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Going Deep with Aaron Watson

Aaron Watson is the CEO of Piper Creative. On this show, you'll hear thoughtful, focused conversations with entrepreneurs, executives, and innovators. Guests include Nathan Chan, Kevin Kelly, Bill Peduto, Morgan Housel, Noah Kagan, Tucker Max, and Barry Ritholtz. This is the biggest business podcast in Pittsburgh.
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Feb 20, 2019

Teresa Huber is the CEO of Intervala, a full-service manufacturer that produces customized electronic and electromechanical solutions for the industrial, medical, and transportation sectors.

 

She has led Intervala since it’s inception in January 2016 and is responsible for leading the company’s strategic direction and long-term growth. Teresa was named 2018 CEO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

 

Teresa previously served as chief executive officer for TMG Electronics and chief operating officer of Pinnacle Electronics.

 

In this conversation, Aaron and Teresa discuss how to establish a healthy company culture, where Teresa went to raise funding for Intervala, and why thinking long-term is a strategic advantage.

 

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Teresa’s Challenge; Don’t accept the status quo.

 

Connect with Teresa

Linkedin

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 131 with Larry Gioia where we discuss how to end transactional networking and start connecting.


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Feb 18, 2019

Nick Merich has been an entrepreneur for a while. As a kid, he’s ring doorbells and ask to mow lawns for money.

 

Today, he DMs the world’s biggest music artist to educate them about his service, Songlink.

 

Songlink empowers musicians to share their music more efficiently with platform-agnostic links.

 

In this discussion, Aaron and Nick talk about the disintermediation of the music industry, how Nick DMs dozens of artists every day, and why they’ve stayed bootstrapped.



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Nick’s Challenge; Meditate Everyday.

 

Connect with Nick

Instagram

Linkedin

 

Song Link

Website



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Feb 13, 2019

Courtney Ehrlichman is an expert in mobility and specializes in advising economic development organizations, startup founders, venture capitalists, and government agencies. Her job requires fluency in new modalities of mobility, connected/autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and smart city applications.

 

Her background is extensive.

 

She designed and implemented Carnegie Mellon University’s Smart Mobility Challenge in Southwestern PA, matching identified mobility needs of local municipalities with researchers and technologists.

 

We talk about the wide range of considerations leaders and innovators need to take to steward a better future for all.

  

Courtney’s Challenge; Think about how much real estate is occupied by concrete & asphalt and how to re-use it.

 

Connect with Courtney

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

Book

Autonomy by Lawrence D Burns

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro  

 

We’ve interviewed a number of the most influential transportations entrepreneurs and innovators

 

Bryan Salesky - Argo Ai

Mark DeSantis - RoadBotics

Griffin Schultz - Rapid Flow Technologies

Ryan Green - Gridwise

 

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Feb 11, 2019

Aaron Morris is a roboticist and computer vision expert working on his third startup.

 

After earning a PHD from Carnegie Mellon University, Aaron has spent his career in the world of autonomous robots, mapping, perception, computer vision, planning systems and machine learning. His career has placed him in companies at varying sizes and stages where he has launched products, raised venture investment, and built products.

 

His second startup, AllPoint Systems was acquired by Autodesk, which led to Aaron leading the Autodesk Reality Solutions product division.

 

Now, his company, Allvision, is arming companies and institutions with insights and intelligence through detailed 3D digital representations of the physical world.


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Aaron’s Challenge; Take a different mode of transit on a familiar route. Recognize how difference these experiences can be.

 

Connect with Aaron

Linkedin

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out three previous interviews we’ve done in the mobility & transportation space with Roadbotics founder Mark Desantis, Rapid Flow Technologies CEO Griffin Schultz, and LaneSpotter founder Lynsie Campbell.




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Feb 4, 2019

How do you go from selling medical equipment to running a high-end clothing company? Ask David Alan.

 

David Alan Clothing company produces custom clothing, but it has been a long and arduous process to figure out this industry. In this interview, David graciously shares his experiences finding manufacturers in China, keeping celebrity clients happy, and outworking the competition.

 

David taught himself to sew from YouTube and sunk his life savings into making his company a reality. This degree of self-belief and diligence is exceptionally rare. Our conversation spilled over into our time after the mics went off. There will surely be a round two.


