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32 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 011 – Udit Mehta – Head, Digital Go-to-Market – Siemens Gas & Power
From the Orlando offices of Siemens Corporation, I spoke with Udit Mehta, who heads the Digital Go-to-Market for Siemens Gas and Power. His work involves developing a short and long-term digital roadmap with an emphasis on innovation, product development and technology commercialization. I met Udit at the Nasa iTech’s Ignite the Night event where he was a judge, evaluating startup ideas pitched to NASA. His energy and enthusiasm demonstrated his passion for technological advancement and helping the entrepreneurial community. His involvement has included serving on the boards of local technology associations, growth stage start-ups, and helping through organizations such as Techstars and Florida SBDC. We spoke of Udit’s enthusiasm regarding technological innovation, his thoughts on where technologies are headed, and how both small and large firms have a role in contributing to the business ecosystems, from the local to global levels. Udit views technology as a productivity multiplier and experience enhancer. Through the creative application of technology throughout different functions of the business, he has been able to form organic teams & interest to work on innovative ideas and concepts.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 010 – Charlie Lewis – CEO BlueWave Resource Partners
This episode brings me to the downtown Orlando office of Charlie Lewis, founder and CEO of BlueWave Resource Partners, one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2019 Best Places to Work. Charlie is also an investor with his other venture BlueWave Investment Partners, an organizer of Orlando Tech and Beers, and supporter of the Orlando entrepreneurial and tech community, and he talks with me about how technology affects and is affected by the recruiting industry. Blue Wave has worked with local employers such as CareStack: who just went public with their cloud-based dental practice management software, amusement-industry e-commerce company accesso, digital health innovator ProAct Health Solutions, and cloud computing service leader Astadia. Charlie discusses the talent needs for companies with AI, machine language, and blockchain applications. Blue Wave uses AI and other automation technologies for applicant tracking, reach-out and sales automation to improve the way they connect those applicants to opportunities. Blue Wave plans to open other offices in locations like Atlanta, and will join them through some innovative uses of video conferencing technologies. The difference between social media and older type of online resource for job-seekers (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) shows how technology is affecting the recruiting world. A modern education now involves more accelerators and software development programs, replacing or in addition to more traditional, 4-year university degrees. The speed at which technology changes makes the value of that degree different, although Charlie acknowledges that a degree does still have value, not only to show maturity, work ethic, and perseverance, but also to provide an understanding of basic business concepts. That being said, the focus of what candidates are good at has a higher importance than necessarily what they have learned in school. He emphasizes how going in with a passion to learn is more attractive to many employers. One area where Charlie feels technological advancement is still needed is in the government sector where county, state, city verticals are still the slowest to adopt new technologies. Charlie is helping to support Orange County’s recruitment of a Chief Innovation Officer, which he believes is an excellent step in the right direction. Crowd-sourcing and organizations such as Desk Pass offer new options for workers and investors. From an investing perspective, as Charlie has discussed in other podcasts, he looks to technology as his angel investment group explores new opportunities with faster exits and higher risk/reward factors. Correction to the dialog – the accesso TE2 purchase was $80mil
48 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 009 – John Crossman – CEO Crossman & Co
I had the privilege to sit with John Crossman, another of the Orlando Business Journal’s CEO’s of the year (2018) and CEO of Crossman & Co., the Orlando-based property management and development firm which manages primarily retail properties across 8 states in the Southeast. John discussed the way technology advances the way societies advance. He emphasized the importance of relationships and human connection, and how companies such as Publix, one of Crossman’s best clients, have created relationships with their customers by designing positive technological, physical and emotional experiences. He talked about how the data his industry has been collecting regarding shopping habits and trends, and how some of that data, while reaffirming many of the decisions currently being made in property development, also provide insights into how retail outlets can improve their relationships with current and potential customers. The relationships between online retailers and brick-and-mortar outlets have an interesting balance, and John highlighted how technology influences consumers’ choices, and the end results aren’t necessarily what some popular assumptions may assert. He thinks that as technologies evolved over recent decades, companies such as Blockbuster should have been a viable competitor to Netflix and Sears could have had a serious rivalry with Amazon. Looking at data over longer terms, there may be potential to see a changing trend in retail such as the potential financial demise of such companies or industries. Augmented reality and other new technologies create interesting and new opportunities for retailers, but also have legal implications that have to be considered. Outside influences such as self-driving vehicles, AR marketing campaigns, and demographic changes can create liabilities that developers and retailers may not have considered even just ten years ago. Other technologies affect how communities react during crises, and how building development is considered. The way Orlando’s unique retail environment affects the rest of the country was an interesting insight, with companies such as Darden creating and testing new concepts here, with international exposure through the area’s expansive tourism industry. John also enjoys participating in the online forum “Quora” and is impressed with the way information is shared and distributed through those kinds of mediums.
