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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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Mar 21, 2018

Nisha Blackwell is the founder & lead design curator of Knotzland Bowties. Founded in 2014, Knotzland specializes in custom handmade bow ties made from repurposed and reclaimed materials.

 

Driven by her passion for the environment and reducing waste, Nisha began Knotzland to create distinctive, fashionable goods that speak to the individuality of her customers. Dedicated to sourcing high-quality, salvaged materials, Knotzland issues limited edition, one-of-a-kind bow ties.

 

Nisha was recently named to Facebook’s small business council. We discuss her humble beginnings, how Instagram has been crucial for growing her business, and how mentors have played a role in her business.

 

Mentioned

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones

 

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Nisha’s Challenges; Support makers & businesses of color and find creative ways to reuse and upcycle material.

 

Connect with Knotzland

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Website

 

Nisha

Instagram

 

Connect with Piper Creative

YouTube

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out previous episodes with Pittsburgh Tech Council President Audrey Russo, Black Tech Nation founder Kelauni Cook, and community organizer William Generett.



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Mar 19, 2018

Michael is an ethicist, writer, artist, educator, and concerned citizen based out of Pittsburgh, PA. He received his PhD from CU-Boulder's Department of Computer Science in Fall 2017. He wrote a thesis focused on the use of socio-technical narrative as a way of communicating, comprehending, teaching, and debating the ethics of new and near-future technologies. His research spans topics such as design fiction, technology ethics, classroom design, engineering ethics pedagogy, futures, and risk.

 

Michael now serves as the executive director at Community Forge, a mission-driven organization dedicated to rehabbing the Johnston Elementary School in Wilkinsburg, PA into a community centered focused on education, arts, civics, and local business development.

 

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Michael’s Challenge; Either go to an unfamiliar neighborhood and try to venture into a small business or venue and talk to someone there.

 

Connect with Community Forge

Community Forge Website

Michael's Website

mike [at] forge [dot] community

 

Connect with Piper Creative

YouTube

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 131 with Larry Gioia where we explained the genesis of Connection University.



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Mar 14, 2018

Search funds are a distinct style of private equity firm that raises a small amount of capital to go find a business to buy.


Generational Transfer Entrepreneurs is a private investment firm that works with a group of entrepreneurial operators (Operators-in-Residence) that are looking to individually acquire, operate and grow a privately held businesses. GTE provides business owners with a unique transition opportunity with the entrepreneurs at GTE ready to step into the ownership role with the goal of nurturing and creating long-term value for the company.

Jamie talks with Aaron in this episode about the attributes he looks for in OiRs, how his business works, and the importance of self-awareness.

 

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Jamie’s Challenge; Analyze yourself and construct a daily schedule that puts you in a position to do your best work. Self-awareness is a superpower.

 

Connect with Jamie

LinkedIn

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 269 with Brent Beshore where we discuss long term investing, personal values, and how entrepreneurial experience makes better investors..

 

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Mar 12, 2018

Todd Bishop the is co-founder and managing editor of GeekWire, a leading technology news site based in Seattle. His company recently completed a one-month residence in Pittsburgh and learned about the burgeoning tech scene and the likelihood of Amazon setting up their HQ2 in town.

 

Bishop has covered Microsoft, Amazon, and the technology industry for more than a decade in Seattle, most recently as a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He launched his blog about Microsoft in September 2003, building it into a widely used resource for tracking the software giant.

 

In February 2008, Bishop was the first to publish internal Microsoft emails in which company executives privately criticized the Windows Vista operating system, even as they publicly praised it. His coverage of Bill Gates' departure from daily life at the company was published by papers including the New York Post. His blog has received honors including a 2008 Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.


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Todd’s Challenge; Leave your phone at home for an afternoon. Be genuine and open.

 

Connect with Todd

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 260 with Anthony Vennare where we discuss building a media business, the stair step approach to entrepreneurship, and building essential skills.


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Mar 7, 2018

Pittsburgh is well-known for the robotics and maker movements popping up around town. The software companies have been a bit lacking.

 

So, I wanted to feature Ryan Green, founder & CEO of Gridwise. Gridwise provides insights into events and activities around your city, so rideshare drivers can drive smarter, increase their daily trips and make more money.

 

We discuss finding a technical co-founder, the risks of starting a startup, and how Ryan is thinking about the future of the company.

 

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Ryan’s Challenge; Take the time to know the person driving your rideshare vehicle.

 

Connect with Ryan

LinkedIn

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our other interviews with Pittsburgh movers & shakers.



