If It’s Technology, It’s Pivotal: Part 2
May 18, 2017
In this EisnerAmper podcast, attendees of the Pivotal Technology conference discuss why they are attending, and give valuable insights into their business involvement with technology, and how it relates to other companies in the Long Island and New York business region. Some of the topics they discuss are how to do a successful tech company launch, the steps and challenges of product development and what some of the risks are in the technology industry. Areas of concern for the tech sector, and for all businesses and consumers in general, include the issues of cybersecurity and confidentiality - specifically the concerns about protecting individuals' personally identifiable information.
WHAT PARTICIPANTS HAD TO SAY
Dave Plaskow: Tell us a little bit about your company, what it does, what brought you to Pivotal today?
Evan Dash: I'm here primarily for the charitable aspect of it. My company is Storebound and we're here with Steam Shack today. I'm doing matching funds for donations for Sunrise Day Camps. My company is Storebound and I'm the founder and CEO. I started the company in 2010 to help inventors bring their products to market and gain access to big retailers.
Dave Plaskow: What were you hoping to gain here at Pivotal?
Evan Dash: We love to come out and we love to show our products at any type of marketing event that we can get out to. We've got, at any given time, about 10 to 15 new products that are either in the market, coming into the market, or in some stage of development. So we find these events to be really, really beneficial for trying to understand what people's viewpoint on the products are.
Dave Plaskow: Well, Evan, thanks for your time and enjoy Pivotal today.
Evan Dash:Thanks for having me.
Dave Plaskow: I'm here with David Miller, of Sunrise Day Camp. David, what brings you out today to Pivotal?
David Miller: Well, we are here to represent the Sunrise Steam Shack, which is an amazing program that's launching this summer. The Summer Association brings back the joys of childhood to kids with cancer and we do this through day camps and through hospital programs. Today we have Lane Romano, who is now 10. Lane is the kid who said to Max, I want to learn to write code, and this summer Lane's going to learn to write code. So we've had an incredible outpouring from the community and from businesses. So EisnerAmper has come on board and is one of our sponsors. They've invited us here. They've donated a significant amount of money to help get it up and running. We have Sun Nation here, they are solar company. We've raised enough money. We're going to build a building in the fall. The building is going to be completely net zero because Sunday's Nation is donating a solar system. We have Kano Computing here. Kano is an incredible company. If you don't know them, check them out. Kano is a company out of London. They make computer kits designed to teach kids age 6 to 12 years old how to write code, and it's all drag and drop; there's no lingo. It teaches you how to write code through playing Minecraft and Pong and things that they know. It's very user friendly. I thank you for having me. I thank EisnerAmper for bringing us out as well as all of our sponsors that are here today that have made this possible.
Dave Plaskow: Excellent. Well, enjoy Pivotal.
David Miller: Thanks. I'm already having a good time.
Dave Plaskow: With us now Is Brian Silver from a little company called Yahoo. You might've heard of them. Brian, welcome.
Brian Silver: Thank you.
Dave Plaskow: What do you do for Yahoo?
Brian Silver: I run all of their business operations and monetization for their owned and operated properties, so Yahoo News, finance, sports, mail messenger groups, flicker, et Cetera, et cetera.
Dave Plaskow: What brings you to Pivotal today? What are you hoping to see and find out?
Brian Silver:I'm actually kicking off the event on the, the first speaker, I guess break the ice, get everyone excited about the future of technology and where it's taking us.
Dave Plaskow: Excellent. Well, in your opinion, where is technology, where is it taking us? Give us a little sneak peek of your keynote.
Brian Silver:I think if you go very quickly through where the Internet was and where it's going today, first, it was about getting online. Then it was about finding what search and then now it's all about data and the Internet of me. How do I personalize what's happening? But, more importantly, how are technology companies and services proactively, figuring out what I'd be looking for and what I actually need before I even have to think about it? What a convenience that would be if it was done properly.
Dave Plaskow: What could set technology back? What could get in the way of innovation?