44 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 008 – Ben Beachy – CIO Florida Polytechnic University
Anyone who has driven between Orlando and Tampa has likely noticed that “futuristic building” near Lakeland and asked “What is that?”. It’s Florida Polytechnic University‘s Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building, and I was fortunate to grab a conversation with Ben Beachy, Chief Information Officer of the 5-year-old institution. Ben has been with the University since 2018, and has taken on the challenge of connecting the faculty and students in a uniquely innovative environment. Ben talks me through his perspective on technology as part of the learning process. Creating a balance of the technology tangibles with those intangibles of how students use, apply and make a difference with those technologies. We both agree that the transition from this is evolutionary, but Ben would be interested to see a comparison between students using paper-based books and the University’s fully digital library, and it’s ubiquitous bring-your-own-device policy, and how over time the newer model affects learning. Florida Poly is, under Beachy’s direction, piloting a wider reaching access for students both on and off campus while maintaining the proper security and robustness for the networks involved. He talks about how the University’s Information infrastructure has similarities to health care, finance and business institutions, along with the education space, and how there are different rules, regulations and procedures in context to them all. As the University grows, while developing enough server power and cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning systems to meet the demands of students and faculty alike, one of Ben’s unexpected focus points is, believe it or not, the challenge of making sure adequate conduit runs are planned into the construction designs to allow for future needs while adhering to the budget constraints of Florida’s public University system. He understands that while wireless technologies are becoming more and more important to student daily life, the hard-wired infrastructure. Another part of the pilot program involves application streaming solutions such as AutoCAD and Adobe Suite programs, requiring internet connectivity bandwidth the single most important resource from an IT perspective. Ben sees the Internet of Things and the connection to data collection as a bridge to improve academic productivity and student life in ways that are positive and transparent, ultimately supporting student success. Connecting with the business community is an important part of the University’s mandate, and Beachy is looking for more opportunities to grow and foster relationships with local and regional industries. The research institutions being grown at Florida Poly make the transition between academic and commercial research more seamless and productive. The student population serves a as a huge potential resource for University’s success, notably from the Data Analytics program. Beachy would be interested having the students and faculty work together to collect the myriads of data available regarding campus life, create programs which can use it to improve techniques for developing and improving both curriculum and the student experience.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 007 – Kelli Murray – CEO MedSpeaks and Health Innovators
After hearing her speak at RE:VIZE , I was eager to get the chance to sit down with Kelli Murray, CEO of Medspeaks and Health Innovators, over coffee at Winter Park’s (Florida) beautiful Alfond Inn for a discussion on the technology of healthcare administration, concentrating on data, innovation and where new technologies are making a difference, and where there may be challenges and opportunities for growth. The subject of electronic medical records, and how that data is gathered, stored, shared, and used, brings Kelli’s entrepreneurial mindset, as well as her passion about this growing and important technology to the forefront. She discusses how the challenges of wrangling EMR databases into useful tools across multiple services and healthcare organizations are a daunting, but clear opportunity for the right company looking to make their mark in that sector. As an investor in startups and an adviser to tech companies, Kelli gives insight on the things those firms should pay attention to and how some of the ones she has invested in, such as TSO Life, improve and grow by looking at how big the problem they are addressing is, and could they become a part of a larger corporation, bringing in technology and methodologies those companies are looking for to grow into new and emerging markets. Kelli also has strong feelings regarding Florida’s and specifically the Orlando area’s record in healthcare, ranking 48th in the nation for healthcare according to a Commonwealth Fund Report, (Orlando’s metropolitan ranking of 250 can be found here) however she remains hopeful that the local tech and startup community can work with larger institutions to improve that situation, and Orlando can bring innovative solutions to rest of the world.