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Mar 5, 2018

Key Terms

CAC - Customer acquisition cost

LTV - Lifetime Value

ARR - Annual Recurring Revenue

MRR - Monthly Recurring Revenue

Churn Rate - % of customers that stop paying for your product/service

 

Ned is one of two founding partners at Birchmere Ventures, which is primarily focused on seed SaaS and marketplace investments. He led Birchmere’s investment in Cvent and served on its board for 11 years.

 

His other notable investments include TenMarks (acquired by Amazon), Neolinear (acquired by Cadence Design Systems), Peloton Technologies, Presence Learning, Identified Technologies, Modsy, Gem, Gradeslam, Mapper.ai, Ikos, SubCentral, OneKloud, Sleeperbot, and Treatspace.

 

We cover the 101 of venture capital and how the Pittsburgh startup ecosystem has evolved. Watch the behind-the-scenes on Piper Creative’s vlog.

 

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Ned’s Challenge; Run personal experiments like intermittent fasting.

 

Connect with Ned

LinkedIn

Twitter

Website

ned@birchmerevc.com

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 85 with Sean Ammirati where we discuss the science of growth and why Facebook beat Friendster.



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Feb 28, 2018

This is part two of our series on Instagram Chance will be speaking at our April 12th Instagram seminar in Pittsburgh. Get your tickets now.

 

Chancellor Humphrey is one of the most promising young creators in Pittsburgh. Even though he calls himself out for “sounding old” in this interview, he’s really just at the beginning of a very promising career.

 

In addition to top-notch photography skills, Chance has built an event series called Creatives Drink with his business partner Cody Baker. Once a quarter, they throw a really fun party at venues around Pittsburgh that is free to attend and consists of a diverse mix of attendees.

 

In this conversation, we touch on building your photography skills, throwing great parties, and stealing like an artist.

 

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Chance’s Challenge; Don’t let fear paralyze you. Take action.

 

Connect with Chance

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 184 with the Drinking Partners Ed Bailey & Day Bracey where we discuss building a stand up comedy career.



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Feb 26, 2018

This is part one of a two-part series on Instagram. Erin will be speaking at our April 12th Instagram seminar in Pittsburgh. Get your tickets now. 

 

Erin Bachman is a wife and mother of two.  At her website, Caffeine & Cuddles, she documents the trials and tribulations of being a new mom.

 

Her content and career, through brand deals and sponsorship, represents the brave new world of niche influencer marketing. While building a community and sharing her daily life, Erin has found a way to be a stay at home mom and contribute an income to her household.

 

During pregnancy and postpartum, she stumbled across the mommy blogging world and fell in love with how helpful and open women were with their experiences.  She also learned a thing or two about building an Instagram account that drives meaningful business results.


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Erin’s Challenge; Take one thing you learned from the interview and implement it on your own account.

 

Connect with Erin

Twitter

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 88 with Sunny Lenarduzzi where we discuss YouTube, Snapchat, and sharing your story.


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Feb 26, 2018

I don’t think I have ever been this excited about a professional project in my entire life. My new company, Piper Creative, is a a digital agency that provides strategy, delivery, and analysis. We specialize in a few key service offerings.

 

Instagram Content Production & Account Building

Podcast Production, Strategy Consulting, and Guest Acquisition

Documentary-as-a-Service (Vlogging 2.0)

 

You don’t have to be interested in being a client to reach out and set up a meeting. I’d love to talk with you about it.

 

Watch the day-to-day growth of the Company on YouTube.

 

Connect with Piper Creative

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Website


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Feb 19, 2018

ZeroSixEight Founder Dan Bull spoke at the 2018 Going Deep Summit about second chances, entrepreneurship, and human potential.

Damon's company is Codex Security; https://www.codexsecure.com/

Get your tickets for GDS 2019 before prices go up
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/going-deep-summit-20-tickets-42614583366

Produced and Edited by Aaron Watson

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Feb 14, 2018

Adam Haritan is one of the greatest foragers in North America. At the 2018 Going Deep Summit, Adam spoke about the timeless lessons that we can all learn from mother nature.

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Produced and Edited by Aaron Watson

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Feb 12, 2018

Ed Latimore is an author, heavyweight boxer, and inspirational speaker.

Ed spoke at the 2018 Going Deep Summit about resilience, embarrassment, and accomplishing your goals.

Get your tickets for GDS 2019 before prices go up
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/going-deep-summit-20-tickets-42614583366

Produced and Edited by Aaron Watson

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Feb 8, 2018

Audrey Russo is the President of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the oldest and largest technology trade association in North America.

 

She interviewed my on what I learned from my first large event.

 

Get your tickets for GDS 2019 before prices go up
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Produced and Edited by Aaron Watson

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Feb 5, 2018

Leah Lizarondo spoke at the 2018 Going Deep Summit about 412 Food Rescue, food insecurity & waste, and the power we all possess to make change.

