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The Artificial Entrepreneur
32 minutes | Oct 23, 2017
15: Kesem Frank on Blockchain for the Enterprise
In this episode, I have Kesem Frank on the show, the co-founder, and COO of Nuco. Nuco builds the enterprise-grade blockchain infrastructures that are focused on being immediately ready for use by large businesses. Nuco takes care of security, performance, and scalability while some room is left to tailor their own work to the specific needs of an industry or use case. In this podcast, Kesem and I discuss his past working at Deloitte and how he moved into blockchain at Rubix. We then go into the story behind Nuco. While at Deloitte, Nuco founders Kesem, Matthew Spoke and Jin Tu decided that there needed to be a clear standard blockchain protocol for enterprises and set out to build the solution. Nuco has been on an upward trajectory since its inception in 2016 and has had advisors like Vitalik Buterin (co-founder of Ethereum) and Alex Tapscott (co-author of The Blockchain Revolution). Kesem delves into some of the use cases for enterprise-ready blockchain solutions and what some of the challenges are ahead in the widespread adoption of blockchain technology. We also talk about whether blockchains need to be linked to cryptocurrency at all, and he weighs in on the public chain versus private chain debate. Finally, we talk about Canada's current place in the blockchain ecosystem and what we can do to remain a hotbed for blockchain innovation. Other resources: Kesem on blockchains and data reliance Nuco Aion and communication between blockchains Our shownotes: Kesem discusses how he first got involved in blockchain through the Rubix program at Deloitte [01:49] How the cryptocurrency revolution affects big organizations from revenue to auditing [02:42] How to bridge the gap between mainst
17 minutes | Sep 15, 2017
14: Ivan Tsarynny on Product-Market Fit and Customer Success
This week I have Ivan Tsarynny on the podcast. Ivan is a serial entrepreneur and is the co-founder of PostBeyond a service that allows employees of companies to share pre-approved content. PostBeyond has turned the sophisticated technology experiences they have gained at companies like Scotiabank, Starbucks, IBM, Randstad, BMO and various Government Agencies and Ministries into a better way to communicate more effectively. Ivan and I talk about his journey starting many different companies and I get his advice on two key topics: product-market fit and customer success. On the product-market fit side, Ivan cautions against startups drawing their market segment too wide in a mistaken effort to increase sales. What often ends up happening is that startups lose out on their key customers who can be advocates for their product in the beginning by drawing the net too wide. Ivan then discusses why customer success is a key pillar to any startup organization when startups should invest in customer success facing employees and the type of people you should hire for that role. I learned a lot from this episode, here are our shownotes:
33 minutes | Aug 17, 2017
13: Don Tapscott on Bitcoin and The Blockchain Revolution
I was thrilled to have Don Tapscott on the podcast to talk about recent developments in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Don is a prolific writer having authored over 16 books including Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything which has been translated into over 25 languages. He is CEO of The Tapscott Group, and is one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society. Don’s most recent and perhaps most ambitious book is co-authored with his son, startup CEO and bitcoin governance expert Alex Tapscott. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World has been a bestseller in Canada since its release in May 2016, and has been featured in nearly every major publication in North America since then. Blockchain Revolution is also in the process of being translated into 12 languages. With the success of Blockchain Revolution, Don co-founded the Blockchain Research Institute here in Toronto with Alex Tapscott. The Institute is dedicated to conducting deep research into how blockchain will impact business and society over the next decade. In 2015, Don became a member of the Order of Canada, and was ranked the 4th most influential management thinker in the world by Thinkers50. He is Adjunct Professor at the Rotman School of Management, an Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and Chancellor of Trent University in Ontario. It is hard to imagine anyone who has been more prolific, profound, and influential in explaining today’s technological revolutions and their impact on the world. In this podcast, Don and I cover how bitcoin's underlying technology signals the second era of the internet. While the internet currently allows us to freely exchange information, blockchain technology allows us to go one step further and exchange value without the need of an intermediary. We discuss recent ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) and tokenization as well. Over the past 3 months, ICOs have raised more than all venture capital in the United States in all ventures. In the next three months, there will be 1500 new ICOs. Our shownotes: How Don was first introduced to blockchain technology [2:31] Why the blockchain is the second era of the internet [4:22]
46 minutes | Jul 26, 2017
12: Morgan Young and Craig Alguire on Running a Virtual Reality Startup
This week I have Morgan Young and Craig Alguire from (@QuantumCapture) on the show. Quantum Capture creates real-time ready, interactive digital humans for VR and AR platforms by combining cutting-edge 3D scanning, motion capture and human behavioural code technologies.