32 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 006 – Marc McDonald & Diane Court – COO & CSO Leap With Alice
It is always such a joy meeting up with the creative and innovative team from Leap With Alice. The infectious enthusiasm of co-founders Alfonso Morales, Caesar Medel, and Zack Pierola shine in everything they put into this Augmented Reality and Blockchain-Digital Rights Management startup. For the podcast, I got to sit down for a few minutes with Chief Strategy Officer Diane Court and Chief Operations Officer Marc McDonald to discuss how this disruptive new technology can transform the classroom without disrupting the budgets and resources of schools and teachers. Diane is a very familiar face in the Orlando tech and startup scene, and served as founder and Executive Director of Orlando Tech. She has mentored countless startups, but her passion behind the way Leap With Alice is approaching education, and the availability of technology to future generations really comes through. We discuss the proposed partnership with VR leader Magic Leap, some methods of AR content creation, including the recently released (and free) apps Wonderly and AliceLens (available for both Android and iOS), and the role Blockchain technology has in DRM. Using as a model content exchanges such as Teachers Pay Teachers, LWA is creating their own exchange where they are building on their philosophy of leveraging emerging technologies to reimagine how we view education. LWA has developed a partnership with the University of Central Florida Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute to create a deeper connection within the education community.
36 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 005 – Rocket – Founder – I Am Rocket LLC
Human. Capitol. Accelerated. This is how Orlando and UK based leadership coach Rocket positions himself and his work with business leaders and start-ups across the globe. He can be found at www.rocketman.life, the home of his company I Am Rocket LLC. Rocket’s emphasis on the human element provides an insightful perspective on how technology is approached and used in the advancement of companies and their leaders. Joining the podcast from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Rocket and I discuss how technology affects leadership within the companies he works with and consults. BTW, Rocket is not a fan of the word “consultant”. One of his tech passions is “conversation as a service”, utilizing artificial intelligence to help break down communication barriers, using it as a real-time interpretation service. He has a focus on bringing technology to various communities and companies for the benefit of the people involved. Rocket champions the efforts of companies such as secure simulation SDK (software development kit) firm Simudyne, supporting their technology working within the UK financial system. He also is very active in funding startups around the world via investment teams such as Swoop in the UK and Ireland, raising over a quarter-billion dollars for startups and small business. Another company Rocket highlights in the conversation-as-a-service space is Futr.ai creating A.I. super-charged voice and chat bots. Rocket has been and continues to be an advocate of the Orlando area, and after a couple decades across the ocean recently returned and has been a positive voice in the choir raising the area’s reputation around the world. He has great advice for startups looking for funding, starting with how they should know their goals and aspirations clearly right out of the gate, and aim for significance more than relevance. He says that ambiguity is a hindrance to getting funded, so be clear on your “ask”.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 004 – Rupert Meghnot – CEO Burnout Game Ventures
From the bustling scene at Winter Park’s Mon Petit Cheri, Episode Four is a somewhat caffeinated conversation with Burnout Game Ventures‘ Chief Experience Officer, Rupert Meghnot. Rupert has extensive experience in the training and simulation space, the gaming industry, and helping hundreds of startups launch and experience success. The discussion steers through some of the history of the gaming industry and community, but also touches on entrepreneurship, software coding, arcades verses console-based game systems and Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences. One passion Rupert has is in how businesses use (or fail to use) the concepts of process and project management. He feels, and I would end to agree, that the technologies used in business need to keep in mind how important process is to success. We discuss some of the popular project management tools such as Jira, Microsoft Project, Hansoft, Trello, and the go-to Microsoft Excel, but he feels that they rarely get used to their fullest capabilities. Rupert gives a shout-out to Gamer Meetups, a local startup which recently won the Techstars Global Startup Weekend. The company, brainchild of Full Sail University student Victoria Dante, marks the second year in a row an Orlando-based startup has taken top prize. We both agree that the Orlando area has great potential for becoming more of a leader in technological growth, and that local leadership needs to continue to work as a community to foster innovation. Bringing up the world shown in movies such as Ready Player One, and another reference to Luminar Technologies and LiDAR technology, prompted talk about how the technologies growing in games could be used in other areas, circling back around to the importance of honing the processes of project, business, and technology growth.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 003 – Gene McCulley – CEO StackFrame
