Tom Amestoy – 13 Questions to Help You Cut Out Small Talk and Build Genuine Connections

Tom Amestoy, Founder & CEO of Focus Out, talks about the missed opportunities to genuinely connect with others when we engage in “small talk.” Scientific studies have revealed that the types of conversations we have truly impact our wellbeing. These findings show that the good life is social and conversationally deep rather than isolated and superficial. Tom will tell us about groups that have banned small talk to great effect. He will offer tips on how to host such an event and will share 13 questions to start great conversations that lead to deep and genuine connections.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

In 2011, Tom left a 19-year sales career for a national print manufacturer to become Director, Business Development at InnerWorkings (NSDQ: INWK), a global marketing services agency that disrupts his former industry. He quickly realized he needed to network in a new way and connect at a different level than he previously had. He found he was faking it as he was floating through rooms full of people gathered to network. He decided that there was a better way and along with his cofounder, he created Focus Out with the intention of facilitating genuine connections between businesspeople who could help each other without expecting anything in return.

Focus Out (www.focusout.co) was the first “other-focused,” pro-social business membership organization in Pasadena. The organization now has 6 chapters from Burbank to Claremont, with plans to expand to DTLA, OC, the South Bay and anywhere else networking is broken.

There are plenty of other fascinating things about Tom and he is excited to help you genuinely connect with him to find out.

Twitter: @TomAmestoy

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-amestoy-abb8093

Jeffrey Travis: The Future of Virtual Reality

Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One film portrays a future world in which VR is at the core of everything society does.

While much of the venture funding for VR from a couple of years seems to be fading, a myriad of startups continue to push forward with incredible innovations in haptics, visual headsets, motion systems, AI, even scent dispensing, which will soon reach a tipping point for the next wave of VR. Creators and story-tellers in the meantime are pushing the boundaries of the medium, starting to find audiences and develop viable business models, as evidenced by the first-ever seven-figure acquisition of a VR short film at Sundance this year.

What does the future of VR look like five years from now? What roles will emerging technologies, creators and storytellers, social networks, media companies and studios play? What are the viable business models that are emerging for content creators?

Join me for a peek at the promises and perils of what VR might become, why you should care, and how you can be part of the “second wave” of this medium, whether you are a technologist, artist, storyteller, or investor.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

effrey Travis is the founder and CEO of Positron, a virtual reality technology studio. He created the world’s first full-motion haptic virtual reality chair, Voyager®. His company introduced the world’s first motion VR cinema to debut The Mummy VR experience starring Tom Cruise for Universal Studios. The Voyager platform has been experienced at events around the world such as Sundance Film Festival and ComicCon, and embraced by the world’s top VR creators. It has has been used by studios such as Warner Bros, Disney, Sony, and IMAX. Voyager chairs will be coming soon to theaters, cinemas, hotels, airport lounges, and offices.

Jeffrey is also a filmmaker and engineer. He grew up in Argentina and currently lives in Montrose, California.

Twitter handles: @jeffreytravis. @gopositron

Alex Williams: Why Hardware Hacking is More Compelling Than a Fancy Cambridge Degree

Alex will recount his exciting story about becoming one of the most talented young hardware developers in the world, and why his pursuing his passion for building hardware was more compelling than earning a degree from one of the finest universities in the world. He will share his perspective on the value of a degree from a top university, and how he sees his own path forward as both compelling and logical. Alex is part of a growing movement made famous by prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel with his Thiel fellowships which give $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom — “College can be good for learning about what’s been done before, but it can also discourage you from doing something new.”

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Alex Williams is a young maker from the UK who has spent the last decade working on hardware projects, from assembling a first generation home desktop printer aged 10 to more recently developing complex electromechanical hardware platforms. His latest hardware project, the open-source underwater glider, won the 2017 Hackaday prize. At the beginning of the year he started at the University of Cambridge, UK, however he dropped out after a few weeks of study to pursue real world hardware development.

Hung Q. Tran: The Future of Blockchain Beyond Cryptocurrencies

This is a must have talk for technology business leaders looking into the future of blockchain for your organization. We will go beyond the cryptocurrency use case and ICO’s to understand what’s current and next on the roadmap for blockchain. Features and properties of the blockchain ecosystem will be discussed by looking at various platforms.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Hung Q. Tran, is a 22 years technology veteran who builds and oversees world class engineering teams to design, create, strategize, produce, launch and release groundbreaking products, applications and software. Mr. Tran formerly lead Machinima Inc. as founding CTO, a digital video entertainment network acquired by Warner Brothers Digital. Mr. Tran works on an AML/KYC compliant version of Bitcoin, and is currently leading The Change Group, LLC., a new company focused on blockchain as its President and CEO.

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/hungtran

Dan Davidson: The Power of Social Capitalism

I am excited to share the story of Rosebud Coffee; a social enterprise dedicated to helping homeless and transitional age youth find economic stability through the coffee industry. Local businesses are uniquely positioned with social capital to help those in need flourish with the support of the local community. And when those in greatest need flourish, so does everyone else!

