Adriana Withers is one of the partners in Vicious Circle Ultimate, an apparel company dedicated to custom manufacturing high performance gear for ultimate frisbee athletes. Her partner Don Cooper came up with the idea for VC just before Canadian Nationals in the summer of 1998 and the company has been growing ever since.
In this episode, Adriana discusses throwing apartment parties to pay rent, the challenges of starting up, and the proliferation of companies in her industry in recent years.
Adriana’s Challenge; Practice gratitude regularly and show appreciation for the people in your life.
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Hahna is the Chief Technical Officer and cofounder of Sole Power Technologies. The company builds an shoe insole that charges a battery while the used walks. That battery can be used to charge a cell phone or other electronic device.
As a child, Hahna was inspired by the technology in science fiction books, shows, and comics. She became an engineer because she wanted to make such technology a reality. For her, developing an energy harvesting shoe insert meant creating a device that could be found in an Isaac Asimov book. She also has a lifelong dream of going to space, which grew bigger while designing robots at NASA. As company CTO, she leads product design and is the only one capable of drawing more than stick figures.
Hahna’s Challenge; Spend some time every day learning about a topic you want to get smarter on.
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Ilana Diamond is the Managing Director of AlphaLab Gear, Innovation Works’ hardware start-up accelerator which provides physical product startups with connections, investment, mentorship and more. Ilana helps entrepreneurs rapidly progress through the early stages of product and customer development by leveraging her experience and network, gained from over 20 years of leading and growing companies, from early stage to exit.
Prior to running AlphaLab Gear, Ilana served as the President and Chief Executive Officer at Sima Products. She built Sima’s management team, developed and managed a network of Asian manufacturers and led profitable sales growth at national brick and mortar retail chains such as Target and Walmart, internet retailers such as Amazon.com, and specialty catalog retailers.Based on innovative technology developed by Sima, she also founded and managed a commercial alerting startup, raised outside capital spun it off into a separate entity. In 2010, Ms. Diamond negotiated the sale of Sima and transitioned operations to the new owners.
Ilana currently serves as a Member of the advisory board at Sole Power, LLC. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Tie Pittsburgh. Previously, she sat on the Executive Board of the Consumer Electronics Association.
Ilana’s Challenge; Pick one thing every day that you are going to do well. You can’t do everything well every single day.
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Theresa Brown, BSN, RN, works as a clinical nurse in Pittsburgh and recently wrote a NYT best-selling book, The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives.
Theresa received her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh, but before that earned, a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and taught at Tufts University. Her column "Bedside" has appeared on the New York Times op-ed page as well as on the Times blog “Opinionator” and she is a frequent contributor to the New York Times. Previously she wrote for the New York Times blog “Well." Her writing has also appeared on CNN.com, and in The American Journal of Nursing and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Center for Health Media and Policy at the Bellevue School of Nursing at Hunter College, and a participant in two different Robert Wood Johnson initiatives: "Flip the Clinic" and "The Power of Narrative."
Her first book Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between has been adopted as a textbook in Schools of Nursing across the country. Theresa lectures nationally on issues related to nursing, health care, and end of life. Her clinical work has been in medical oncology, hospice, and palliative care. Becoming a mom led Theresa to leave academia and pursue nursing. It is a career change she has never regretted.
Theresa’s Challenge; Spend 30 minutes reading one poem per week.
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This episode of Going Deep with Aaron Watson is brought to you by the Ultimate Athlete Project. The Ultimate Athlete Project is founded on helping athletes get results through well-developed workout plans that relieve you of the need to research effective workouts or worry about your workouts becoming boring. Check out a free core workout and learn more about what regular users are saying about the program.
Leah Lizarondo is an innovator and food advocate. She is also the founder of The Brazen Kitchen, a food education practice and influential blog and the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an innovative technology-driven nonprofit that fights hunger and waste.
Leah received her Master's Degree in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University graduating with Highest Distinction and is an advocate for healthy food accessibility, food safety policy and sustainability. She has trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and received her Certification in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University.
She served as one of the Trustees at the global Awesome Foundation: Food, serving with leaders and creative innovators in food and is an Ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
She began her career as a product manager in Southeast Asia, working in consumer packaged goods and as a consultant working with technology startups. She served in leadership positions at global nonprofits before moving on to her passion in food and health advocacy. She is interested in the intersection of food, health and innovation.
Leah’s work has been featured in print and online publications including MSN’s Re:Discover Series, NPR, Oprah.com, GOOD Magazine online, and lots of local media. The Brazen Kitchen was named one of the Top 100 Foodie Blogs in 2013 by IPE and won the 2013 National City & Regional Magazine Awards for Best Blog. In April 2014, she gave the TEDx Talk “Why the Farm Is Not Getting to the Table.”
Check out the CrowdRise Campaign
Leah’s Challenge; Write a letter to yourself one year from today explaining your vision for yourself.
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Avi Geller has taken a long and thoughtful route to entrepreneurship. During his time on Going Deep, he discusses how he moved to progressively smaller companies and developed a vision for the future of wearable tech.
He is now focused on “hearables”, a segment of tech focused on headsets and earpieces that deliver real time information to users. As a member of the AlphaLab accelerator, Avi is leading Maven Machines towards being a player in the Internet of Things.
Avi’s Challenge; Start something, like a social gathering or a project, that you take ownership of and do a great job.
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Ever wondered what the path to being an Amazon #1 bestseller looks like? Meet Taylor Pearson.
Taylor taught himself Portuguese while working as a freelance Spanish interpreter, then bought a one-way plane ticket to Brazil to teach English. Between teaching classes, he played semi-pro football and built a profitable publishing business selling advertising to kitchen furniture manufacturers.
He cold-called marketing agencies using my small kitchen furniture publishing business to get a job. Went from intern to lead project manager in less than six months at the leading digital marketing agency in Memphis. While there, he managed accounts for international manufacturing brands and higher education institutions.
He left that to join the Tropical MBA team, a top 25 iTunes podcast and 10k+ subscriber blog. There he assisted in event planning and community management for The Dynamite Circle, a private mastermind forum of over 1000 of the web’s top location independent entrepreneurs. He also managed the online marketing and sales for a portfolio of 7-figure eCommerce businesses in the hospitality industry, primarily the Portable Bar Company, which grew over 527%. Then, he ran sales and product development for a valet parking software startup, selling into enterprise parking operators while managing product development and strategy.
Now, he primarily writes on his blog and consults with authors, entrepreneurs, and CEOs about how to find clarity and confidence in their businesses, expand their marketing through thought leadership and scale their internal business systems.
Taylor’s Challenge; Publish something publicly this week and share it on social media.
Taylor’s Book = The End of Jobs
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
Connect with Taylor