54 minutes | Jul 20, 2017
11: Community Management and Leveraging Customers with Jing Jing Tan
Really excited to have Jing Jing Tan on the podcast this week! Jing Jing specializes in online community engagement and strategy. She has worked in all aspects of community management including trust and safety support, user behaviour research and engaging with influencers. This is a great episode for those wondering about how to manage a large user base.
55 minutes | Jul 13, 2017
10: Steve Woods on Building Startups and the Future of Sales
Steve Woods (@stevewoods) is a wealth of knowledge about sales and marketing for startups. A serial entrepreneur, Steve was co-founder and CTO of Eloqua for over a decade. He guided Eloqua to a $100M revenue run rate, an IPO on the NASDAQ and a $955M acquisition by Oracle in 2013. I talk to Steve about his experience building a startup from nothing to a near billion dollar exit.
65 minutes | Jul 6, 2017
9: David McIninch on Marketing for Startups
David McIninch David McIninch (@DavidMcIninch) has almost 20 years of marketing experience with large companies and startups. He is currently the VP of Marketing at Jobber, a company that enables smaller mobile businesses to invoice, schedule and manage their teams end to end. David and I talk about his experience in marketing at a large company like ADP. We get into some of the key differences between marketing for a larger company and marketing for a startup. One of those differences is the amount of responsibility. In a large firm, there is always a filled calendar with daily tasks set. At a startup, calendars have to be filled with tasks that directly impact the company's bottom line on a day to day basis. What are some of the marketing pitfalls for new businesses? Not thinking about it early enough. David mentions that as soon as you expect people to pay money for your product you need to start thinking about your value proposition and positioning. David gives great tips on content marketing for startups and why a pitch deck can't be used as a value prop. We cover a lot in this podcast including: David's story of getting into marketing [3:43] Challenges of marketing for different segments at large companies [7:42] The difficulty in transitioning from a big firm to a smaller firm [10:15] How the 'large company machine' usually works [15:53] David's work at Jobber [19:33] The main pitfalls of startups and smaller companies in marketing [20:34] Why you should throw out your pitch deck [21:15] How to set your adwords and advertising budget [23:08] Why it is important to get to know your customers early on [28:33] How to get honest feedback about price from your customers [30:01] Positioning and value propositions for startups [33:52] How to avoid price pegging [37:11] How to know if your price is too low [38:55] Me
56 minutes | Jun 28, 2017
8: Style and Choosing your Passion with Raquiya Austin
Raquiya Austin Raquiya Austin (@strictlylegalfashionista) is one of the busiest and most stylish entrepreneurs I know. In this podcast, we talk about her journey from working at a large corporate firm in downtown Toronto to running her own entertainment law practice, her own fashion consulting business and contributing to Precedent JD magazine. We dive into Raquiya's passion for style and her new business at strictlylegalfashionista.com. Worried about turning your passion into work? Raquiya gives her take on what it means to turn your passion into a business and how it actually improves your life rather than detracts from it. Raquiya gives valuable tips on how to drive traffic to your blog, how to develop and keep a consistent brand as well as different strategies for social media like LinkedIn and Instagram. Want to develop your online blog or business? Your contacts and networking skills are key, and Raquiya gives some great advice on how to put yourself out there. We also talk about her article "How to look like a million bucks on a student budget" and other tips about how to develop your own style and look. Raquiya gives insight into how professionals can improve their self-confidence through fashion and how subtle clothing choices can make broader statements about you. If you're a professional you'll appreciate Raquiya's tips on how to own your look while keeping your employer happy. The show notes: Why "setbacks" are often pathways to success [2:10] How cold calling helped Raquiya get a headstart [6:40] How to stay organized while running multiple businesses [8:10] Tools that are helpful for content marketing organization [9:40] How to say "No" to new opportunities [11:34] Steps for
43 minutes | Jun 20, 2017
7: Maximizing Potential with Benjamin Alarie