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David’s Challenge; Recognize that there will always be disruption. Focus on your ability to deliver in spite of that disruption.

 

Connect with David

Linkedin

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 349 with Bri Conley where we discuss running a boutique, how to stay on top of fashion trends, and the importance of Instagram for a clothing company.



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Jan 28, 2019

There are plenty of people that think they have a good chili recipe. Very few bet their careers on it. That’s what first caught our eye about Jordan Robarge.

 

After working in the startup world as a Venture for America fellow, Jordan started a food truck business called Revival Chili. He found success quickly and was profitable within three months.

 

Revival Chili’s business is simple: Sell delicious chili products to the people of Pittsburgh in a tiny house style food truck. What makes it different, is Revival’s focus on creating jobs for unemployed ex-offenders, a disadvantaged group often overlooked in U.S. Cities.

 

After proving his business chops, Jordan doubled down and bought a diner. The goal is to put even more people to work.

 

In this conversation, Aaron and Jordan discuss how he cold-called his way to early success, how you can buy a business for less than $100,000, and what the Revival brand represents.

 

Jordan’s food truck, Revival Chili, will be a lunch option at the 2019 Going Deep Summit.

 

Jordan’s Challenge; Go out and connect with 5 people from different background. Have a tangible take away from each conversation.

 

Connect with Jordan

Linkedin

 

Revival Chili

Facebook

 

Nancy’s Revival

Facebook

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 157 with Andrew Yang where we discuss the start of Venture for America, why more people need to work at startups, and how other cities will benefit from this focus.



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Jan 21, 2019

It takes guts, vision, and intelligence to see where things are going before everyone else and act upon it. Tracy Certo is the founder and publisher of NEXTpittsburgh, an online magazine about the people advancing Pittsburgh and the cool and innovative things happening in the region.

 

Tracy previously started the first online publication in Pittsburgh as editor and then publisher 11 years ago and left to launch NEXT in 2014.

 

In this conversation, Aaron and Tracy discuss how Tracy has grown as a business person, how she prepared the launch NEXT, and how her team finds their stories.

 

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Tracy’s Challenge; Diversify where you get your information.

 

Connect with Tracy

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Linkedin

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our enormous catalog of interviews with Pittsburgh’s biggest influencers, top entrepreneurs, and largest power brokers.

 

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Jan 14, 2019

Rachel Reid founded her cosmetics company, Subtl Beauty, to better serve women on the go. Her line of makeup products comes in compact, customizable stacks that can be easily thrown into a purse or bag.

 

Rachel first realized this need when she was consulting during the summer of 2016. Since she wasn’t even spending 2 nights a week in her own home, she needed a beauty solution that traveled well and could fit in a small clutch.

 

Now, she is challenging the status quo of lazy, bulky cosmetic design. In this conversation, Rachel shares how she does extensive A/B testing to get the most out of her ads, why she studies companies like Stitch Fix, and the goals she is pursuing.

 

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Rachel’s Challenge; Start your day with consuming good information.

 

Resources

Daily Carnage

Shopify Blog

Adweek Newsletter

Marketing School

 

Connect with Rachel

Linkedin

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Rachel’s Instagram

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 352 with Kate Zarvis where we discuss running a nail salon, how to retain talent, and how to create a space where clients can relax.


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Jan 8, 2019

You gotta check out part One before listening to this one.

 

In Part Two, Jason discusses his current companies, how he invested in Glen Meakam's company (Forever.com), and how he thinks about giving back to others.

 

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Jason’s Challenge; Give more. Be Kind. Pull someone else up.

 

Connect with Jason

Linkedin

Website

jason@wolfe.com

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 263 with Audrey Russo where we discuss what the Pittsburgh Tech Council does, how Audrey progressed through her career, and some recommended reading.

 

Also, check out Going Deep Summit 2.0 speaker Gisele Fetterman.

Jan 7, 2019

Jason Wolfe is an entrepreneur through and through. After growing up in the Milton Hershey School, an orphanage founded by Milton Hershey, Jason found himself living out of his car.

 

He taught himself how to code by using books at the local library and CompUSA's 'Building the Perfect Web'. This led to building the first coupon website and launching his first internet business. From 1995 to 2000, Jason built the business, raising $500k in VC from Jupiter Media and garnering >$1 million in annual sales and 20 million page views per month.