Brian Silver:I think the biggest one is actually rather simple. It's personally identifiable information. So the truth is if you're into big data, you don't need any of those things, I don't need to know that you're married to Carol and you have three kids. In order for me to do my job, what I need to know is what are the signals that are happening in your purchase behavior in aggregate or what's happening in your life, your life cycle events, that are giving me clues far enough back in time for me to know whether or not you're happy with your ATT phone or you want to switch to Verizon phone.
Dave Plaskow: What's a piece of technology that you can't live without?
Brian Silver: I'll tell you the APP I can't live without. It's Waze. I think Waze is, by far, now that they've gotten it right, is just the best. I mean, now they're coming out with papers, talking about the fact that navigational systems, when done properly, are eliminating people's use of some part of their brain and they just turn it off. How great is that? It's also bad. I guess you can say it that way too, but Waze, to me, is like a piece of technology that is just unbelievable.
Dave Plaskow: Brian, thank you very much for giving us a few minutes and enjoy Pivotal today.
Brian Silver:Thank you for having me.
Dave Plaskow: We're pleased to have Jonathan Haas with this now from ThermoLift. Jonathan, welcome.
Jonathan Haas: Thank you for inviting me.
Dave Plaskow: Tell us what, what does ThermoLift do? What do you do at ThermoLift?
Jonathan Haas: ThermoLift is developing what we call the world's most efficient heat pump.
Dave Plaskow: What's your role at the company?
Jonathan Haas: I'm the Senior Vice President. I joined the company before it was even really established with the CEO Paul Schwartz. And now we're about 18 full-time engineers, a lot of brain power. I'm happy to say that I'm, besides Paul, one of the only non-engineers.
Dave Plaskow: How old is the company?
Jonathan Haas: Four years old.
Dave Plaskow: What do you think is the most groundbreaking technology that's either you've seen in the last couple of years or you've heard about that's on the drawing board that that might be coming out? What kind of technology wows you?
Jonathan Haas: There's a lot of them, but I would say Tesla is doing some really great things, not only with their cars, but also with their power wall. I forgot what they're called. It's the new shingles that they're putting on the roof that are actually just essentially mirrored shingles. I don't even know how to describe it.
Dave Plaskow: When does Elon Musk get to sleep?
Jonathan Haas: I don't know. I actually recently bumped into the CTO, JB, a couple of weeks ago in Dallas when I was over there for a conference, eCapital Summit. he was explaining all the great things they're doing. So that was really interesting to hear him talk about it and the story and also great to see the new technologies coming down.
Dave Plaskow: Thanks for your time and enjoy Pivotal.
Jonathan Haas: Alright, I will. Thank you.
Dave Plaskow: Pleased to have Joe Trainer with us right now. Joe, welcome.
Joe Trainer: Thank you very much Dave.
Dave Plaskow: Joe, tell us about your company and what you do for your company.
Joe Trainer: The Trainer Companies is a boutique real estate development and technology firm. When I say technology really we integrate technology into all of our real estate developments. However, we also own travel companies that are immersed in technology, one being leisure and the other being business. So we don't separate the two. We try to bring the technology and the lessons from our travel sector into our real estate. We own build-for-fee for ourselves, construction management, top-to-bottom boutique real estate development firm.
Dave Plaskow: What do you do for the company?
Joe Trainer: Senior Vice President COO. I really manage all facets of all of our projects and all of our companies.
Dave Plaskow: What brings you to Pivotal today? What, are you hoping to get out of the event?
Joe Trainer: We've been a client of EisnerAmper for going on 25, 30 years—before it was even EisnerAmper. We are working on a large project right now in Fort Lauderdale, which is a technology based city within a city development. It's a true mixed-use project with retail educational office and residential that we again, are having it fully integrated from a technology standpoint. So we're out there learning what new technologies are out there, how others are implementing it into their projects and what the end users are really looking for. Not just today, but five years from today in this constant state of evolution of technology.
Dave Plaskow: In your particular line of business, any elements that you're keeping an eye on, any challenges that might be coming up in the near future that you want to monitor?
Joe Trainer: A saying that we live by in our company, that my father as a beat into me, is if the rate of change in your industry is greater than the rate of change within your company, then your end is in sight. Something that we are always trying to do is stay ahead of what changes are coming and build flexibility into our designs.
