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@techvitamin

John Pollard

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@techvitamin

@techvitamin

John Pollard

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Followers
1
Plays
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About Us

@techvitamin is a podcast featuring people making tech happen all over the world, but with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest, the Bay Area and Boston. Every episode will be roughly 60 minutes, and will feature a rotating co-host, and a special guest. Our web presence is at thetechvitamin.com; our twitter is twitter.com/techvitamin; and our facebook page is at facebook.com/techvitamin.

Latest Episodes

@techvitamin 2.7: T.A. McCann, serial entrepreneur, ex-pro sailor, on healthcare tech and grinding it out

If you’re competing with T.A. McCann in the startup world, know that he’s racedaround the world in boats, in horrible conditions, and has probably surrounded himself with people who, like him, will not complain because they enjoy the grind— after they’ve been strategic and have arrived at the race with the tools to win. Which he’s done. A lot. T.A. was theFounder and CEO of Gist, which he sold toResearch in Motion in 2011. He’s also a relentless contributor to the Seattle startup scene, whether aspart of TechStars or Startup Weekend, as an Angel investor or now as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Providence. It’s fun to talk about sailing as a metaphor for the startup life. The parallels are clear, and being a member of an Americas Cup crew, and working with Larry Ellison so closely, is such rarified experience that it’s worth covering a bit, which we do. Outside of sailing, we cover a lot of ground, including his investment theses (data, mobile, and being attracted to things...

69 min2017 JAN 30
Comments
@techvitamin 2.7: T.A. McCann, serial entrepreneur, ex-pro sailor, on healthcare tech and grinding it out

@techvitamin 2.6: Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope

This episode is mostly about driven professionalsdoing great work in difficult places for people who really need help. Fundamentally that’s what Lauren Woodman and her NetHope team do. It’s not about speech recognition, AI (yet), or your wifi fridge telling you that your avocado ice cream is about to melt. We talk about providing connectivityin giant, semi-permanent refugee camps, and about streams of migrants — otherwise educated and smartphone carrying people trying to live their lives — and giving them basicservices that of course we’d crumble without. A constant thread: having the grit to work throughsolutions in places where the environment (physical and political) is potentially hostile. They do work that’s super tangible (getting satellite dishes up), and work that’s less so (data security policy so refugees are protected even in cyberspace). It’s applied, 100% non-frivolous tech. There are many things to admire about Lauren, not least that she’s so effectively made ...

58 min2017 JAN 16
Comments
@techvitamin 2.6: Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope

@techvitamin 2.5: Dave Cotter, CEO of Reply Yes

Sure Dave Cotter’s engaging and funny. But you figure out pretty quickly that in Reply Yes he’s juggling something complex, really ambitious, and that he has a deep pool of that essential founder’s gift: faith. It’s not denial, just bedrock confidence. No babe in the startup woods(he was a co-founder of SquareSpace), he’s also done the larger company thing at Amazon, Zulily and RealNetworks. Dave’s current venture is a mix of retail savvy and messaging and AI, and is at the center of what is being called “conversational commerce”. Inspired by the sheer simplicity of text, and to some extent by what’s been going on in China with WeChat’s platform, Reply Yes— and a host of other startups (Magic, x.ai, Peachd.com, etc.) — hasbeen running hard at this problem for the past few years. Dave’s team has launched two messaging centered “stores” — The Edit, for vinyl records, and Origin Bound, for graphic novels — wherethe simplicity of the offering belies a tremendous amount ...

60 min2017 JAN 3
Comments
@techvitamin 2.5: Dave Cotter, CEO of Reply Yes

@techvitamin 2.4: Soma Somasegar, Venture Partner

If one heard that someone had spent 27 years at Microsoftand then left to spend time investing in startups, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was really a form of retirement, and anopportunity to dabble. But Soma Somasegar (@SSomasegar) — whose last position at Microsoft was the Corporate Vice President of the Developer Tools division — doesn’t come across as content, or playing, or, well, done. In this episode we talk about his big career switch, the white hot battlein cloud computing between Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, and how entrepreneurs should think about their tech stack choices. We also talk about how Microsoft will stay relevant for another generation of developers, including embracing Linux, Python and even putting Visual Studio on MacOS. Not surprisingly, he’s very bullish on AI, and has some interesting thoughts about how it will manifest, how humans will stay relevant, and how the different players will play to their strengths. He also talks ...

