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David Brain on Developing Environments for Meaningful Social Connection

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We are social creatures that crave community. David Brain knows this and it is at the core of his developments. Over a decade ago he was presented with an opportunity that others questioned, but he knew that the human desire for community would make this opportunity a sensation: the megaplex movie theater. Obviously, he was right.

Brain has set his sights on other community hubs like state of the art co-working office buildings and the infrastructure for new community hubs; massive data centers.

In this episode Blake and David discuss:

  • Growing investor interest in data centers.
  • Community as an amenity.
  • The next frontier of community hubs.

Learn more about David Brain and his latest venture, Enfinite Capital at

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Neto Marin on Building Proactive AI Assistants for the Home

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The debate over the next big platform is one we love to have on this podcast. Neto Marin (@netomarin) believes voice just might have the upper hand. Neto works at Google on Google Assistant, Google Home and other devices that rely on our voice. As Actions on Google Developer Advocate, he spends his time educating people on what is possible and thinking beyond what is current.

One fun fact, when Neto was growing up in Brazil, an iPhone cost as much as a used car. This only added to his love of open source programming languages and open ecosystems. 

In this conversation, Blake and Neto discuss:

  • Reactive versus proactive AI assistant experiences.
  • How to teach children to interact with AI politely.
  • The potential for cultural education from AI.

Find Neto Marin online:

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Vignesh Ganapathy on Delivering Community

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In high school, two of Vignesh “Viggy” Ganapathy’s (@vigneshr4m, TW) friends were incarcerated and thus begun Viggy’s quest for social justice.  It’s a quest that’s taken him through law school at UC Santa Cruz, into politics, into community organization and now technology as the Sr. Government Relations Lead at Postmates. It’s a role that fits his personal mission to positively impact neighborhoods through community engagement and innovative technology solutions to combat complex, pervasive issues.

At Postmates, Viggy oversees the company’s legislative and regulatory program, focused on the future of work, privacy, robotics, innovation, and how tech intersects with our communities. This focus has lead to innovative initiatives at Postmates like registering delivery recipients to vote… along with a burrito.

In this conversation, Viggy and Blake cover a lot of ground including:

  • The dangers of isolation posed by services such as Postmates and what they’re doing to combat that effect.
  • Building social good and justice initiatives into experiences that consumers already love and regularly use.
  • How property owners and developers can better equip their communities to leverage services like Postmates.

Find Viggy Ganapathy on Twitter at

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Jason Kander on Reimagining Government As Customer Service

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Most people lament that government doesn’t truly work for the people. Jason Kander (@jasonkander, TW) thinks about this a lot and he believes he’s got a good solution. The government needs to reimagine itself as Customer Service. This might include simple solutions like a voting holiday, streamlining practices so that people don’t wait on hold for hours or wait months for services, or simply installing sidewalks where they don’t exist.

Jason Kander gained national attention in 2016 while running for the US Senate in Missouri with a commercial featuring him assembling a rifle while blindfolded. While he didn’t win, his platform and character earned him the endorsement of President Barack Obama as the future of the Democratic Party.

Since then Kander has gone on to form Let America Vote to end voter suppression, started the podcast Majority 54 on Crooked Media and earlier this year published Outside The Wire.

In this conversation, Jason and Blake discuss:

  • Common sense high and low tech solutions to end voter suppression
  • Why “Entrepreneur” shouldn’t be synonymous with “Tech”
  • How skilled workers are building a future in the age of automation

Find Jason on Twitter at, online at and find Outside the Wire at

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Diane Mulcahy on Accessing the American Dream Through The Gig Economy

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Diane Mulcahy (@dianemulcahy) wrote the book on The Gig Economy. Literally. As the author of The Gig Economy, Diane is keenly tuned into the future of work, how it will affect the way we live and the economic revolution it is ushering in. All of which Diane dives into in this conversation.

Six years ago, before it was even a thing, Diane created an MBA course on the Gig Economy at Babson College. The course gained immediate traction and was named by Forbes as one of the Top Ten Most Innovate Business School Courses in the country.

Diane walks her talk. She works independently, remotely, and flexibly in the Gig Economy as a consultant and advisor to Fortune 500 and startup company clients, and as a speaker, writer, and adjunct professor.

In this conversation, Diane and Blake discuss:

  • How remote and independent workers are changing living spaces.
  • Access versus ownership and how the former is reshaping the American Dream.
  • The reigning platform of the future and why it’s already here.

