Kevin Warnock

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Global Social Venture Competition final presentations on April 12, 2013 in Berkeley, California USA

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Laura Tilghman, co chair of the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, introduces the competing teams, April 12, 2013.

Laura Tilghman, co chair of the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, introduces the teams, April 12, 2013

On Friday, April 12, 2013, I attended the 2013 final presentations by teams competing in the Global Social Venture Competition.

I was invited by Jennifer Walske, Faculty Director of the Global Social Venture Competition. Walske moderated the question and answer session between the judges and the competitors. I paid for a ticket to attend the event, but at a reduced rate as a member of the press — USD $49.50 rather than $99.00. Thank you to the organizers for the discount.

This event took place at the Haas School of Business on the campus of the University of California in Berkeley, California USA. Haas Dean Rich Lyons opened the event with some wise remarks.

Dean Rich Lyons, Molly Bode, Nick Cain and Laura Tilghman at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Dean Rich Lyons, Molly Bode, Nick Cain and Laura Tilghman at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

This event was an all day affair, with keynotes, panels and even a debate. I arrived at 8am and left around 8pm.

This competition is the premier social venture competition in the world, and, according to the organizers, close to 650 teams from 37 countries competed. My friend Sara Olsen co-founded the competition while she was getting her MBA at the University of California Berkeley.

Keynote speaker Josh Nesbit at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Keynote speaker Josh Nesbit at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

The morning keynote

Josh Nesbit, the CEO of Medic Mobile, gave one of the more uplifting keynotes I have heard in a while. I didn’t take notes so I am not prepared to summarize it, but he tells about a remarkable journey over the last four years or so where this non profit has improved the lives of tens of thousands of people in the developing world. The video of the talk should be posted to the Global Social Venture Competition website, or perhaps YouTube, by Friday, April 19, 2013, I’ve been told, so you’ll be able to watch it there. It’s well worth watching. I photographed Nesbit twice, and there is a more formal portrait of him at the bottom of this post.

The 6 final finalist teams

All 18 teams that traveled to Berkeley are finalists, and they all wore the same type of name badges. The 18 teams presented on Thursday, April 11, 2013, and the best 6 teams became what I will call the final finalists. In this post, I present short executive summaries of each of the 18 teams. This text was written by the teams themselves — I just copied it from the luxurious pamphlet distributed at the event. Normally, I place such text in quotes, but since this text compromises so much of this post, I am telling you here that the summaries are text I did not write.

The teams that advanced to the concluding round of judging are:

Faso Soap founders from the country Burkina Faso at  2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Faso Soap founders from the country Burkina Faso at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Faso Soap

1st place winner of USD $25,000; Blum Center for Developing Economies Peoples’ Choice Award of $1,500 — from the country Burkina Faso

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about half of the world population is still at risk of contracting malaria. In 2010, among 219 million people affected, there were 660,000 deaths, of which 91% were in Africa where malaria remains the leading cause of death. Particularly vulnerable individuals are pregnant women, children under 5 and HIV patients. Considering this alarming report, Moctar Dembele and Gérard Niyondiko, two students from 2iE Foundation, have found an innovative solution through the project Faso Soap. The “soap of Faso” offers an innovative solution for the prevention of malaria, which takes into account financial constraints and cultural habits of African families. The company will produce and market both antibacterial and anti-mosquito soaps made with 100% local resources to integrate prevention against malaria in the daily lives of people most affected by this scourge. Faso Soap: “The action of a group, the future of an entire nation.”

Hannah Erickson and Eric Sorensen of Carbon Roots International at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Hannah Erickson and Eric Sorensen of Carbon Roots International at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Carbon Roots International

2nd place winner of USD $15,000 — Haiti

Carbon Roots International (CRI) started as an idea to explore the potential of carbon-rich char as a tool for international development. The idea evolved from a chain of emails between three friends, to meetings over lunch, to a trip to rural Haiti in 2010. Upon returning to the United States, CRI’s three co-founders established the organization to enable the adoption of char technologies in Haiti. CRI’s work served as the basis for co-founder Ryan Delaney’s Master’s thesis at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, and compelled another co-founder, Hannah Erickson, to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. After several years of refining technology and testing solutions, CRI has produced a feasible, scalable business plan that addresses two overlapping issues—charcoal fuel use and low agricultural productivity—which converge in Haiti, but are endemic throughout the developing world.

