1. Jenni Hogan, KIRO 7 Traffic/Social 7

    Jenni Hogan wants to change the way you interact with news - and the way it interacts with you. With a vision for connectivity, communication, and entrepreneurship, Jenni is working with her KIRO news team to evolve the conversation between people and information. What lessons has Jenni learned along the way, and what’s she up to next? Find out in this social-media savvy Nextcast.

    Jenni Hogan doesn’t just want you to watch the news, she wants to have a conversation with you about the news. Turning the one-way, “outbound” communication of the news into a two-way interaction is what she’s all about, and she loves the possibilities “With your iPad you can design the news you want,” she says. (2:11)
    Keeping an open mind and being ready for anything is how Jenni stays on top of the best ways to innovate. Be ready for “things that come out of the blue” because that’s where the game-changers are, she explains. “Be open to letting the community create what’s next.” (9:30)
    Who is Jenni’s hero? Anyone who can “jump,” she says. What does she mean? “People who are trying and failing; they’re not secure, but they’re following their dreams.” A KIRO entrepreneur herself, Jenni thinks anyone trying to make something new happen (no matter what) is worth admiring. (17:14)
    KIRO’s viewers have a platform in Jenni - and she likes it that way. “My audience is everyday people,” she says. “My people are powerful. Together they can be huge; they voice is amazing.” (21:55)
    Jenni loves the possibilities of social media to connect everyone from celebrities to the everyday news viewer. Her goal? “Empowering people to give them a voice. If there’s a way to use technology to empower people to have a platform, a lot of people have something great to add, but they don’t have the spotlight,” she says. And if Jenni has her way...we won’t be waiting long for that spotlight to arrive. (23:45)

    Quotes

    ----------------------

    what the future of media will look like; want to connect with more people through the power of the Internet

    2:11 traditional ways to connect (TV) vs. 2-screen way to connect -- traditional has been one way, now with your iPad you can create the news, design the news you want

    4:30 “I crave it, I love it” I have so many screens open at once; we can’t fake it - as a journalist, you have to be yourself and so is finding the right online personality

    9:30 looking for “things that come out of the blue” “be open to letting the community create what’s next” experimenting requires open-mindedness and seeing what possibilities may arise

    11:31 embracing the world failure “if you walk in the middle of the road, you’re more likely to get hit by a car going either direction, so jump in a lane” quote from mom; keep putting your idea out there until someone says they can help you achieve it

    13:05 “just be you” tried to look/talk like other anchormen, but what I tried to change (accent, clothes, smile) are why she’s successful

    15:27 try to give myself an hour of “no computer” time

    # vimeo.com/52653933 Uploaded
  2. Marc Barros, CEO & Cofounder at Contour

    “I was supposed to be an accountant,” says Marc Barros, who’s now the co-founder and CEO of Contour, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Pacific Northwest. He set out to solve a simple problem (find a way to shoot high-quality video while skiing), and is now leading a team and learning plenty along the way. What are the biggest lessons he’s learned? What technology would he get rid of “in a heartbeat” if he could? Find out in this exciting new Nextcast!

    What’s Marc’s secret for founding such a successful company? Well, he stumbled into it. “We wanted to solve our own problem,” he says, explaining that he and his friends sought a better way to shoot video while skiing the slopes. He found something he was passionate about and strove to create the best product he could.
    To Marc, the foundation of your company is everything. It comes down to asking the right questions, he says. Instead of asking “what do we have to offer?, he suggests thinking this way: “why does our company exist?” Having a core set of values and vision will always lead you in the right direction. (3:13)
    Marc says all of his success has been tied to one mantra: “Don’t give up.” That, and constant self-reflection and feedback. You’ll save a lot of time if you can take advice from a trusted source.“I appreciate when people give you the honest truth because it saves you a lot of time,” Marc explains. (7:40)
    “I think the best entrepreneurs have a gut instinct,” Marc says about running a successful startup business. Learning as much as you can and bringing on investors and advisors to keep you on track is always good, but listening to your instincts can be your secret weapon. (10:50)
    We haven’t heard this one before! Without hesitating, Marc asys, “I think email’s the worst. I’d get rid of it in a heartbeat.” (12:40) He maintains a good work-life balance by never checking email on his phone or when he’s trying to take time off from the office. (6:13)

    “I was supposed to be an accountant”; skiers who wanted a simple way to record video while we skied

    passionate about something, wanted to solve our own problem, stumbled into it

    3:13 foundation - “why do you exist?” rather than “what do we have to offer?” - focus on values that drive hiring, investor relationships, etc

    6:13 don’t check email on the phone, on weekends, after work - unplugging and getting outside

    7:40 “don’t give up” everything has been tied to that 8:25 self-reflective, always looking for feedback

    8:46 “I appreciate when people give you the honest truth because it saves you a lot of time!”