 

MyCoupons.com sold for roughly $23 million in 2000, shortly before the DotCom bubble burst.

 

Jason rolled over his proceeds into successive wins with his companies Direct Response Technologies (acquired by Digital River for $22 million), Jambo Media (for $15 million) and Giftcards.com (by Blackhawk Network for $120 million).

 

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Connect with Jason

Linkedin

Website

jason@wolfe.com

Dec 26, 2018

Anthony Hughes is the CEO and founder of Tech Elevator, a coding bootcamp programs with physical locations across the Midwest. His work is oriented around supporting people in rapidly acquiring technology skills so they can have more meaningful careers.

 

Anthony previously worked for JumpStart, an economic development organization focused on startups in Northeast Ohio. At JumpStart, he founded the Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, which matched successful entrepreneurs and executives with budding technology entrepreneurs in mentoring relationships.

 

In this conversation, Anthony and Aaron discuss how the program works, how Anthony came to the Midwest from England, and why the work is so fulfilling.

 

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Anthony’s Challenge; Broaden your perspective on hiring tech talent. You don’t need a degree to be a valuable contributor.

 

Connect with Anthony

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 314 with John Dick, 265 with Kelauni Cook, and other interviews with Pittsburgh power brokers.

 

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Dec 19, 2018

Pittsburgh is a sports town. But, is the city ready to rally for gaming?

 

Rob Lee thinks so.

 

He co-founded the Pittsburgh Knights to compete in esports competitions like PUBG, Fortnite, and Super Smash Bros. He also recently inked a partnership with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Their core mission is to take the best practices from traditional sports and apply them to esports. Pittsburgh is the City of Champions; it has a long history of strong sports franchises and passionate fans. Can they continue the legacy?

 

In this conversation, Aaron & Rob discuss how that might happen.

 

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Rob’s Challenge; Try watching an esports event.

 

Connect with Rob

Instagram

Twitter

LinkedIn

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 344 with Griffin Schultz where we discuss smart sensors, fixing traffic with tech, and selling to city governments.



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Dec 17, 2018

I sat down with Jamilka Borges for 45 minutes on a cold December morning to find out. She’s run kitchens at a number of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants and surely has some stories to tell from each experience.

 

Jamilka is currently the Executive Chef at Independent Brewing Company & Hidden Harbor, which is part of the S+P Restaurant Group. Prior to joining IBC & Hidden Harbor, she served as Executive Chef at Pittsburgh’s Spoon, the Livermore and Bar Marco.

 

She has an expertise in French, Italian and Latin cuisine and her commitment to a unique “farm to table” dining experience led Bar Marco to be nominated for Best New Restaurant 2013 by Bon Appetit.

 

In addition to pursuing her own professional heights, she also makes a concerted effort to give back to her community. She works with 412 Food Rescue, a non-profit organization that is looking to eliminate hunger while reducing food waste.

 

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Jamilka’s Challenge; Help fight hunger with a local charity.

 

Connect with Jamilka

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our episodes with star chef Kevin Sousa and Big Burrito Group executive chef Bill Fuller.

 

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Dec 10, 2018

Jim Gibbs is the CEO & Co-founder of Meter Feeder, a low cost payment and enforcement solution for small to mid-sized governments.

 

Jim’s startup is modernizing the way that people pay for parking and has already been through Y Combinator in the winter of 2016. The company is headquartered in Braddock and can boast a considerably lower burn rate than companies that stuck around in the Bay Area.

 

In this conversation, Aaron & Jim discuss the how he sells into municipalities, why his technology is revolutionary, and how the Pittsburgh scene has evolved.

 

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Jim’s Challenge; Get outside your circle and interact with new groups.

 

Connect with Jim

Twitter

LinkedIn

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out all the previous interviews we’ve done with Pittsburgh’s movers and shakers.



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Dec 3, 2018

Toni Murphy is a VP at Comcast Business and can teach you a lot about leadership.

 

At Comcast, Toni leads a team of more than 150 across four states. She is a force in shaping cultural transformation at the company by leading the creation of the Keystone Region’s Diversity & Inclusion Council. She also acts as executive champion for its Black Employee Network.