Benjamin Alarie Benjamin Alarie (@BAlarie) is a law professor, former clerk of the Supreme Court of Canada, published author, and CEO of Blue J Legal. Ben has been teaching tax law for over a decade at the University of Toronto Law School. In this episode, we delve into the beginnings of Blue J Legal and how Ben executed Blue J from an idea he had while watching a legal tech competition. We talk about the advantages he and the other co-founders of Blue J Legal have in being academics in the legal tech world. Have trouble sticking to important habits like meditation, reading, exercise or proper bedtimes? Ben explains how the use of certain tech devices has helped him stick to important habits. One interesting example is Ben's use of Muse for meditation to keep a streak of daily meditation for over 200 straight days this year. Wish you could read more books in a year? To get more time out of his commute, Ben started listening to audiobooks at 2x or even 3x speed depending on the narrator. Now, Ben averages three new books a week. Here are our show notes: What are the advantages of being an academic in creating a legal tech startup? [8:45] Why not having a large salary is helpful in creating a startup [10:33] How Ben transitioned from being a professor to being both a professor and a CEO [12:02] Creative Destruction Lab and Next Founders [17:40] Why execution will take care of itself if you have the right people and the right strategy [20:15] How to maximize your commute with audiobooks [23:13] Why walking helps with remembering important material [25:27] Building long term habits with the help of technology [30:24] How are fitness trackers helpful? [32:09] How to manage the insane inbox of a startup CEO [37:49] The effect of daily meditation on Ben's daily productivity [39:42] Some general links
68 minutes | Jun 12, 2017
Episode 6: Faisal Abid on Starting Companies, False Fears and Maximizing Productivity
Faisal Abid At 26 years old, Faisal Abid has started multiple companies, worked for tech startups that have received millions of dollars in funding and he regularly gives talks for Google. We discuss how a severe train accident removed his some of his fears and stresses that were holding him back. These same fears often prevent people from starting up their dream businesses. Faisal talks candidly about starting Anspot (MatchFuel), and Dynamatik, including getting investors, paying employees and the conversation with his parents when he told them he was dropping out of university. He relates key lessons he learned from starting his first few companies, including the importance of launching without waiting to complete "all the details." He goes on to talk about how important it is to become a life long learner and how his desire to learn helps him in startups. Faisal gets into how the newest company he works with (Zoom.Ai) helps productivity. We talk about day to day problems with productivity and the best apps and strategies to avoid problems while working. We also talk about the perceptions that surround AI in general and how automation of tasks is helpful to society rather than harmful. I learned a lot from this podcast with Faisal including to pull the trigger on launching the Artificial Entrepreneur. I agree strongly that you should aim to not be the smartest person in the room - lest you stop learning. If you are the smartest person in your office and you are doing repetitive tasks you should aim to expand. I may have waited another month prior to completing this interview to launch but here we are! Faisal Abid is a software engineer, author, teacher and entrepreneur. Faisal is an author published by Manning and O’Reilly and has also appeared in leading publications with many articles on Co
41 minutes | Jun 11, 2017
Episode 5: Skyrocketing Real Estate Law with Ethan Eisen
Ethan Eisen What does it mean when housing prices skyrocket? Ethan reveals some fascinating insights of real estate practice during a major boom. What does it mean when buyers need closings immediately? We discuss the impact of AI algorithms in other areas of law and what it could do in real estate practice. Many legal tech companies have come up in the space of contract drafting and automating certain document drafting tasks. We talk about programs developed for lawyers and programs developed for consumers for real estate agreements. Has Toronto's real estate been undervalued all these years? We make our predictions about what will happen in the Toronto housing market in the near and late future. Ethan is an Associate in the Minden Gross LLP Commercial Real Estate Group. His practice focuses on advising clients on the purchase, sale, and refinancing of commercial properties. Ethan received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario in 2012 and his Juris Doctor from the University of New Brunswick in 2015. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2016.