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Dan Davidson is the Lead Pastor of Rose City Church in Pasadena, CA; a historic Free Methodist Church he and team reopened in 2011. Dan is also the co/founder and Executive Director of Rose City Coffee; a barista training program for homeless and transitional-aged youth soon to open as a local coffee shop. Most recently Dan led a team to open Rosebud Coffee as a local cafe in the City of Pasadena to hire the youth trained by Rose City Coffee. As a socially minded cafe, Rosebud seeks to help the emancipated youth of our city flourish while also providing a space for community events. Dan enjoys collaborating with the City of Pasadena, local businesses and non-profits who share the same goal of ending homelessness and improving the lives of local neighbors. Dan believes that with such partnerships the relationships that keep communities healthy will thrive.

From an iconic summer festival to ChefBox

Two of the original team members behind the iconic 626 Night Market has launched an innovative food retail concept, matching top-quality local talented chefs and hungry consumers with a straight-forward, efficient storefront concept. In this talk, Patricia and Albert will be talking about their entrepreneurial journey being at the start of 626 Night Market, to the current launch of ChefBox, and about their plans of the future.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Patricia Huang runs the largest summer night food festival in the USA as Live Marketplace and Vendor Management of 626 Night Market for 6 years to date, managing market economics and logistics of 200 vendor booths per event, managing menu items across all events and working closely and supporting chefs during their startup. With her unique experience and knowledge in managing vendors and entrepreneurship within the massive (100,000 customers per event) events, she created a guidebook Selling at Events and Festivals: An Insider’s Guide from Top Veterans (https://www.amazon.com/Selling-Events-Festivals-Insiders-Veterans-ebook/dp/B00VTO4GS8) to further help the chefs and small entrepreneurs succeed in the events space. Together with Albert, she had co-spearheaded and broke the world record for World’s Largest Cup of Boba Tea (https://www.worldrecordacademy.com/drinks/largest_cup_of_Boba_Tea_626_Night_Market_breaks_Guinness_world_record_213536.html), which news coverage reached as far as China and Taiwan.

Albert Chu ran the Special Projects and Operations divisions of the 626 Night Market for 3 years, designing and building memorable landmarks that gave customers various meeting focal points and photo opportunities. These special projects include Lantern Lanes draped above the event fairgrounds, an 8’x8’ 626 Night Market branded cube at the entrance of every Night Market, dozens of free-standing walls used for mural art battles, and the World’s Largest Cup of Boba Tea. He also worked with Patricia to standardize marketplace operations with training manuals for the section managers, maintaining excellence in event operations after his departure in July 2014. While he was working with the Night Market, he was part of a full-time leadership development program at Baxter Pharmaceuticals, where his various projects streamlined operations in numerous functions and won global excellence awards.

Instagram handle: https://www.instagram.com/eatchefbox/

 

Ryan Williams: Authentic Storytelling

Ryan Williams, the author of The Influencer Economy: How to Launch Your Idea, Share it With the World, and Thrive in the Digital Age, has built an actionable framework for telling better business and personal stories. His storytelling structure is a new approach for crafting and scripting your 3 authentic stories to tell in any room, anytime, to anyone.

Los Angeles-based author Ryan Williams teaches his step-by-step guide to telling your authentic brand story. He instructs how to build a core community around your idea, collaborate with key influencers to grow your base, and build a brand that changes the world. For the last three years, Ryan interviewed over 100 influencers who have built culture-changing online such as: Seth Godin, Brad Feld, Derek Sivers, Troy Carter, Jemele Hill and many others. His authentic storytelling framework helps brands, leaders, and companies anchor their brand stories, grow their influence, and thrive in the digital age.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

About Ryan: Ryan Williams is an author, keynote speaker, and former stand-up comedian. He authored the book, The Influencer Economy, a top-seller on Amazon. In his book, he teaches readers how to launch their stories, collaborate with influencers, and thrive in the digital age. For more book info, visit theinfluencerbook.com (http://theinfluencerbook.com/). Ryan’s work and writing has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, The Observer, Success Magazine, Business Insider, Social Media Examiner, and USA Today. On his podcast, also titled The Influence Economy, Ryan has interviewed over 100 influencers who have successfully built ideas online, including Seth Godin, Willie Geist, Derek Sivers, Troy Carter, Jemele Hill and many others. You can listen to his show at www.influencereconomy.com).

Ryan was an early team member at social media marketing firm, DigiSynd (acquired by Disney for $16 million), and Machinima.com (acquired by Warner Bros. for $100 million). He has given keynote talks and led panels at SXSW, VidCon, TIE-Con Canada, & Google. He’s also lectured classes at Vanderbilt University, City University of London, USC and Loyola Marymount.

Sho Guo & Stacy Jain: Women in Blockchain

Blockchain is poised to become one of the seminal developments in technology, and some talented women are leading the way in adapting blockchain technology across a wide array of industries.

