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Going Deep with Aaron Watson

Aaron Watson's show is a forum for having meaningful conversations about the passions, fears and problems of people from all walks of life. Guests talk about entrepreneurship, ultimate frisbee, finance and lifestyle design. Guests include Nathan Chan, Kevin Kelly, Bill Peduto, Morgan Housel, Noah Kagan, Tucker Max, and Barry Ritholtz.
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Now displaying: August, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

The Shop Local Movement is gaining steam, while our banks have gotten even more impersonal. How do things change?

 

George Cook believes he may have an answer.

 

His company, Honeycomb Credit, is building a platform for small businesses to borrow directly from their own community and loyal customer base. This creates affordable credit lines entrepreneurs and competitive returns to community members.

 

In this conversation, we discuss how George’s background in community banking informs his startup and the transformational impact that community lending can have on regional economies.

 

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George’s Challenge; Buy local. Find ways to support your community’s economy

 

Connect with George

LinkedIn

Instagram

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 301 with Rich Lunak where we discuss Innovation Works, southwestern PA investing, and how Rich got into the role.



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Aug 22, 2018

Eight years ago, 100,000s of people died in the Haitian earthquake. Many people donated money, but Ian Rosenberger was compelled to do more.

 

Ian co-founded Thread International, which has shipped nearly 200,000 lbs of recycled plastic out of Haiti to be processed into fabric. This has also created jobs for Haitian families and represents a forward thinking solution to issues of poverty..

 

Currently, the Thread Team is busy running a kickstarter campaign for a line of backpacks and other workweek essentials made with this important social mission.

 

We discuss traveling to Haiti, the doubts and stress that comes along with running a company, and the value of professional persistence.

 

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Ian’s Challenge; Say Yes.

 

Connect with Ian

LinkedIn

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out previous interviews with Thread investor Zach Malone, fellow sustainable fashion entrepreneur Nisha Blackwell, and handbag entrepreneur Wendy Downs.

 

Mentioned

God Grew Tired of Us

 

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Aug 20, 2018

It’s estimated that 50% of the population will be working independently by 2020. If this comes to fruition, the demand for shared space will continue to rise at a fast pace in the next year. According to some estimates, there could be up to 37,000 Coworking spaces worldwide by the end of 2018.

 

I sat down to discuss with Zach Ciccone, Principal & Head of Growth for the Beauty Shoppe.

 

Beauty Shoppe is an urban coworking company centered on a culture of service excellence and the belief that creating a richer workday for the individual directly benefits the surrounding social and professional community.

 

They are growing into new markets beyond Pittsburgh and transforming historic buildings into vibrant and beautiful workplaces. Let me know on Twitter where you work (@AaronWatson59).

 

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Zach’s Challenge; Take a risk. Get into a new environment.

 

Connect with Zach

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our episode with Wes Shonk where we talk about whiskey, bartending, and building a specialized skill set.



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Aug 15, 2018

Alison Alvarez knows a lot about a lot.

 

In just 30 minutes, she taught me about Charleston, West Virginia, the power of geo-tracking, and how she does market research. We didn’t even get into Japanese literature.

 

Alison is the CEO and co-founder of BlastPoint. She has spent years building big data tools for large companies and became convinced that more affordable and accessible solutions should exist.

 

She has emerged as an expert consultant regarding large geospatial data systems, lecturing around the country to teach people how to use data tools for themselves, and developing a library of free interactive coding lessons.

 

She currently sits on the advisory board of Y-Combinator’s Valor Water



If you liked this interview, check out previous tech CEO interviews like TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett, AlphaLab Gear alum Avi Geller, and CivicMapper founder Emily Mercurio.



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Alison’s Challenge; Try building new skills outside of your core focus. Stretch yourself.

 

Book Mentioned

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

 

Connect with Alison

LinkedIn

Twitter

Facebook

Website



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Aug 13, 2018

Ingrid Cook is SHzoom’s CEO. The company is an insurance-tech startup with a patented technology focused on automotive repairs.

SHzoom was designed to revolutionize the way the industry handles minor fender benders.  Rather than driving from shop to shop or waiting hours for a single estimate from a claims adjuster, SHzoom allows the end user to point and click for multiple repair cost estimates from nearby shops!

Aaron & Ingrid discuss the arduous patent process, the importance of a strong network, and the way a single moment of inspiration can change your life.

 

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Ingrid’s Challenge; Do something that you fear doing every single day.

 

Connect with Ingrid

LinkedIn

Facebook

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out previous interviews with folks from Ascender like Mark DeSantis, Kenny Chen, and Lynsie Campbell.



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Aug 8, 2018

Media and marketing people are all making big deals about video and audio. Not enough people are paying attention to the impact of maps.

 

Emily Mercurio’s is perfectly poised to help companies utilize the modern form of this old technology.

 

She is an expert in geology, geospatial technology, 2D/3D mapping, and remote sensing and helps her clients through her company CivicMapper.

 

We discuss the entrepreneurial skillset she's developed, her time in the oil & gas industry, and how powerful maps are at conveying information.

 

Emily’s Challenge; To develop as a leader, you must first know how to serve. Ask someone who is struggling how you can help them, and do it.

 

If you liked this interview, check out the previous episode we recorded with drone company entrepreneur Brendan Carroll who is helping farmers improve their crop yields, increase efficiency, and monitor their fields.

 

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Connect with Emily

CivicMapper’s Twitter

Emily's Twitter

LinkedIn

Website

 

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Aug 6, 2018

Adhithi Aji is applying her strong technical skills to deliver consumer insights & data to the CPG world. Her company Adrich is a Pittsburgh-based company that connects brands and retailers through product usage data and analytics.

 

In this conversation, we discuss iterating on digital products, the fundraising environment in Pittsburgh, and how Adhithi’s product scales.

 

Every aspiring tech entrepreneur should listen to this conversation and take note of how precise Adhithi is in her thinking and strategy.

 

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Adhithi’s Challenge; Find a way to help an entrepreneur.

 

Connect with Adhithi

LinkedIn

Website

 

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If you aren’t creating or curating content regularly, your clients and customers might forget you’re open for business.

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If you liked this interview, check out previous conversations with Pittsburgh tech CEOs like LegalSifter’s Kevin Miller, CivicScience’s John Dick, and Roadbotics’ Mark DeSantis.



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Aug 1, 2018

Lou Camerlengo founded fivestar*, a custom technology design, development, and consulting firm, in 1997.  Lou leads fivestar*’s business development and client retention efforts, driving company performance while maintaining a deep involvement in higher education, workforce, and nonprofit projects.

 

In this podcast, we discuss starting the business, building a cohesive team, and how Lou has been forced to evolve over the life of the company.

 

fivestar* has been twice ranked as an INC 5000 company, been named a Top 100 Best Workplaces in Pennsylvania, was twice named as a Best Places to Work in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and has appeared on the Pittsburgh Business Times Top 100 list four times.

 

Through their fivestar* Cares program, fivestar* provides volunteer time, project, and financial support to charitable organizations selected by an employee committee.



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Lou’s Challenge; Go do some form of volunteer work.

 

Mentioned

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins

 

Connect with Lou

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Website

 

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If you aren’t creating or curating content regularly, your clients and customers might forget you’re open for business.

YouTube

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If you liked this interview, check out episode 273 with Ryan Gayman where we discuss Pittsburgh being the “Silicon Valley of nonprofits”.



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