52 minutes | Jun 11, 2017
Episode 4: Moving from Corporate Law to a Tech Startup with Avi Brudner
Avi Brudner “It would be a weird decision to do it for the financial upside. For me it was more autonomy, more responsibility earlier on. ” — Avi Brudner I have Avi back on to continue where we left off in our first podcast. We speak about his journey working with a corporate law firm in New York, to a global consulting firm in Toronto, to working for a tech startup. We talk about what drew him to the tech world and what it offers. We also discuss what makes a good tech startup employee and things Avi learned that directly translate to his new role. How important is it to have an answer for a client on day 1? Why is having structure important? We deal with these questions in detail. We also touch on what is expected of employees at startups and how to set yourself apart as we go through Daniel Debow's article "How to be an effective early stage employee." Avi Brudner is Head of Strategy and Operations at Blue J Legal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 2008 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 2011. He worked as a corporate lawyer in New York prior to returning to Toronto to work at a global management consultant firm.
55 minutes | Jun 11, 2017
Episode 3: Criminal Law and AI with Andrew Cosgrave
Andrew Cosgrave “It’s not that people are liars, it’s because human memory is extremely fragile - especially if someone has gone through a traumatic experience. ” — Andrew Cosgrave What is it like to be a prosecutor in the criminal justice system? I speak with Andrew Cosgrave, a former Crown attorney about his time working in criminal law. We delve into the responsibilities given to him early on in his career. Andrew ran provincial offences court as a student in the office and sat in on murder trials. I asked him what is was like to see people regularly at their worst and his beliefs on how the criminal justice functions. We delve into the sentencing of Eric Loomis in Wisconsin, where a judge took into account a predictive algorithm in his decision. The predictive algorithm score showed Loomis was a high risk of reoffending and the Court gave him a higher sentence because of it. Loomis appealed the sentencing but the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the ruling. Now Loomis is appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States, although it is unclear whether it will be accepted. We both weigh in on the use of this algorithm and other machine learning technology in criminal law. Andrew is currently an associate at Moodie Mair Walker LLP practicing insurance litigation. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary in 2010 and his Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor in 2013. Andrew was called to the Ontario Bar in 2014. Listen at 44:37 for Andrew's advice if you are a young lawyer looking to become a prosecutor.
21 minutes | Jun 11, 2017
Episode 2: The 99th Percentile with Avi Brudner
Avi Brudner In this episode, we have Avi Brudner on from Blue J Legal to discuss how he got a perfect 180 score on the LSAT (putting him in the 99th percentile of test takers or 20/100,000). Unfortunately, being a newbie hurt me on this one and my equipment died in the middle of the episode. However, if you are interested in standardized testing and the LSAT this is a must listen for Avi's tips. Avi breaks down some common myths about the LSAT and gives some basic tips on how to increase your score. He also walks me through when improvement is unlikely. Avi Brudner is Head of Strategy and Operations at Blue J Legal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 2008 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 2011. He worked as a corporate lawyer in New York prior to returning to Toronto to work at a global management consultant firm.
59 minutes | Jun 11, 2017
Episode 1: The Future of Trials with Doug Letto and Charles Binns
My first episode! I have two young lawyers: Doug Letto and Charles Binns on to talk about trials. We talk openly about the notion that lawyers spend every day in a courtroom and what lawyers actually do. We also delve deeply into our experiences with trials, the flaws of the system and the importance of human adversaries in a courtroom. Doug and Charles talk about jury psychology and the accuracy of movies like Runaway Jury. I also ask them to dispel some common myths about the process as well. What does artificial intelligence mean for the future of trials? Do we actually need human lawyers if robots could one day represent us in court? We explore this and other aspects in this podcast! Doug Letto is an associate with Mills and Mills LLP. Doug received his law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2015 and became a member of the Ontario Bar in 2016. While completing his legal studies, Doug was a supervisor at the student-run Legal Aid Ontario clinic, Community Legal Services where he handled a range of civil and criminal matters. Charles Binns is a consultant for the Ontario Hospital Association. Charles received his law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2015 and became a member of the Ontario Bar in 2016. Charles was also a supervisor at the student-run Legal Aid Ontario clinic, Community Legal Services where he handled a range of civil and criminal matters.
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