 

Prior to Comcast, Toni worked in Investment Banking at UBS and the Gores Group.

 

Aaron and Toni discuss how she mentors hundreds of people, the impact her mom has had on her work ethic, and how to win inside a corporation.

 

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Toni’s Challenge; Go find one person and say, “I know I don’t know as much as I should know about you, tell me more.”

 

Connect with Toni

Linkedin

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 263 with Audrey Russo where we discuss the nation’s oldest tech trade association, how careers evolve, and the Pittsburgh tech scene.



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Nov 26, 2018

Kevin Sousa is the chef and owner of Superior Motors, an American restaurant that opened in July 2017 in Pittsburgh. It was named one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places by Time Magazine, a Top 10 best restaurant in the country by Food and Wine Magazine, and the best new restaurant of 2018 by Pittsburgh Magazine

 

The restaurant was partially funded through Kickstarter, setting a record for a restaurant by raising $310,225 to break ground

 

Kevin was previously the chef/owner of Salt of the Earth, Union Pig & Chicken and Station Street Food.

 

In this conversation, Aaron and Kevin discuss how his current successes have been informed by his failures, how Kevin’s work is tied to his interest in social progress, and the best ways to foster a team environment that supports everyone.

 

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Kevin’s Challenge; Don’t judge people.

 

Connect with Kevin

Twitter

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 146 with Bill Fuller where we discuss the Big Burrito Group, the Pittsburgh food scene, and how restaurants work.



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Nov 20, 2018

I solicited my friends for advice and wisdom they wish they had when they were 27.

Nov 19, 2018

Priya Amin is the cofounder of Flexable, a company that specializes in providing pop up childcare at professional & personal events, offices, and retail stores.

 

Priya discovered this need when she became a mother and realized she was missing out on networking opportunities and events because of her need for childcare. Together with previous guest Jessica Strong, she founded Flexable to solve the problem and create a more inclusive business community.

 

She holds an MBA from the University of Arizona, and previously worked as a product and brand manager at IBM and Nestle.

 

In this conversation, Aaron & Priya discuss how to hone your presentation skills, the founding story of the company, and how to create a more inclusive community.

 

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Priya’s Challenge; Find cool & innovative ways to be inclusive

 

Connect with Priya

LinkedIn

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out;

 

Episode 75 with Jessica Strong where we discuss Whetstone Workgroup & new models for coworking.

 

Episode 274 with Erica Peterson where we discuss teaching Moms how to Code.

 

Episode 50 with Ilana Diamond her role in launching & leading AlphaLab Gear.

 

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Nov 12, 2018

Kate Zarvis has been in the beauty industry since she was 15 and got a job washing hair. Now, she owns her own nail salon that is growing rapidly.

 

Hannah and I cam by her salon to learn about how she’s doing it.

 

Perhaps the most interesting idea we touched on was the difficulty technology will have in disrupting her industry.

 

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Kate’s Challenge; Stop comparing yourself to other people on social media.

 

Connect with Kate

Facebook

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 349 with Bri Conley where we discuss how she’s built a specialty boutique off of Instagram and Snapchat.



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Oct 22, 2018

Piper Creative CEO Aaron Watson was invited to speak to the Professional Sales Class at Duquesne University. Aaron made a point of driving home that every college student should establish a presence on LinkedIn and use it to find their next job.

 

2018 is the year of LinkedIn. It will likely never be as good again.

Oct 17, 2018

Dave Mastovich is the founder and CEO of Massolutions.

 

In this conversation talks about how he transitioned out of the corporate world into owning his own business and how he developed entrepreneurial tendencies while working in other businesses.

 

Dave has been on the cutting edge of utilizing the gig economy to build his business and has inspired his team to be creative, loyal, and scrappy through trust and freedom.

 

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Dave’s Challenge; Get comfortable in uncomfortable positions. The next time you catch yourself make excuses, take stock and redirect yourself.

 

Connect with Dave

LinkedIn

Website

dave@masssolutions.biz

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 269 with Brent Beshore where we discuss different styles of investing, the proper motivations for your work, and .



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Oct 15, 2018

Bri Conley is the founder of No. 14 Boutique in Lawrenceville, one of the few shops bucking the trend of “The Death of Retail”.