The 412 Food Rescue community is responsible for 2.6 million lbs. surplus food rescued, 2.2 million meals delivered to food insecure communities, and the reduction of over 1.4 million lbs. in CO2 emissions.

Get your tickets for GDS 2019 before prices go up
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/going-deep-summit-20-tickets-42614583366

Produced and Edited by Aaron Watson

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Livestream provided by Work Hard Digital

Feb 1, 2018

Larry Gioia spoke at the 2018 Going Deep Summit about connection, heart speak, and headspace.

Larry is the PwC Chief of Staff for Global Digital Strategy, the founder of Dynamic Paddlers, and the co-founder of the Pittsburgh Adaptive Sports Network.

Get your tickets for GDS 2019 before prices go up
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/going-deep-summit-20-tickets-42614583366

Produced and Edited by Aaron Watson

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Jan 31, 2018

Zak Slayback is a career strategist and coach who focuses on teaching the career skills that school never taught. This talk is about his new book "How to Get Ahead When You Have Nothing to Offer"

He's the author of the 2016 Amazon best-seller, The End of School. His writing reaches millions on the issues of professional development and personal growth through career success.

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Produced and Edited by Aaron

Jan 24, 2018

John Fetterman is the current Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Fetterman earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Albright College in 1991 and a master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. He moved to Braddock in 2001 to serve with AmeriCorps and start a non-profit organization, Braddock Redux.

 

He won the Braddock mayoral election in 2005 by one vote, and was re-elected in 2009 and 2013. As mayor, Fetterman has drawn international attention for trying to revitalize the economy in Braddock, with an article in The New York Times, an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and a Levi’s jeans ad. He has made equality, environmental protection, gay rights, immigration and marijuana legalization major campaign issues.

 

Fetterman is a self-described democratic socialist. He ran for the United States Senate in 2016, but was defeated in the Democratic primary. He is currently running for lieutenant governor.



Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

John’s Challenge; Be an educated voter.

 

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 134 with Gisele Fetterman or any of my other interviews with Pittsburgh movers & shakers.



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Jan 22, 2018

Mixing things up from the last two mixes we shared. Samuel Andres is the resident DJ for LUXE Creative.

 

Track List

All Night Long (Deep mix) - A2HP Vince, Dave Leatherman

Booty Call (Vocal Mix) - Jay Vegas

Fantasy (Jay Vegas Disco Remix) - Housemechanix, Marley Munroe

Surrender (Original Mix) - Shan, Gerd Janson, Gerd Janson & Shan

Gimmie What I Want (Original Mix) - Ron Carroll, Aires Adora

Ever Been Feat. Smashing Beat (Original Mix) - Samuele Sartini

Corrida (Original Mix) - Charles J

Confess (Original Mix) - ATFC, Seamus Haji

Stardust (Original Club Mix) - Raul Mendes, Jude & Frank

 

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Samuel’s Challenge; Only buy the songs that make you feel something in your chest.

 

If you liked this interview, check out episodes 259 with Totally Normal and 170 with Dj JRod.



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Jan 17, 2018

How do you go from studying journalism in the midwestern United States to revolutionizing the education system of another continent? I don’t know. So I asked Audrey Cheng about her company.

 

The Moringa School is enabling a whole generation of high-potential, proactive people passionate about technology to become top mobile and web developers by equipping them with skills to do so. Through top quality teachers and a curated curriculum, the school aims to world-class developers in Africa.

 

Founder Audrey Cheng has partnered with Hack Reactor, a top Silicon Valley coding school, to develop a world-class intro-to-programming course and an immersive, intensive 19-week program to train top mobile, web and front-end developers.

 

The World Bank has chosen Moringa School to be their Middle East and Africa location in their study on the effectiveness of coding bootcamps in emerging markets.

 

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Audrey’s Challenge; Be aware of your emotions. Pause. And tell yourself, “It’s going to be ok.”

 

 

If you liked this interview, check out previous episodes with sous vide entrepreneur Lisa Fetterman and angel investor Li Jiang.

 

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Jan 15, 2018

Beth Caldwell is an author, speaker, business success strategist and a host for Pittsburgh BizTV Shows. Since 2014, she has been a global instructor with the Steve Harvey Success Institute. She is also a columnist for the Pittsburgh Business Times newspaper and Smart Business magazine, but is best known as the founder of Pittsburgh Professional Women and Leadership Academy for Women.

 

Recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine as an influential and innovative leader, Beth was named  a “40 Under 40″ winner the day before her 40th birthday. In October she was recognized with the Pennsylvania Woman of Courage Award. Beth teaches workshops on leadership, business, and inspiration to audiences worldwide.

