. But there are others, too—insurance is one category that fascinates me and in which there’s a ton of room.

4. What will the financial industry look like in five years time? How about ten?

In five, we’ll see increased pressure on the current leading brands to build or buy their way into better customer experience, technology, and transparency to meet a new wave of consumer demand—and those giants who can’t start to shake. We’ll also see initial winners emerge--the first ones to successfully re-imagine the industry from the ground up with tools that cater to the online-first demo and create meaningful equity value. In 10, I think mobile banking across all services will be the absolute norm. We’ll talk about going to a brand or filling out paperwork the way we now talk about going to a kiosk to buy an airline ticket.

5. What advice do you have for prospective employees who might want to join your company or team?

What are three key things that you're looking for from them? In our case, it’s considering prospective employees for our portfolio companies. But the criteria is the same: desire to understand the old and totally transform it; appreciation of and nimbleness with data and its role in financial services (what it has done before, what it can do in the future); passion around creating differentiated products and building standout brands that can change consumers’ lives. And extraordinary desire and hustle around getting there first and best.

Rebecca Kaden and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event

How Innovation is Eating Wall Street: Q and A With Sasha Orloff, CEO and Co-Founder of LendUp

In this Q and A, we speak with Sasha Orloff, CEO and Co-FOunder of LendUp and get his perspective on fin tech startups, regulation and what he is looking for when hiring for his startup. Sasha Orloff and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.

1. Is all the excitement in fin tech just an investment trend? Or is it driven by fundamental changes in the industry?

Fin tech as an industry has been one of the highest-performing categories in terms of venture returns, but receives some of the lowest amounts of investment in total dollars from venture capitalists. This is understandable, history has shown only a few fin tech grand slams in terms of returns, Paypal and now Lending Club. Financial services is rarely a winner-take-all category. There are very few companies in fintech that dominate their category, like Facebook or AirBnb.

Financial services is one of the biggest industries around, and it appears that software will eat this industry as well. There are a lot of great firms like QED Investors, Ribbit and Core Innovation Capital, who focus almost exclusively on the category, and DST, Google Ventures, and Sequoia have really good fintech portfolios.

My best guess is we will continue to see a wave of investment after Lending Club and OnDeck provided great returns to VCs, and the filings of SoFi, Oportun and Square could attract attention to the importance of this sector for years to come. Because the fin tech business model is now clearly defined.

2. Regulation is a significant hurdle for fin tech companies to overcome, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to navigate it?

There is a huge opportunity right now for a forward-thinking law firm to align themselves with startups, replicating in the legal area what Silicon Valley Bank did for startups in banking - creating a model that works for early stage, but also getting warrants to absorb the early stage risk, and align their success with a startup’s success. A law firm's business model is structured to keep you out of serious trouble, else they would ruin their reputation and not get more clients - but not completely out of trouble, because they make more money when you need them.

The unfortunate result is we either see a lot of startups not getting off the ground because the legal and compliance concerns create high setup costs, and most VCs traditionally don't want to pay for figuring out a business model. Skimping on the legal portion in the early stage can cost a company a lot more in legal fees later on.

Here is my practical advice, based on what we did at LendUp, in no particular order:

Make friends with startup founders in similar but non-competitive industries to share templates and frameworks for policies and procedures. Founders will tend to be more open to sharing, because they know how hard and expensive this was for them to do.

Find lawyers who will be advisers and take equity, or deferred compensation.

Join an incubator or accelerator that has other fin tech startups. This gives you access to a network, like Y-Combinator or 500Startups

Find a compliance person or young hungry lawyer, and ask them to be your co-founder.

3. What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you least excited about?

I am super excited about these three ways technology is improving financial services.

The first is accessibility. From Stripe enabling payments to be seamless, or Zenpayroll to provide easy access to your payroll. Fin tech start ups are lowering the barrier to access complex services that were in past reserved for large player, with deep pockets.