If you’ve ever had a conversation with Gene McCulley that at some point didn’t veer off the rails to somewhere you never anticipated, then I imagine you probably just weren’t paying attention. I met Gene for the first time just a couple months before recording this episode, and during that conversation we, over tasty beverages, took the initial discussion of statistical analysis and eventually hashed out the concept for a dating app that combined analytics with the surveyed opinions of one’s friends, creating a peer-reviewed rating system for relationships. If this ever were to see the light of day, it could likely put a bunch of dating apps out of business. In this spirited discussion (where the subject of dating apps ironically resurfaces), the CEO of software developing company StackFrame defines technology as the “science of craft” and he anticipates a very interesting world as new technologies are developed. The intersections of multiple technologies fascinates him, and he highlights how manufacturing jobs are transitioning to more robots and other automated systems, and where the intellectual property behind innovation is becoming more and more valuable. As a technology consultant, Gene provides insight on how wonderfully and frighteningly weirder the world is getting due to the adoption of new technologies. He laments the recent Chinese scientists’ efforts to use CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) to genetically modify babies, actions which have been condemned by many in the world’s scientific community. The growth of smartphone technologies and the application of Moore’s law in the use of multi-threading and software stacking has improved the use of transistors in leveraging computing abilities. The reduction of size and increase of computational power is creating all sorts of new and crazy innovations. One of the current limiting factors is the heat dissipation qualities on smartphones and tablets, but Gene imagines that even better use and understanding of machine learning will circumvent those issues. The use of augmented reality and other technologies pose an issue to some communities and particular groups who may determine that members of those communities should be restricted from using new, invasive tech to keep them from withdrawing from society in some ways. We talked about computer-human interaction and the evolution of computers that have beaten humans at both chess and Go. Gene mentioned the Amazon acquisition of robot manufacturer Kiva, which has increased the retailing giant’s competitive advantage in warehouse automation. The best part of the conversation was when Gene talked about the decades old scientific pursuit of neural networking capabilities in computer systems. The use of CPU technologies, from an algorithmic perspective, wasn’t able to create a successful neural network model, however the evolution of GPUs has aided the rise of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning due to the ways that processing technology approaches problem solving – something that wasn’t widely considered or even possible until more recently. Gene has had a great deal of success with StackFrame in simulation and training for the DOD and other government and corporate clients, and is now working more on mobile apps and consulting to other companies as outsourced CTO for specific purposes and leveraging technologies to help those companies grow.
24 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 002 – Larry Meador – CEO Evōk Advertising
Larry and I have been networking friends for many years, and I was very excited to get the chance speak with him about technology in the advertising industry. Our discussion ranges from the technologies still used in print, email and direct mail marketing, to geo-fencing, augmented reality, dashboards and social media. Evōk, Larry’s 16-year-old ad agency, has been awarded many accolades including such noteworthy ones from the Orlando Business Journal as both one of the Top Ad Agencies and Best Places to Work, not to mention the Fast 50 and Coolest Office Spaces. Larry himself was voted one of 2017’s CEO’s of the Year. So when I say Larry loves and knows what he’s doing, trust me, I can barely do the guy justice. Before I go any further, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to mention Provōk – Evōk’s own podcast. Check it out for great insights into the world of advertising. Larry and Evōk have created and enhanced marketing campaigns for clients of all sizes – we talk about their work with targeting the extreme niche customers of insurance consultants UIC, Inc, and the detailed strategy to marketing Pizza Hut‘s mobile app, using those specific demographics that help their clients reach customers who are the immediate ideal target. Larry dissects the Burger King December 2018 campaign of a Whopper for a penny and how it created an advertising value equivalent (AVI) and return on investment (ROI) by both the stunt itself and the hype that surrounded it. Sockwell socks, another Evōk client, has benefited from Larry’s knowledge and use of technology in ways they never imagined, using that specific ad targeting methodology to produce a return on their marketing investment which far exceeded their expectations. Larry is always looking to learn about and test new, relevant technologies, and his team sits down regularly to discuss what they might look at implementing to improve how they serve their clientele. One of the most interesting aspects of the conversation was when Larry described how the reporting and analytics aspects of marketing has changed the levels of effectiveness his firm is able to achieve. Using such tools as NinjaCat reporting, monitoring & tracking platform, Evōk can create a “real-time dashboard” that makes it easier for his team to use and communicate data to clients. My favorite quote form Larry: “I will give you a dashboard, BUT, you have to promise me that if I show you data at 10 o’clock and can show you inferences by 11, and can give you changes I want to make by noon, you’ll approve by 1”. 3 hours to change an ad campaign based on analytics which not that long ago could take months to sort through, and still might not have been anywhere near as accurate. Larry compares the QR code to the newer and better use of augmented reality tags in print, which captures data based on those ads that takes brands through a positive life cycle. He also speaks admirably about the original Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom show, which he describes as one the first great examples of content marketing. Ad re-targeting, the practice of hitting consumers with the same ad over and over again even if they really don’t want to see it, is something Larry thinks can be improved upon, more personalizing the web experience. Look for Evōk to start using Persosa‘s to improve their own web site experience, helping Evōk to better become their client’s “friend”
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