74 min2016 DEC 11
Comments
@techvitamin 2.4: Soma Somasegar, Venture Partner

@techvitamin 2.3: Matt Revis, VP Product, Jibo

As they say, hardware is hard. Matt Revis— a veteran of the speech recognition wars at Nuance, and now VP of Product Management at social robotics startup Jibo— is not someone to shy away from a tough challenge. Getting various software keyboards and versions of Dragon shipped by OEMs on hundreds of millions of handsets(smart and some not so smart) takes a willingness to grind, and Matt has that in spades. Good thing too, because he’s jumped into an exploding segment — intelligent home devices — with relentless, well-funded competitors who have platforms and datathat may provide quite a moat. Jibo is taking a differentapproach than, say, Echo or Google Home. They believe a slightlyanthropomorphic little robot, tuned to interact and genuinely connect with different members of the family, is a differentiated play versus static appliances with disembodied personas (Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.). Jibo is all about being relatable, and funny, and someoneyou’re invested in as they ...

43 min2016 NOV 15
Comments
@techvitamin 2.3: Matt Revis, VP Product, Jibo

@techvitamin 2.2: Greg Gottesman, Pioneer Square Labs

Much has changed about Venture Capital in the last few decades, and Greg Gottesman has witnessed it up close and personal as a founder of Madrona Venture Group, then of Madrona Labs, and now of Pioneer Square Labs (PSL). And while he’s still involved at Madrona, PSL is part of a clear evolution towards the entrepreneur, and getting closer to the initial creative process in a startup. Greg’s widely known as an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, with a strong sense of product, and great empathy for what founders go through. At Madrona Labs, he experimented with the notion of a venture firm providing the space, talent and financial resources to get founders off the ground, and through the first brutal filter. Now at Pioneer Square Labs— along with one of the country’s most quietly successful angelinvestors, Geoff Entress — Greg has taken the lab model even further, tweaking some of the early formulasat Madrona, and bringing a host of top tier VCs to the table for the entrepreneur. If y...

67 min2016 NOV 8
Comments
@techvitamin 2.2: Greg Gottesman, Pioneer Square Labs

@techvitamin 2.1: Steve Murch, Founder/CEO of BigOven

Steve Murch is a smart, humble and motivated guy who’s had an incredible run in tech. Back in 1991 — after he’d done all the school (Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and HBS)— hewas part of the initial Access team at Microsoft, launched their first online multiplayer games (zone.com), and after leaving founded VacationSpot(think HomeAway) with Greg Slyngstad — which they sold to Expedia in 2000. While at Expedia he led the Vacation Packages business, and helped revolutionize the way people buy travel. He was also the Chairman of Escapia for five years, and has been a lecturer at UW’s Foster School of Business. Faced with the grim prospect of early retirement or staying in the techmix, he focussed on getting back to craftingsoftware, eventually leading to BigOven…a recipe db/meal planner with more than 12M downloads. In this episode we talk a lot about food, how tech can impact the planning and yes, cooking of meals, and what techs like machine learning and Echo may mean for how peo...

80 min2016 NOV 1
Comments
@techvitamin 2.1: Steve Murch, Founder/CEO of BigOven

@techvitamin 1.8: James Siminoff, CEO/Founder of Ring.com

When Shree and Ifirst met Jamie Siminoff, he was the Founding CEO of a cool little company called Simulscribe, which turned voicemail audiointo text. He was a tough competitor with a great sense of humor, and had enough perspective to know that startups are hard, and that a few shared beers and laughs breakup the insanityvery nicely.We also hada common competitor that provided no end of hilarious material: the overfunded, infamous, and batshit-crazy Spinvox. Jamie’s latest venture — Ring — is also his most colorful and successful, now with 400+ employees, world wide offices, and nicely growing sales. Never one to be conventional, he had a company-saving appearance on Shark Tank (see below). Running on fumes at the time of the taping, he didn’t get a take-able offer, but got enough publicity from the episode to generate millions in revenue, and get the company — then known as Doorbot — over the hump. Ring is conceptually simple: it’s a video doorbell thatrecords and sends vide...