    9:30 “the only constant is change”

    10:50 “I think the best entrepreneurs have a gut instinct”

    12:40 “I think email’s the worst” “get rid of it in a heartbeat”

    15:36 “a profitable company could have a positive impact on society” how do you build things that are

    # vimeo.com/52641217 Uploaded
  3. Paul Thelan didn’t mean to become a CEO. But after an illness brought his life into sharp focus, he decided to quit the job he thought he “should” have and build the career he knew he wanted to have. From that pursuit of passion, Big Fish Games was born.

    Now, Paul runs a 10-year-old company of over 400 and is hoping to keep growing his team and breaking down barriers in the video game industry. What’s up next? A video game launched directly into the cloud, where it can be played by any user on any device. (Not too shabby.) Driven by a love for his product and intense focus on his customer, Paul says the sky’s the limit in terms of what he and his team at Big Fish Games can do.

    (1:56) “I never considered myself an entrepreneur,” Paul says. In spite of that initial doubt, though, Paul is still running his “accidental company” several years later, and couldn’t be happier to have finally chosen to pursue his passion. A lifelong gamer and programmer, Paul explains, “You’re handicapping yourself for success” when you make your passion your job.

    (4:35) Paul’s secret to Big Fish’s success is a finely tuned understanding of his customer and his data. You’ve got to “balance analytics with true understanding of what customer needs are,” he says, explaining that you can’t ignore the real world in favor of data. Understanding your customer’s motivations should be your top priority at all times.

    (5:38) Culture is another thing Paul keeps intense focus on at his growing company. “I have a lot of ideas,” Paul says. “I’m an idea guy.” And he leaves it up to his team to decide which ones are good. “I encourage my team to keep me honest,” he says, adding he encourages them to “prove my ideas wrong.”

    (12:22) Paul credits his whip-smart team with helping the company achieve so much success. “What made us successful versus a lot of our competitors in the same space is that we had a very, very intense focus on doing one thing and doing it very well.” He adds that product and customer are king: “Intense focus on the product, and intense focus on what the customers are saying about the products.”

    (13:08) Paul’s advice to other startups? “Work hard but have fun while you’re doing it.” Oh, and maybe invest in tougher phones. Citing the struggles and frustrations common in a young startup, Paul mentions that more than one phone met a violent end in the early days of Big Fish Games. These days the office phones can rest easy, though. Big Fish Games isn’t going anywhere.

    ----

    “passionate gamer, programmer, game developer, hobbyist since I was nine”

    2:00 “never considered myself an entrepreneur” “little bit of a mid-life crisis” finding out what my passion is and pursuing it “the accidental company” had enough money to start, and “two years in realized it was a real company”

    5:00 “balance analytics with true understanding of what customer needs are” understand customer motivations - real world + what the analytics are telling you

    6:00 encourage my team to keep me honest, prove my ideas wrong (I have a lot of ideas)

    9:10 “realizing that being stressed out and doing what you think you should be doing is not a great way to live” - “handicapping yourself for success” by doing what you love 10:00 “I didn’t mean to start a company”

    12:45 “what made us successful vs a lot of our competitors in the same space is that we had a very very intense focus on doing one thing and doing it very well” “intense focus on the product, intense focus on what the customers are saying about the products”

    13:25 “work hard but have fun while you’re doing it” 14:25 “being able to build a game and get it on any platform anywhere in the world” - launching a cloud gaming service - “we can launch a game in the cloud and stream it to any advice anywhere in the world” phone, pause, pc, play Big Fish Unlimited

    15:45 relying on another startup for your revenue - build tougher phones story

    # vimeo.com/59689414 Uploaded
  4. “The watchword for the last couple of years has been big data,” says John Slitz, CEO of SpaceCurve. And the problem with big data, he adds, “is it’s big.” That’s why Slitz and his team are working on technology that makes understanding and applying that data possible. After a long career working with marketing, data, and understanding user behavior, Slitz is hoping his team at SpaceCurve can make the most of the new technology available today to make life better for individuals, companies, and even the government.