I guessed correctly that Carbon Roots would win 2nd place. I really like this company, which makes ‘green’ charcoal briquets out of agricultural waste, like sugar cane waste. The briquets look like small hockey pucks, and apparently burn as well as charcoal made from trees. Deforestation is a large problem, so Carbon Roots has the potential to help the planet on a meaningful scale.

Pulpworks, Inc., the third place winner at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Pulpworks, Inc., the third place winner at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Pulpworks, Inc.

3rd place winner of $7,500 — United States of America

PulpWorks: The planet is choking in garbage – toxic, enduring waste. And the single worst culprit is packaging – thirteen bathtubs full per year for each person on the planet; in the U.S. alone, 31 million tons of plastic waste was generated last year. PVC is the world’s leading toxic packaging material. Consumer packaged goods companies are seeking a cost-effective, sustainable replacement for their current unsustainable PVC packaging. To address this crisis, PulpWorks has created a compostable, all-pulp-and-paper alternative to toxic plastic (PVC) blister packaging. Our patent-pending package is, in essence, the “un-blister”. It showcases products in the same manner as traditional blister packs, but, rather than ending up in a landfill, the entire package can be composted after opening. Increasing consumer and regulatory pressure will eventually remove PVC from the marketplace. As designers and manufacturers of eco-friendly packaging, PulpWorks will reap the rewards of this marketplace shift.

This company has developed a way to turn paper pulp into appealing compostable packaging. The containers they showed me have a texture that is similar to cardboard egg cartons. The three presenters got a laugh out of the crowd when they said between the three of them they have 100 years of experience in business. I like this product, and I hope they succeed. Fortunately, the CEO, Paul Tasner, pictured above and individually below, has decades of experience in the packaging industry, and as a result, he has been able to get meetings with household name companies like Clorox.

The PulpWorks team traveled to the competition finals on Bart, the commuter train system in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the University of California is located.

Benjamin Cohen, Dori Pap and Travis Horsley at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Pap is a mentor for TOHL, Inc., one of the finalist teams, which is run by Cohen and Horsley.

Benjamin Cohen, Dori Pap and Travis Horsley at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Pap is a mentor for TOHL, Inc., one of the finalist teams, which is run by Cohen and Horsley.

Benjamin Cohen and Travis Horsley of TOHL, Inc - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Benjamin Cohen and Travis Horsley of TOHL, Inc - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

TOHL, Inc.

Chile

TOHL developed a patent-pending technology for installing pipelines cheaply, quickly sustainably, and in any location. This technology utilizes much longer segments of pipeline than what is traditionally used. Single segments of pipeline are manufactured in lengths of 500 meters to several kilometers, and these long segments are loaded directly onto large spools that are deployed via helicopter or truck. The pipelines have fewer connections, which decreases labor hours during installation and allows the pipelines to be in operation faster than is possible if using conventional infrastructure technology. The patent-pending helicopter installations method also allows for TOHL to access remote areas that previously could not be reached, which is significant, because valuable water sources are often inaccessible. Lastly, TOHL’s technology also offers the service of pipeline removal and re-use, when the pipeline is only needed for temporary applications. The tubing is re-spooled and recycled for other projects saving money and resources.

This is the team I thought would win 1st place. Drinking dirty water either kills or makes ill countless numbers of people. This company can install a flexible water hose by flying a helicopter from a source of clean water to where water is needed. Often, their services are needed after a natural disaster like an earthquake. It could take months to repair a permanent underground pipe that serves an area damaged in a quake. TOHL can install a pipe overground in minutes once everything’s set up. The technology is not new, as I learned the oil exploration industry has been using the technique for years to bring water to their drilling rigs that are often out of reach of conventional plumbing. What’s new with TOHL is their specialization on emergency installations. They have developed expertise working with local governments to get the necessary permits and easements, a process I suspect is so difficult that it will discourage cheap copycats from competing with their company. The company’s first efforts have been in Chile, most likely because they received startup financing and support as part of the well known Startup Chile program.