75 min2016 JUN 29
Comments
@techvitamin 1.8: James Siminoff, CEO/Founder of Ring.com

@techvitamin 1.7: Ed Lazowska, Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science

Are our Tesla’s going to band together in the Costco lot and attack us? Find out. In this episode Ed Lazowska (@lazowska), the eminent and long-timemember of UW’s Computer Science faculty joins Facebook’s Michael Cohen and I to discuss everything from big data, deep learning to how Universities are responding to the massive demand for computer savvy graduates. Ed’s brilliant yes, but also a very animated and entertaining story teller. If you have children, you’ll want to listen because UW (and NYU and Berkeley and others) are doing cool things to bring computational/data fluency to programs far beyond STEM. Other topics: the difference between knowledge and understanding in AI, and whether programmers even understand the decisions their creations are making. Crazy stuff to contemplate, and Michael and Ed are in the center of it. A bit shorter because Comcast melted down about 2/3rds of the way in, and we lost a bit of good audio…

54 min2016 MAY 29
Comments
@techvitamin 1.7: Ed Lazowska, Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science

@techvitamin 1.6: Brooke Steger, GM of Uber

Is your UberX car going to smell like the last Chicken Tikka delivery it just made for UberEats? Do I now have to tip? That was a key part of the magic. Uber is doing awesome things all over the world, and tech hub Seattle has been a great test bed for the company’s new service offerings. But it hasn’t been easy. Brooke Steger, Uber’s GM for six states in the Pacific Northwest has in just under four years worked through controversy over business models, regulation, safety, aggressive driver recruiting tactics, bad press for their Founder, and more. She’s also helped introduce her region to UberEats, UberPool, UberHop (yeah I know, what’s that?!), scholarships for drivers, and more. We dive into Uber topics both globally, and some Northwest specific things. Ever wonder where all those black cars were hiding before Uber, orhow much a drivercan make in an evening? How is Uber partnering with Seattle Metro transit to reduce commute transit times. How should Uber’s entrance into Se...

57 min2016 MAY 16
Comments
@techvitamin 1.6: Brooke Steger, GM of Uber
the END

Latest Episodes

@techvitamin 2.7: T.A. McCann, serial entrepreneur, ex-pro sailor, on healthcare tech and grinding it out

If you’re competing with T.A. McCann in the startup world, know that he’s racedaround the world in boats, in horrible conditions, and has probably surrounded himself with people who, like him, will not complain because they enjoy the grind— after they’ve been strategic and have arrived at the race with the tools to win. Which he’s done. A lot. T.A. was theFounder and CEO of Gist, which he sold toResearch in Motion in 2011. He’s also a relentless contributor to the Seattle startup scene, whether aspart of TechStars or Startup Weekend, as an Angel investor or now as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Providence. It’s fun to talk about sailing as a metaphor for the startup life. The parallels are clear, and being a member of an Americas Cup crew, and working with Larry Ellison so closely, is such rarified experience that it’s worth covering a bit, which we do. Outside of sailing, we cover a lot of ground, including his investment theses (data, mobile, and being attracted to things...

69 min2017 JAN 30
Comments
@techvitamin 2.7: T.A. McCann, serial entrepreneur, ex-pro sailor, on healthcare tech and grinding it out

@techvitamin 2.6: Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope

This episode is mostly about driven professionalsdoing great work in difficult places for people who really need help. Fundamentally that’s what Lauren Woodman and her NetHope team do. It’s not about speech recognition, AI (yet), or your wifi fridge telling you that your avocado ice cream is about to melt. We talk about providing connectivityin giant, semi-permanent refugee camps, and about streams of migrants — otherwise educated and smartphone carrying people trying to live their lives — and giving them basicservices that of course we’d crumble without. A constant thread: having the grit to work throughsolutions in places where the environment (physical and political) is potentially hostile. They do work that’s super tangible (getting satellite dishes up), and work that’s less so (data security policy so refugees are protected even in cyberspace). It’s applied, 100% non-frivolous tech. There are many things to admire about Lauren, not least that she’s so effectively made ...