 

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Beth’s Challenges; Stop trying to do everything at once and Stop making decisions based on what other people might think.

 

Beth’s Eight Easy Ways to Enjoy an Effective 2018

 

If you liked this interview, check out these interviews with social broadcaster Sunny Lenarduzzi and Super Connector Larry Gioia.

Jan 10, 2018

Employers are slowly embracing remote work and flexible systems as the deployment of the digital age accelerates. Why are moms being left out of the fun?

 

Erica Peterson is the Founder of Moms Can: Code, an online community for current and future moms who code. She sits at the nexus of tech talent and employers looking to gain an edge. She’s also inspired quite a few new entrepreneurs.

 

Erica is passionate about exposing women and children to STEM and was recently selected as a member of The Incline’s Who’s Next: Education class for her work as Founder & Board President of Science Tots.

 

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Erica’s Challenge; Call 5 moms you know and tell them about Moms Can Code.

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 118 with Kevin Kelly where we discuss the future of technology and the forces shaping society.



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Jan 8, 2018

Ryan is one of the engines stirring the pot of the Pittsburgh nonprofit scene. In addition to incubating young organization through Social Venture Partners, he also actively consults using his experience in sales, partnership development, strategy execution, and sustainable investment analysis.

 

Prior to CitizenCity, Ryan led U.S. outreach for Humanity in Action–an international human rights organization that cultivates ethical leaders. We discuss his background and his views on what makes a project successful.

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Ryan’s Challenges; If you’re an entrepreneur, think about how your core tenets could help solve a community challenge. If you’re in Pittsburgh and want to be more involved in your philanthropy, come join SVP.

 

 

Mentioned

Effective Altruism

#15 Ian Neumaier

Social Venture Partners

 

If you liked this interview, check out more interviews with Pittsburgh's Movers and Shakers.


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Jan 3, 2018

In their new book, Elephant in the Brain, Kevin & Robin explore the selfish motives that are driving everything we do. From conversation and consumption, to medicine and religion, evolutionary psychology can explains all of the quirky behaviors we perpetuate through the perspective of self-interest.

 

Kevin Simler is a writer and software engineer currently living in San Francisco, CA. He writes a popular blog called Melting Asphalt. Kevin joined the Peter Thiel-founded Palantir Technologies in 2006 where he worked for 7 years as an engineer, engineering manager, and product designer.

 

Robin Hanson is an associate professor of economics at George Mason University and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. He has a PhD in social science from Caltech, master's in physics and philosophy from U. Chicago, and worked for nine years in artificial intelligence as a research programmer at Lockheed and NASA. He helped pioneer the field of prediction markets and blogs at OvercomingBias.com.

 

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Kevin’s Challenge; Look inwards and try to be more intellectually honest.

 

Robin’s Challenge; Give humanity a break.

 

The Book

Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler & Robin Hanson

 

 

If you liked this interview, check out past episodes like 255 with Dan Munro where we discuss the rising costs of healthcare and 55 with Morgan Housel where we discuss cognitive biases. You can also find Robin’s previous appearance on the podcast.

Jan 1, 2018

This interview threw me out of my element. What a great way to start the new year. I get pretty uncomfortable with the notion of transhumanism and implanting technology into the body through an elective procedure. Luckily, I got to talk it over with Ryan.

 

Ryan O’Shea is a spokesperson and advisor for biotechnology startup company Grindhouse Wetware, which is dedicated to creating technology to augment human capabilities. Ryan is also a founder of the Carnegie Mellon University-based artificial intelligence startup Behaivior, which uses wearables and machine learning to predict and intervene in human behaviors to promote positive health outcomes. Behaivior is currently a competitor in the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition.

Ryan has previously worked as a host and producer for the Pittsburgh ABC Television affiliate. He currently hosts the technology and futurism-themed Future Grind podcast and has produced talks around the world on the topic of citizen science, making, and biohacking

 

Attend my one-day conference January 27th in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.

 

Ryan’s Challenge; Question your assumptions. Why are you scared of these ideas? Reach out and continue the conversation.

 


If you liked this interview, check out previous tech-focused episodes with Robert Scoble, Joseph Lubin, and Dennis Mortensen.

Dec 20, 2017

This is one of the best interviews I've had the pleasure of sharing on my podcast. All credit goes to Brent.

 

Connect with Brent

LinkedIn

Twitter

Website

 

Here are the other best finance-related and blockchain podcasts I’ve done.

 

I would have never gotten Brent to come on my show if I had not first heard his excellent interviews on Patrick O'Shaughnessy's Invest Like the Best. Check out all three episodes;

Ep.10

Ep. 22

Ep. 30

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