The TOHL team is operating with real paying customers. The team showed an impressive video where their rented helicopter drops down tubing from a giant spool that hangs below the aircraft like a water container on a fire fighting helicopter. The TOHL helicopter showed tubing can be set down even on the tops of trees — flat or smooth ground is not required.

If the tubing is made unnecessary after some months, perhaps by the broken underground pipes being restored, the tubing can be reeled back onto the spool for reuse elsewhere.

Amazingly, the tubing can handle being outside for 25 years.

Founders Benjamin Cohen and Travis Horsley were impressive, and I spent perhaps half an hour hearing about their exciting venture. I wish them well.

The TOHL team studied at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), one of the 9 partner schools that together stage the Global Social Venture Competition. Each school sends a representative that works for the institution to the global finals. Georgia Tech sent Dori Pap, the Assistant Director of the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship, pictured above with the TOHL team.

Reel Gardening team from South Africa at  2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Reel Gardening team from South Africa at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Reel Gardening

Reel Gardening is a manufacturing company that aims to make gardening simple. Its main product is a biodegradable strip that encases organic fertilizer and open pollinated seed at the correct depth in the soil, and the correct distance apart. Reel Gardening indicates where each plant will sprout allowing for watering to be localized, enabling a saving of 80% water in the germination phase. The strip also helps restore soil fertility as the paper breaks down and the vegetable based inks and organic fertilizer seep into the soil. The Reel Gardening team is made up of Claire Reid (Inventor and Founder), Sean Blanckenberg (Director at Reel Gardening), Emily Jones (Project Manager at Reel Gardening), Greg Macfarlane (Financial Advisor) and Dianna Moore (Business Advisor).

CSA Munching Box finalist team at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

CSA Munching Box finalist team at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Left to right: Kongkrai Maksrivorawan, Sanjay Popli, Lalana Srikam and Niteepong Techamontrikul. Team member Bryan Hugill not shown as his visa didn't arrive in time for him to attend the event.

CSA Munching Box

CSA Munching Box is a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program providing weekly subscription-based delivery of seasonal, organic fresh fruit and vegetables direct from the farms to customers’ doorsteps and bringing the customers closer to our farmer networks in rural areas. We also serve as a distribution platform linking artisanal food producers to the urban market. Additionally, CSA Munching Box brings positive social impacts to its partners. We also use packaging made from recycled materials as well as deliver our products via bicycle couriers to reduce carbon footprint. The primary target customer group is the health-conscious and discerning consumers in major cities across Thailand. This group tends to have more knowledge about CSA, appreciates the concept, and possesses higher purchasing power.

The 12 finalist teams

Eighteen teams traveled to Berkeley for the final two rounds of the competition. On Thursday, April 11, 2013, six teams advanced to the concluding round of judging. The twelve teams that did not advance each got to deliver their pitch to all the attendees. The 12 finalists are:

AtRuim finalist team at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

AtRuim finalist team at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Sangjae Park and Sung Jun of AtRium from South Korea at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Sangjae Park and Sung Jun of AtRium from South Korea at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

AtRium

South Korea

The low income families in the world’s cold regions suffer not only from cold weather but also from problems such as fuel costs, illness, and pollution due to their outdated, inefficient stove heating system. AtRium addresses these socio-economic and environmental issues through an affordable heat absorber, G-saver, which is developed based on appropriate technology. Our primary target is Mongolian households living in a “Ger.” Later we will expand to other cold regions such as Inner Mongolia and Kazakhstan, and also to developed countries with our technology. Built on a consortium among Good Neighbors (NGO), Good Sharing (Social Venture), and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Academia), we aim to contribute to building a sustainable ecosystem that balances economic and social values by pursuing sustainable profit generation, improving the quality of life of low income families, protecting the environment, and developing local economy in cold regions.