58 min2017 JAN 16
Comments
@techvitamin 2.6: Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope

@techvitamin 2.5: Dave Cotter, CEO of Reply Yes

Sure Dave Cotter’s engaging and funny. But you figure out pretty quickly that in Reply Yes he’s juggling something complex, really ambitious, and that he has a deep pool of that essential founder’s gift: faith. It’s not denial, just bedrock confidence. No babe in the startup woods(he was a co-founder of SquareSpace), he’s also done the larger company thing at Amazon, Zulily and RealNetworks. Dave’s current venture is a mix of retail savvy and messaging and AI, and is at the center of what is being called “conversational commerce”. Inspired by the sheer simplicity of text, and to some extent by what’s been going on in China with WeChat’s platform, Reply Yes— and a host of other startups (Magic, x.ai, Peachd.com, etc.) — hasbeen running hard at this problem for the past few years. Dave’s team has launched two messaging centered “stores” — The Edit, for vinyl records, and Origin Bound, for graphic novels — wherethe simplicity of the offering belies a tremendous amount ...

60 min2017 JAN 3
Comments
@techvitamin 2.5: Dave Cotter, CEO of Reply Yes

@techvitamin 2.4: Soma Somasegar, Venture Partner

If one heard that someone had spent 27 years at Microsoftand then left to spend time investing in startups, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was really a form of retirement, and anopportunity to dabble. But Soma Somasegar (@SSomasegar) — whose last position at Microsoft was the Corporate Vice President of the Developer Tools division — doesn’t come across as content, or playing, or, well, done. In this episode we talk about his big career switch, the white hot battlein cloud computing between Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, and how entrepreneurs should think about their tech stack choices. We also talk about how Microsoft will stay relevant for another generation of developers, including embracing Linux, Python and even putting Visual Studio on MacOS. Not surprisingly, he’s very bullish on AI, and has some interesting thoughts about how it will manifest, how humans will stay relevant, and how the different players will play to their strengths. He also talks ...

74 min2016 DEC 11
Comments
@techvitamin 2.4: Soma Somasegar, Venture Partner

@techvitamin 2.3: Matt Revis, VP Product, Jibo

As they say, hardware is hard. Matt Revis— a veteran of the speech recognition wars at Nuance, and now VP of Product Management at social robotics startup Jibo— is not someone to shy away from a tough challenge. Getting various software keyboards and versions of Dragon shipped by OEMs on hundreds of millions of handsets(smart and some not so smart) takes a willingness to grind, and Matt has that in spades. Good thing too, because he’s jumped into an exploding segment — intelligent home devices — with relentless, well-funded competitors who have platforms and datathat may provide quite a moat. Jibo is taking a differentapproach than, say, Echo or Google Home. They believe a slightlyanthropomorphic little robot, tuned to interact and genuinely connect with different members of the family, is a differentiated play versus static appliances with disembodied personas (Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.). Jibo is all about being relatable, and funny, and someoneyou’re invested in as they ...

43 min2016 NOV 15
Comments
@techvitamin 2.3: Matt Revis, VP Product, Jibo

@techvitamin 2.2: Greg Gottesman, Pioneer Square Labs

Much has changed about Venture Capital in the last few decades, and Greg Gottesman has witnessed it up close and personal as a founder of Madrona Venture Group, then of Madrona Labs, and now of Pioneer Square Labs (PSL). And while he’s still involved at Madrona, PSL is part of a clear evolution towards the entrepreneur, and getting closer to the initial creative process in a startup. Greg’s widely known as an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, with a strong sense of product, and great empathy for what founders go through. At Madrona Labs, he experimented with the notion of a venture firm providing the space, talent and financial resources to get founders off the ground, and through the first brutal filter. Now at Pioneer Square Labs— along with one of the country’s most quietly successful angelinvestors, Geoff Entress — Greg has taken the lab model even further, tweaking some of the early formulasat Madrona, and bringing a host of top tier VCs to the table for the entrepreneur. If y...