Blockchain spending is expected to grow 81.2% annual from 2016 – 2021. $945 million was spent on blockchain solutions in 2017, with the spending expected to skyrocket to $2.1 billion this year. Women in Blockchain and Crypto want to enable women to thrive in the booming blockchain space by growing our network of like-minded women to create opportunities for networking, education, and professional advancement in the blockchain space.

Two female leaders in blockchain will give a presentation on the current landscape of blockchain, the applications of blockchain technology across a variety of industries, and also discuss their own projects including putting AI on the Project PAI blockchain and exploring uses for blockchain in healthcare.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Sho Guo
Sho Guo is the VP of Marketing and Partnerships at ObEN, an artificial intelligence company developing Personal Artificial Intelligence (PAI), a 3D intelligent avatar that looks, talks and behaves uniquely like its human counterpart. ObEN is an early adopter of Project PAI, a fully decentralized blockchain based network designed to give people trackable ownership and management rights to their PAI. Prior to ObEN, Sho was the Director of International Marketing for Caesars Entertainment and spent 5 years working in television and production, including work on the Beijing Olympics for NBC. Sho is an Emmy award winner with an MBA from UCLA Anderson, B.S. in Management Science and B.A. in Film from UC San Diego.

Stacy Jain
Stacy Jain is a Director of Strategy and Program Execution at Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s largest and most innovative integrated health care providers. An experienced executive consultant with a demonstrated history of delivering large, complex healthcare systems and programs in the hospital & health care industry, Stacy has continuously driven business solutions via technological innovations along with her exceptional leadership in building trusting partnerships across multi-disciplines. Previously she has worked with other healthcare organizations such as Dignity Health, Catholic Healthcare West, and L.A. Care Health Plan. Part of her current mission is to execute an agile transformation strategy to enable the business to quickly adapt, make investments at the right places and to improve speed to market. With more than 15+ years in defining, shaping and evolving the delivery of patient care, she has a relentless passion to stretch and advance digital healthcare, especially in mental/behavioral health care.

Stacy has recently been looking at applications of blockchain in healthcare with an emphasis on security, medical record sharing and humanistic information economy. Stacy is also working on building women-led communities in AI and blockchain. Her goal is to build communities in the Los Angeles area which would empower more women to participate in the blockchain industry.

Rob Kent: The Death of Innovation

Over the course of my career in both fortune 500 companies and start-ups, I’ve had the privilege of working on a few special, innovative teams that disrupted markets. I’ll talk about some of my favorite innovations and their origin stories. In each of these stories, I hope to highlight how fragile a new great idea can be and how in each case they almost didn’t happen. That way we are all better equipped recognize them and come to the rescue.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Rob Kent is CEO of First Wave Partners, where he actively invests in, manages, and consults tech and med-tech start-ups. Rob considers himself an “inventor’s best friend,” bringing significant development, finance, supply-chain, and distribution expertise to a business plan. He is the first to admit that he rarely has a good idea, but loves to help make good ideas great. He is currently shepherding two companies to market, a stem cell harvesting company Synova Life Sciences, and a clean-energy company Power Hero.

Previously Rob was CEO of O2 Concepts, a start-up medical device manufacturer of portable oxygen equipment. Rob and his team disrupted the industry by launching the first connected portable oxygen devices in a partnership with Verizon. This allowed caregivers to monitor equipment location and patient compliance, and propelled O2 Concepts to 5X growth in three years.

Prior to that he’s led sales and operations teams of over 200 people and operating budgets of over $40M, launched over 10 complex Medical Devices through FDA and European approval, and building out sales and operations teams in start-up and high growth environments.

Paul Orlando: Building Companies While Running Startup Accelerators on Three Continents

From Hong Kong, to Los Angeles, to the Vatican. How running three very different startup accelerators over five years changed the way I think about entrepreneurship. Multiple program formats, 100+ companies, tens of millions in funding, lots of customers, exits, all across three continents. The talk will focus on:

• Commonalities growing companies face across locations.

• Getting results: How I try to trick people into learning.

• Next steps in thinking about the future of company growth.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.

Bio:

Paul Orlando enables companies to grow. He is Incubator Director and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at USC. Paul has founded and operated successful startup accelerator programs in Hong Kong (focused on mobile development), Los Angeles (focused on growing a wide range of companies with founders affiliated with USC), and Rome (the Laudato Si accelerator, partnered with the Vatican and focused on environmental technology). Companies Paul has worked with have raised tens of millions in capital, served millions of customers, and have been acquired. He has authored several related academic case studies available on Harvard Business Publishing. Paul also helps larger institutions innovate, develop, and grow, especially in lowering the risk of innovation projects, speeding up learning cycles, and transitioning past legacy business models and products.

Paul has been featured in media including Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and the Wall Street Journal. He was a winner at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Paul has a BA from Cornell, an MBA from Columbia, and speaks Mandarin.