Dave Plaskow: Well, Joe, thank you very much for your time today and hope you enjoy Pivotal.
Joe Trainer: Appreciate it. Thank you, David.
Dave Plaskow: I'm pleased to have with me Howie Bush from Billy Blaze Design. Howie welcome.
Howie Bush: Thanks Dave. Nice to see you.
Dave Plaskow: Tell us about your company, what you do, what brings you here today?
Howie Bush: I create and develop products and I licensed them out to leaders in a particular category for the product, usually consumer products. I'm about to do a kick starter actually, which will be my first non-licensed product that I'm launching on my own. So that's pretty exciting. It's happening in a couple of weeks, actually, two weeks from today.
Dave Plaskow: What brings you to Pivotal today?
Howie Bush: I have some friends who work here and, and they were telling me about it and it sounded like a great event and I wanted to, be involved in it. So in addition to licensing and developing my own products, I coach other product developers and inventors. And tech is becoming a big part of all of that. So I wanted to see what it was all about.
Dave Plaskow: What are you licensing? What products are you involved with? Tell us a little bit about that.
Howie Bush: One of my products I came up with, I actually came up with it because there was a problem, you see something wrong. So I was playing basketball, I hurt my wrist, ended up having surgery so I had a cast on it. When I fly on a plane, I sleep on my hand. I put my elbow down on the armrest and I sleep like this and I was cutting my face up. So I came up with putting a pillow on your hand, I mean it started out as a sweatshirt, but then I created a pillow you put on your hand and I licensed it into the company that's the exclusive pillow supplier into all the Hudson News across the country. Another one is coming out soon, is a sports and entertainment license called Wall Wobblers. So basically on your wall instead of just having something sitting there, it wobbles like it's a bobble head.
Dave Plaskow: So your licensing professional sports teams?
Howie Bush: I'm licensing it to somebody who has the license. So it's like a double licensing. Thanks for coming on the show. It's nice to see you.
Dave Plaskow: With us now is Yitz Kolodny from Theryon Inc. Yitz, Welcome.
Yitz Kolodny: Thanks for having me.
Dave Plaskow: Tell us what your company does, why you're here today.
Yitz Kolodny: Alright. We've taken the whole concept of physical therapy and we try to take the pain in the neck out of it. We basically Uberized it, so a busy professional, somebody with a busy family life, they don't have time to get to and from the therapy clinic. They go on the APP, which is on both app stores and you could just order a physical therapist to you.
Dave Plaskow: What brings you here today?
Yitz Kolodny: I have a good friend of mine who works at EisnerAmper, He said this is the place for tech right now, meet a bunch people in tech, financers. We're trying to get out there, get the word out.
Dave Plaskow: In your company, any hurdles you're keeping your eye out for? Anything that might be coming down the road, you want to watch whether it's regulatory, finance, the economy anything out there that you're focusing on?
Yitz Kolodny: Well, right now my biggest fear is where health care is going. I'm basically a one-issue guy, and that's health care. Nobody knows where it's going. We all know that it's going up or going down, but it's going somewhere and I think the uncertainty is the one that's having a big effect on everybody.
Dave Plaskow: How does that work from an insurance perspective?
Yitz Kolodny: So right now we've taken the insurance out of the subject. We were focusing more on that busy professional who's going to focus more on their convenience than their copay or their fee. Right now, we don't take any insurance. It just removes the red tape. We do eventually want to get into the whole insurance world. It becomes very complicated, especially since it's continuously changing.
Dave Plaskow: For you personally, we talked about apps. You're an APP-centric company. What's one app that you can't live without?
Yitz Kolodny: Waze.
Dave Plaskow: You are the third person to say Waze.
Yitz Kolodny: New York City, now, with all these speed cameras and all that stuff. Even if I know exactly where I'm going, I just turn it on. I still don't get why they put on those ads. I know we need it to be able to live, I never click on those either though.
Dave Plaskow: Thanks for your time. Enjoy Pivotal today.
Yitz Kolodny: Thanks so much Dave.