67 min2016 NOV 8
Comments
@techvitamin 2.2: Greg Gottesman, Pioneer Square Labs

@techvitamin 2.1: Steve Murch, Founder/CEO of BigOven

Steve Murch is a smart, humble and motivated guy who’s had an incredible run in tech. Back in 1991 — after he’d done all the school (Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and HBS)— hewas part of the initial Access team at Microsoft, launched their first online multiplayer games (zone.com), and after leaving founded VacationSpot(think HomeAway) with Greg Slyngstad — which they sold to Expedia in 2000. While at Expedia he led the Vacation Packages business, and helped revolutionize the way people buy travel. He was also the Chairman of Escapia for five years, and has been a lecturer at UW’s Foster School of Business. Faced with the grim prospect of early retirement or staying in the techmix, he focussed on getting back to craftingsoftware, eventually leading to BigOven…a recipe db/meal planner with more than 12M downloads. In this episode we talk a lot about food, how tech can impact the planning and yes, cooking of meals, and what techs like machine learning and Echo may mean for how peo...

80 min2016 NOV 1
Comments
@techvitamin 2.1: Steve Murch, Founder/CEO of BigOven

@techvitamin 1.8: James Siminoff, CEO/Founder of Ring.com

When Shree and Ifirst met Jamie Siminoff, he was the Founding CEO of a cool little company called Simulscribe, which turned voicemail audiointo text. He was a tough competitor with a great sense of humor, and had enough perspective to know that startups are hard, and that a few shared beers and laughs breakup the insanityvery nicely.We also hada common competitor that provided no end of hilarious material: the overfunded, infamous, and batshit-crazy Spinvox. Jamie’s latest venture — Ring — is also his most colorful and successful, now with 400+ employees, world wide offices, and nicely growing sales. Never one to be conventional, he had a company-saving appearance on Shark Tank (see below). Running on fumes at the time of the taping, he didn’t get a take-able offer, but got enough publicity from the episode to generate millions in revenue, and get the company — then known as Doorbot — over the hump. Ring is conceptually simple: it’s a video doorbell thatrecords and sends vide...

75 min2016 JUN 29
Comments
@techvitamin 1.8: James Siminoff, CEO/Founder of Ring.com

@techvitamin 1.7: Ed Lazowska, Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science

Are our Tesla’s going to band together in the Costco lot and attack us? Find out. In this episode Ed Lazowska (@lazowska), the eminent and long-timemember of UW’s Computer Science faculty joins Facebook’s Michael Cohen and I to discuss everything from big data, deep learning to how Universities are responding to the massive demand for computer savvy graduates. Ed’s brilliant yes, but also a very animated and entertaining story teller. If you have children, you’ll want to listen because UW (and NYU and Berkeley and others) are doing cool things to bring computational/data fluency to programs far beyond STEM. Other topics: the difference between knowledge and understanding in AI, and whether programmers even understand the decisions their creations are making. Crazy stuff to contemplate, and Michael and Ed are in the center of it. A bit shorter because Comcast melted down about 2/3rds of the way in, and we lost a bit of good audio…

54 min2016 MAY 29
Comments
@techvitamin 1.7: Ed Lazowska, Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science

@techvitamin 1.6: Brooke Steger, GM of Uber

Is your UberX car going to smell like the last Chicken Tikka delivery it just made for UberEats? Do I now have to tip? That was a key part of the magic. Uber is doing awesome things all over the world, and tech hub Seattle has been a great test bed for the company’s new service offerings. But it hasn’t been easy. Brooke Steger, Uber’s GM for six states in the Pacific Northwest has in just under four years worked through controversy over business models, regulation, safety, aggressive driver recruiting tactics, bad press for their Founder, and more. She’s also helped introduce her region to UberEats, UberPool, UberHop (yeah I know, what’s that?!), scholarships for drivers, and more. We dive into Uber topics both globally, and some Northwest specific things. Ever wonder where all those black cars were hiding before Uber, orhow much a drivercan make in an evening? How is Uber partnering with Seattle Metro transit to reduce commute transit times. How should Uber’s entrance into Se...

57 min2016 MAY 16
Comments
@techvitamin 1.6: Brooke Steger, GM of Uber
the END
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