    John Slitz thinks that his team is onto a big idea that will transform our ability to process the huge amounts of data created today. And not only will the technology work, but he thinks they can turn a profit doing it too. “That’s the key to things; if you can make things easier, faster, and cheaper, you get something that really takes off in the economy.” (8:00)

    What excites Slitz most about SpaceCurve’s work is not their current projects, but the possibility of projects he cannot even imagine yet. He is waiting for the day that someone walks through their office door and wows him with ingenuity. He explains, “The thing that excites me the most is the ability to take this fast flow of social data and look at that in terms of other types of data.” (9:00)

    “I always thought that people who have a clear goal of what they want to be are really blessed,” says Slitz. His path wasn’t always so sure. He graduated college in a recession and took 70 job interviews before getting a job selling typewriters at IBM. “It was the only job I could get,” Slitz says, though he adds: “It was probably the luckiest thing that ever happened to me” since it led him down the path that brought him where he is today. (10:20)

    “The hardest thing about being a manager...is once you’ve hired [the best people] to let them be the best,” Slitz says. He adds that he is working with some of the smartest people he’s met in his career, and he has had to learn to trust them when they make decisions he doesn’t have expertise in. “You have to trust the people that you have to do the right thing.” (14:00)

    Slitz wants to remind leaders: “movement is better than stagnation.” Making a decision is always better than pushing something off for later. “Think about things in the terms of momentum,” he advises. And that’s exactly what he and the team at SpaceCurve are doing: moving into the future of technology. He explains: “Everybody’s got a cell phone, and everybody’s taking pictures. And when you can look at all of that, immediately coordinate it, and derive...actionable intelligence from that, whether it’s a marketing campaign, a promotion, or an intelligence or military or police operation, the world is a completely changed place.” (24:45)

    # vimeo.com/89328121 Uploaded
  5. Like many other Nextcast interviewees, Pradeep Prabhu, cofounder and CEO of CloudMunch, never expected to be the CEO of a tech company when he was growing up. “I just got into it by accident,” he says. But his knowledge and experience are obvious after 20 years spent working in the space, and now he heads up CloudMunch, a company offering continuous deployment and monitoring in the cloud. Their mission? “Let developers focus on their code.”

    As a successful founder and CEO, Prabhu is full of wisdom on building great products and great teams. The biggest mistake a startup can make, he says, is “not really understanding how the software is going to be used by our users”. He adds, “We are all-consumed by what we are creating” and forget to check in with anyone else. Getting user feedback early on in the development process is “the best thing you can do”. (3:15)

    Solving big problems for users is what CloudMunch is all about. “We had some pretty tough customer situations,” he says about building the business. But they knew they were on the right track when they talked to users about their problems. There was a sense that “there has to be a better way of doing this,” Prabhu explains. “There was the pain and the passion.” And that’s where great companies come from. (7:00)

    As a founder and CEO, to say Prabhu has big demands on his time is an understatement. How does he get it all done? Well -- by deciding not to get it all done. “There’s hundreds of things to do...sometimes it’s scary to think ‘I’m only going to do 3 things today’,” he says. But by picking key strategic projects to complete, rather than half-finishing everything on his list, he ensures the important things get done. “When you get that done, you feel good,” he says, adding, “and of course, stop checking email all the time.” (9:40)

    Though his company CloudMunch is at the forefront of technology, Prabhu is also familiar with technology from a bygone era. “I still remember when I was a kid, getting a telegram...was a huge deal,” he says of his early life in India. Just recently the final telegraph company -- which operated in India -- shut down, closing the book on that particular means of communication. Now, Prabhu is passionate about the future of communication, in the form of video conferencing and online conversation. (16:50)

    Stick around to the end of this interview to see Prabhu get into a groove talking tech. He talks about the transition of tech from huge bundled systems to unbundled individual services, and how the cloud is taking us back to the bundled model. When he first pitched CloudMunch, he says the board asked him: “Are you saying you want to do some old stuff?”. But he explains, “The business model evolved...at the end of the day, it’s the business model.” (21:00)

    # vimeo.com/89325285 Uploaded

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