The second is transparency. The way Square has brought simplicity to merchant processing pricing or Lending Club pioneered pricing transparency with their "check your price" before you have to apply for a loan system is great. Or how Credit Karma brought credit scores and credit reports to everyone, for free. I mean, how great is that?

And third, I am calling the "better together" models like Prosper or Crowdtilt where technology enables certain efficiencies that bring groups of people together to have a greater impact.

I am least excited about regulators ability to keep up with the pace of innovation in general, and with our current political system, it is really hard and expensive to get anything accomplished, even if it can cause such massively positive impact.  For example, enabling a framework for a national charter for payments or lending, or allowing educated and talented international developers and data scientists to come work here in the US.

Both are solvable and regulation is always catching up with market needs. It’s frustrating because there is so much potential for our government to fuel better financial services, create jobs and enable innovation, but I am not optimistic it will be solved easily when one considers how challenging it is to get anything accomplished in DC these days.

4. What will the financial industry look like in five years time? How about ten?

I have this debate all the time with investors and bankers. I think the banking industry will move back to what they do best - being a custodian of consumer deposits and risk management. Which means startups will be able to build better consumer products, because they have access to newer and more flexible technology.

Startup enabled innovation and forward thinking banks will cash in on the fee revenue associated with the innovation, instead of continuing to invest in failed consumer products.  

Wells Fargo, Webbank, BBVA, Amex and Capital One are doing a the best job of the bunch, but not nearly enough and it is showing in their earnings per employee. The market for customers under 35 is still up for the taking, and I am not sure banks are well positioned to react to their fast changing needs. They have too much legacy technology and an ever increasing regulatory burden to manage. Which only gets more and more challenging, and expensive, as the years go by.

5. What advice do you have for prospective employees who might want to join your company or team? What are three key things that you're looking for from them?

I can only speak for LendUp, we are hiring for a variety of positions. We are different because we are a mission driven company, so take this advice with a grain of salt.

Here is what we look for:

Are you passionate about a mission (ours is bringing credit building opportunities to consumers whose banks won't approve them for credit)? Don't tell me, but show me that you have a greater purpose, and want to make the world a better place. Do it through volunteer work, like experience at a mission driven company, or a non-profit or even a through a passionate blog.

Learn how to code. Take a General Assembly class, or some other code boot camp, or just hack away and build something on your own. Working at a technology company means you will be more effective if you understand how software or databases works. Even if you never code again, it is an important skill set to have.

Show me you know how to execute. I personally hate the words "strategy" and "brand", not because they are not important words, but because they mean you like to think or talk more than you like to deliver results. MBAs are notorious for thinking that because they have an MBA, that they will be successful at a startup, let alone "run a department".

Be honest. if you were an analyst or a manager at a big bank, but said you ran or owned something, be specific with what you actually did. Nobody at big companies can accomplish anything by themselves, being a part of a team is a really valuable skill. But I want to know that I can turn someone loose, let them execute and have lots of ownership. (full disclosure: I have an MBA and worked at some of the largest banks in the world.)

Sasha Orloff and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco,

Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event

Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Capital Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street

Click here to get 50% off tickets to the event >

From Wall Street to Sand Hill Road, the financial industry is no stranger to technological innovation, and the financial sector is at a crossroads. The same pressures that reinvented media and advertising, lower barriers to entry, easy access to startup capital, and widespread availability of information are changing the way finance has been done for the past 200 years. On this panel, top fin tech executives will share their thoughts on how the world of finance is transforming, and what it means for entrepreneurs, investors and consumers.

Join us for our next even on September 9th at General Assembly in San Francisco. Networking starts at 6 p.m. and the panel starts at 7 p.m.