 

How?

 

By establishing great relationships with clients, staying on top of fashion trends to offer a distinct selection, and masterfully utilizing Snapchat and Instagram to create demand.

 

In this conversation, Brianne explains how she used Snapchat & Instagram stories to drive demand, what she felt like the market was missing when she opened her store, and how she’s blending ecommerce with in-store experience.

 

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Bri’s Challenge; Show up in person to get what you want.

 

Connect with Bri

Bri’s Instagram

No. 14’s Instagram

Facebook

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 295 with Nisha Blackwell where we discuss her handmade bowties business and episode 305 with Wendy Downs where we explore the blending of ecommerce and physical retail.



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Oct 10, 2018

Amir Banifatemi is the General Manager for Innovation and Growth at XPrize and is an Executive Advisor for the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE & the ANA Avatar XPRIZE.

 

Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Banifatemi began his career at the European Space Agency and then held executive positions at Airbus, AP-HP and the European Commission division for information society and media.

 

He’s previously managed two venture capital funds and contributed to the formation of more than 10 startups with emphasis on Information Technologies, Telecommunications, IoT, and Healthcare.

 

We talk about how the XPrize stimulates innovation, what the Avatar XPrize is pursuing, and how the teams in the competition are formed.



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Amir’s Challenge; Think about how our human evolution will look over the next two decades. Discuss this with others so we can call have a better future.

 

Connect with Amir

Instagram

Twitter

Linkedin

Avatar.xprize.org

avatar@xprize.org

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 240 with Kenny Chen where we discuss the impact of the AI XPrize, establishing a network in a new city, and Thrival 2017.



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Oct 8, 2018

Michael Hruska is a technologist with experiences spanning across standards, emerging technologies, learning, and science. He is a former researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and now provides technology, business model and innovation solutions to Fortune 500, government and startups.

 

His team has built award winning products and delivered solutions that support millions of users.  

 

Michael is an advisor/mentor to ed tech startups for GSV Capital.  Michael hosts a monthly entrepreneur meetup and other events to support local and regional entrepreneurship. He serves as a mentor and guide for a number of startups.  He also serves as an advisor the Robert Waters Trust Fund at the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies to support entrepreneurship and early stage companies.

 

This conversation runs the gamut from small town business to organizing a band to eating with Frank Zappa.

 

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Mike’s Challenge; Go do something new, with new people, in a new place. Get uncomfortable.

 

Connect with Mike

LinkedIn

Food Facebook Channel

Problem Solutions Website

 

Books Mentioned

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 131 with Larry Gioia where we discuss #ABCD, Connection University, and how to make introductions for others.



Underwritten by Piper Creative

A digital agency that provides strategy, delivery, and analysis specializing in a few key service offerings.

Documentary-as-a-Service (Vlogging 2.0)

Instagram Content Production & Account Building

Podcast Production, Strategy Consulting, and Guest Acquisition

 

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

YouTube

Instagram



Subscribe on iTunes | Stitcher | Overcast | PodBay

Oct 3, 2018

Sandra Mau is the founder & CEO of TrademarkVision, a startup doing visual brand protection. She and her team of machine learning engineers are developing a top visual search engine for trademarks and logos.

 

In this conversation, we talk about why she has another office in Australia, how the algorithm simplifies work for IP lawyers, and shares stories of scrappy startups at events.

 

Prior to starting TrademarkVision, Sandra was a Senior Computer Vision Research Engineer at NICTA doing R&D in computer vision, machine learning, and mobile projects.

 

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Sandra’s Challenge; Think about where you want to be in 5 years and then break it down into actionable steps you can take to accomplish it.

 

Connect with Sandra

LinkedIn

Twitter

Instagram

Trademark.Vision

Designs.Vision

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 334 with Alison Alvarez where we discuss geospatial data, finding a cofounder, and being a modern polymath.



Underwritten by Piper Creative

A digital agency that provides strategy, delivery, and analysis specializing in a few key service offerings.

Documentary-as-a-Service (Vlogging 2.0)

Instagram Content Production & Account Building

Podcast Production, Strategy Consulting, and Guest Acquisition

 

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

YouTube

Instagram



Subscribe on iTunes | Stitcher | Overcast | PodBay

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