Learn more about Diane Mulcahy, her work and The Gig Economy at Follow her on Twitter at

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Chris Detert on Pairing IBM Watson and Influencers to Amplify Brands

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Before Influencer Marketing was a thing Chris Detert (@ChrisDetert) was leveraging the power of celebrity to build brands like Petit Trésor, Von Dutch, Kasil Jeans and dozens more. These days Detert is the Chief Communications Officer at Influential and is mixing in the power of IBM Watson to build brands and influence consumer trends.

Influential, the only IBM Watson Developer Partner in the influencer technology and marketing space, is an A.I. influencer platform with enterprise technology and a patent-pending app in the hip pocket of more than 20,000 of the most highly engaged social media influencers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat, that reaches over 5 billion followers.

In this conversation, Blake and Chris talk about:

  • The future of retail experiences.
  • Influentials unique ability to make things trend.
  • What defines an influencer.

Find Chris Detert on all the social networks as @ChrisDetert. Learn more about Influential at

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Austen Allred on Pioneering New Paths for Higher Education

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Austen Allred (@austenallred) believes higher education has it all backward. Students shouldn’t be investing in the school, the school should be investing in the students. With that core belief, he co-founded Lambda School to pioneer a new model for higher education and find untapped or underutilized talent and train them for the most in-demand jobs in the world: computer science. Lambda School strives to make entry into the computer science fields more accessible than ever.

Allred is a prolific author, speaker, and YCombinator S17 alum. Prior to co-founding Lambda School he oversaw growth at LendUp, co-founded Grasswire, and lead social at Fit Marketing (now STRYDE).

In this conversation, Austen and Blake dive into 

  • How Lambda School actually works.
  • What this model might mean for traditional higher education institutions
  • What real estate developers and city planners need to be thinking about when considering how to accommodate students and graduates of institutions like Lambda School.

Check out Lambda School at and find Austen on Twitter at @AustenAllred.

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Daniel Herscovici on Integrating the Smart Home Experience

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When it comes to the Internet of Things, Daniel Herscovici (@DanHerscovici) believes consumers want integrated experiences rather than individual devices. It’s nice to have a Nest Thermostat or a Phillips Hue lightbulb or a smart security system, but if consumers have to manage each individually then they are no better than their analog forefathers. This isn’t a surprise from someone whose personal mission statement starts with Balancing vision and force of will with the ability to partner is what separates the good from the great. Herscovici is recognized as a leader in the Smart Home, IoT, and digital transformation.

Over the past 20 years, he served in leadership roles at Fortune 50 companies like Comcast and Motorola and spent much of his career focused on creating new businesses within large enterprises. An entrepreneur at heart, he founded and led several new to market business lines focused on consumer tech and tech services. He has a passion for consumer-centric design and is always looking for innovative ways to address unmet, unarticulated market needs.

In this episode, Daniel and Blake discuss Herscovici’s Five Pillars of the Smart Home Experience, the future of ISP product offerings and his thoughts on the biggest opportunities presenting themselves to large corporations in today’s digital landscape.

Learn more about Daniel and his current role with Edison Partners at

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Luke Norris on Designing User-Centered City Services

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Luke Norris (@norrisluke) believes that if leveraged properly, smart technology and data can be used by governments for more than reporting potholes. As Managing Director of Strategy and Government Relations for OpenCities (, Norris works to facilitate better, more efficient communication between citizens and local government.

Over the past eight years, Norris has become a recognized thought leader in digital government through his work at PayIt ( and Code for America ( where he’s been tapped to address the nation’s Mayors and city/county managers.  Luke has 12 years of experience in executing growth strategies for start-ups, including not-for-profit and Fortune 500 companies and that work, in addition to his role at CWC-KC landed him on the Top Connectors list in the Kansas City education and entrepreneurship community.

In this conversation, Luke & Blake discuss the importance of local governments providing better data to citizens, providing smart technology to affordable housing, and why user-centered design must be used to build better cities and neighborhoods.

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Rob Martens on Unlocking What’s Next with Allegion Ventures Futurist & President

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Rob Martens (@schlagefuturist) is a legit Futurist. He uses his in-depth knowledge of technology and how it works to look at the big picture and determine how that tech will most benefit people going about their day in the real world. He spends his days looking for patterns and associations in tech advancements, identifying trends and determining how they can be applied to everyday people to make their lives easier.

As the former Corporate Chief Information Officer for Carpenter Technology Corporation (NYSE: CRS), and CIO for Ingersoll Rand’s Security Technologies Sector (NYSE: IR), Martens is in tune with the challenges and opportunities that today’s technology executive faces.

Currently, Martens serves as Allegion Futurist and President of Allegion Ventures. He’s recognized as one of the 20 Most Influential People in IoT and published in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Twice, Venture Beat, The IoT Agenda and many more. In addition to his Twitter account linked above, you can learn more about Rob at

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