Click here to get 50% off tickets to the event >

Date:

September 9th @ General Assembly SF

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

Location:

General Assembly, 225 Bush Street 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

 

Speakers:

Andrei Cherny CEO and Co-Founder of Aspiration

Andrei Cherny is CEO of Aspiration, an online "investment firm with a conscience" that is democratizing access to wealth creation by creating and curating differentiated investment and financial products and bringing them directly to the consumer in a way that builds loyalty and trust. One of Investment News’ “40 Under 40” investment professionals, Andrei has been an advisor to Fortune 100 companies, the co-founder and president of a successful media start-up, a financial fraud prosecutor, a bestselling author, a senior White House aide, and a nationally-recognized economic policy expert.

While working in the Clinton White House, Andrei was the youngest White House speechwriter in American history. President Clinton has called him a “critical part of the team” which brought about the economic successes of the 1990s. He graduated with honors from Harvard College and from the University of California Berkeley Law School.

Sasha Orloff — CEO and Co-founder of LendUp

Sasha Orloff is the CEO and Co-founder of LendUp. Ten years ago, after reading Banker to the Poor by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Sasha was inspired to go move to one of the poorest countries in the world, Honduras, where he worked for The Grameen Foundation. What started as a six month internship, turned into years of service in Honduras because he found the work so inspiring. Prior to launching LendUp in San Francisco in October of 2012, Sasha worked at The Grameen Foundation’s technology team, The World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and most recently, Citigroup. Sasha has a B.S. in Applied Math and Economics and a minor in Behavioral Psychology from University of California, San Diego and an M.B.A from Georgetown University.

 

Aimee Young — CMO at SoFi

Aimee Young is responsible for the SoFi brand, customer acquisition, and communications. She brings 18 years of management and marketing experience. Prior to joining SoFi, she held various senior marketing roles including VP, Corporate Marketing at AppSense and Head of Brand, North America at Virgin Atlantic. She has spoken widely on the topic of brand building, customer loyalty, and customer experience design and served as a consultant to companies such as Diageo and the American Red Cross. Aimee holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Wellesley College.

 

Rebecca Kaden — Partner at Maveron Capital

Rebecca Kaden is a partner at Maveron’s San Francisco office. At Maveron, Rebecca identifies consumer-focused entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Southern California, and her hometown of New York. She also plays a leading role in the firm’s seed program, partnering with emerging consumer companies at their earliest stages. She’s a board observer at Aria, August, Darby Smart, Dolls Kill and General Assembly. In a prior life, Rebecca was a journalist — for the Economist in London and as special projects editor at Narrative, an online platform devoted to bringing great literature into the digital age. Now she brings her skills and passion for understanding how stories come together to identify potential breakout consumer brands. Rebecca earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her MBA from Stanford.

 

Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy — Co-Founder, 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.

 

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What People Say About Uncharted Minds:

“Uncharted Minds is what this industry needs more of — a forum for open, honest discussion, with the risk of audience participation. Loved the hard questions, the real talk, and the opportunity to debate about these things that mean so much to all of us. If you get the chance to attend or even better, to join the panel, jump on it!”

– Panelist, Keenan Cummings, Airbnb

 

“The audience is great and the networking is fantastic. Uncharted Minds is valuable for anyone looking to broaden their digital horizons.”

– Panelist, Marc Hauman, Lyft

 

“I enjoyed offering words of advice, honest insights and personal learning to an entrepreneurial audience with the wisdom to learn and explore before starting out. This was also a great way for me to continue to market Kasa on a personal level and gain deeper knowledge for myself hearing my fellow panelists speak.”

– Panelist, Anamika Khanna, Kasa Indian Eatery

 

“I am always impressed with the thought-provoking speakers and presentations.”

– Volunteer, Thomas Flaherty

 

“I was impressed with Uncharted Minds. Their events are professionally run and the audience was both engaged and thoughtful. I recommend it to any entrepreneur or investor interested in discussing a technology topic with a sophisticated panel and audience.”

– Panelist, Nick Tomaino, Coinbase

 

“Great event. I always have a good time and meet interesting people.”

– Volunteer, Shawn Aguilar

 

“Uncharted minds provides great maps into the journey of discovery…”

– Panelist, Moaya Scheiman, Crisp Bakeshop