April Rinne is a global citizen in every sense of the word — she is an adventurer, a lifelong learner, and an inspiration to those around her through her global ethos and mindset. She has helped startups, policymakers, and even international organizations identify social and economic trends and become more responsible as a result. Although April’s experienced a great deal of obstacles and challenges in her life, her work and life have brought her deep satisfaction and joy because they’ve truly bridged borders and boundaries. A self-proclaimed travel junkie who ‘belongs to the world’, April works in more than 20 countries each year and has some incredible career advice every Java Junkie should hear. Spoiler alert: April believes (and has the data to prove it) that the days of staying at one company, or in one career your entire life, are behind us. So grab your mug and take a chug, and get ready to the world as you know it flipped upside down!
Mark Metry, 21 years old, is nothing short of a prodigy. The child of Egyptian immigrants who moved to the US when he was a baby, Mark first became an entrepreneur at age 12 when he started a hit Youtube channel focused on Call of Duty. Today Mark is the founder of VU Dream, a marketing agency focused around virtual reality and mixed reality worlds. He took to the internet at a young age and taught himself both the technical skills and management techniques to grow successful businesses. At age 15, he had created and was profiting from the world’s most popular Minecraft server, something he developed after simply playing the game and thinking he could improve on it. In addition to founding VU Dream, Mark also hosts the Top 100 podcast Humans 2.0, the aim of which is to help people conquer their inner demons and live a life free from mental and emotional setbacks. He became passionate about this after escaping his own self-proclaimed “socially anxious prison”. Wise beyond his years, Mark Metry joins us for an honest and insightful conversation about finding the life you want to live and how he hacked his way to professional and personal happiness.
Data Scientist Nick Hamlin uses statistics and programming, along with his own curious brain, to ask and answer intriguing questions in the non-profit or social sector at GlobalGiving. Under the slogan: “Donate to charity and see your impact with regular updates,” GlobalGiving has become the largest crowdfunding community in the world. Nick works on a diverse array of projects, including measuring the on-the-ground impact of the organizations his nonprofit supports through crowdfunded donations. On his own, Nick has developed GlobalGiving’s ETL system, which allows his colleagues to better manage the data most relevant to their work, on their own. Nick graduated from the University of Rochester with a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and History and eventually went on to earn a graduate degree in Information and Data Science. After spending time in the private sector, Nick began working for GlobalGiving. In this ‘caffeinated conversation’ Nick tells us about his interesting life and career - from his experience in the data industry to his experience as a troubadour on the National Mall.
Chris Luecke is a Sales & Marketing Account Manager at Rockwell Automation, and the host of Pubcast Worldwide podcast. When he graduated from Marquette University 2009 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Marketing was the farthest thing from his mind. When he started college, Chris thought he wanted to be a roller coaster engineer, but eventually realized that being stuck behind a desk solving problems wasn’t quite what he wanted to do. After graduating, Chris spent a short time working with Anheuser-Busch helping them engineer their aluminum cans to be more efficient. But, after they were sold to a foreign company, Chris left AB and fell into a position at Rockwell Automation. Once there, he found his passion.
Brian Solis left college before graduating so that he could pursue his passion. He had always been interested in technological advancements and their influence over both businesses and individuals, so he decided to combine them into one job description. Brian is a Digital Analyst and Digital Anthropologist. He studies the trajectory of disruptive technologies and evaluates how they will affect humans and their businesses. He has written numerous books on the subject-- most recently X: The Experience When Business Meets Design-- as he hopes to spread the word to the public about the future of tech.
Vivek Wadhwa researches exponentially advancing technologies that will soon change our world. These advances--in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine and nanomaterials--are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations to do: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health and security. Vivek Wadhwa is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, engineer, computer software programmer, author and professor. Professor Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering at Silicon Valley.
Mike Steep is the Executive Director of the Digital Cities Program at Stanford University and an adjunct professor. He works in the field of disruptive technology where he analyzes innovation in the tech industry and its ability to change and improve life in urban centers. He got his B.A. in American Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School in the late ‘70s and then went on to receive his M.B.A. in General Management and Finance from the University of Virginia Darden Business School. After graduating, he worked at Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Apple, Microsoft Corporation, PARC, and a variety of other tech companies and startups.
Lindy Morris Fishburne is the Managing Partner of Breakout Ventures, a venture capital fund, or in layman's terms, the pot of “seed” money that investors give startups to get their ideas off the ground. Lindy, who specifically works with STEM startups, focuses getting budding science and tech companies out of the lab and into the market. Lindy is also the Executive Director of Breakout Labs which is re-shaping the way early-stage science is funded so that independent researchers and early-stage companies can advance their most radical ideas.
Mick Ebeling is an award-winning film, television, and commercial producer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of The Ebeling Group, an international production company and creative think tank representing some of the world’s leading design/director collectives. He is also the founder of Not Impossible Labs, an online crowd-sourcing platform instigating the creation of low-cost, open-source, DIY devices to help people in need. Not Impossible Labs (NIL) was founded based on Mick’s firm belief that ideas that once seemed impossible turned out to be possible.
Jose Castaneda is the Communications Manager for the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) the trade association for the high tech sector -- from hardware to software to services -- representing the most innovative technology brands in the world. In this role Jose drafts blog posts for ITI’s policy teams, manages media relations with reporters and leads ITI’s social media efforts. It’s not what he thought he’d be doing when he graduated from the University of Florida, in May 2015, with a double major in Economics and Political Science, but fortunately for Jose, it’s a job that plays to his strengths: lots of writing, networking and public speaking.
Ali Breland is the Technology reporter at The Hill newspaper where he writes and reports 3-5 news stories a day, in addition to grinding out 1-3 more analytical, deeply reported stories a week. Not bad for someone who graduated from UT Austin in just 2014 with a B.A. in Plan II and minors in English and Philosophy. To get there Breland cut his teeth at The Alcalde (UT Austin Alumni Magazine) as an editorial intern and hustled outside of classes to interview artists and celebrities for CNN, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Huff Post.
If you’ve never heard Vivek Wadhwa speak, or read his articles and books, and even if you have, this is a T4C episode you won’t soon forget! Professor Wadhwa’s advice to parents who ask him what their kids should study in college to be guaranteed a job when they graduate? Let them study what makes them happy.