Pasquale Fedele and Jarrod Fath of BrainControl, from Italy, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Pasquale Fedele and Jarrod Fath of BrainControl, from Italy, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Jarrod Fath and Pasquale Fedele of BrainControl from Italy - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Jarrod Fath and Pasquale Fedele of BrainControl from Italy - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

BrainControl

Italy

BrainControl is a breakthrough technology that gives disabled people the power to control objects with their minds, allowing them to control a communicator, domotic devices (lights, doors, windows, alarms, temperature, bed position, etc.), wheelchairs, and other assistive technologies. Based on a proprietary Brain-Computer Interfaces technology (BCI), BrainControl interprets the electric map that correspond to certain brain activity and allows patients to control a tablet PC through specific thoughts, overcoming physical disability, and improving communication and environmental control. The focus is on assistive applications for people affected by degenerative neuromuscular disease (multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS) and ischemic or traumatic injury, which each year affects more than 3 million patients. BrainControl is the world’s first assistive technology that is usable by people who cannot move any muscles or communicate, but who are consciously aware, a state called “locked-in” or “apparent coma”.

Jackie Stenson of Essmart Global from USA and India - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Jackie Stenson of Essmart Global from USA and India - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Essmart Global

United States of America / India

Essmart: Millions of people have unmet essential needs, such as clean water and safe, reliable lighting. Hundreds of essential technologies that meet these needs already exist, such as non-electric water filters and affordable off-grid solar lanterns. However, these technologies are not reaching the people they were designed to benefit. Essmart builds an essential marketplace for these products in places where people already shop – their local retail shops – so that everyone can access them.

Botao Liang of E-Lamp from China - at  2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Botao Liang of E-Lamp from China - at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

E-Lamp

China

E-Lamp is an intelligent lighting control system. It can adjust the color and brightness level of the LED light source by remote control using a mobile device. It can be used in agriculture: as the population of the world continues to grow, more food and crops are needed. As plants at different growth stages require specific spectral and wavelength, production could be sped up using E-Lamp’s adjustment of light intensity and spectral wavelength. The mobile device remote control can be used in agricultural greenhouses to centralize control of E-Lamp equipment in a single region or multiple regions to make the management more convenient. E-Lamp also can be used to improve disabled people’s daily life, allowing them to easily control the light and adjust the color to match their mood, even for psychological treatment.

Venkateswara Rao of Damascus Fortune from India at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Venkateswara Rao of Damascus Fortune from India at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Damascus Fortune

India

We at Damascus Fortune not only clean the planet, but have made the whole carbon conversion process profitable. We sequester carbon from carbon emitting industries and convert it into one of the strongest materials known to man – carbon nanotubes, carbon fibers and carbon nanorods. Our products are ultra-low cost as we use the waste emission and heat from the industry itself. We wish to start a composite manufacturing plant from in-house manufactured carbon structures to cater to automobile, aircraft, construction and other industries. We are seeking support to scale into new markets globally.

Armel Guenguara, left, founder of Nafa Naana, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Armel Guenguara, left, founder of Nafa Naana, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Nafa Naana

Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, households still rely on firewood for 90% of their energy consumption, thus contributing to irreversibly damaging their forest ecosystems. Toxic fumes from burning wood are harmful for people and issues faced in supplying fuel (for cooking and lighting) are a precariousness factor, particularly for women. Solutions do exist but remain out of reach for the most vulnerable populations.  Nafa Naana – which means “gains made easy” in local language – mission is to make clean and affordable energy products (energy-efficient stove, gas stove, solar lamps…) available to even the poorest households. The distribution channels are based on retailers operating as social microfranchisees and on direct sales to women’s groups. Financial barriers – for end-users, retailers and producers – are removed through the use of microcredit and savings mechanisms.

Meme B. Ortis, co-founder of Jorsey Ashbel Farms, delivering his Peoples' Choice winning pitch, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Meme B. Ortis, co-founder of Jorsey Ashbel Farms, delivering his Peoples' Choice winning pitch, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Jorsey Ashbel Farms

Center for Responsible Business Quick Pitch Award of USD $1,000 — Nigeria

Jorsey Ashbel Farms (JAF) is an unconventional livestock farm pioneering a groundbreaking approach to tackling the poverty problem of Protein-Energy Malnutrition, which affects millions of disadvantaged children and women. JAF produces Nigeria’s cheapest livestock products using an innovative, scientifically proven, low-cost livestock feed production technique combined with an innovative deployment strategy.

Meme B. Ortis in my mind really deserved this award. He was the most intense and passionate of all the 18 speakers. You can see his energy in the picture of him just above. He was constantly using his hands to make his point, and his voice was powerful and resonant. I was so happy I got to meet Ortis to photograph him.

We had a great conversation about those pesky emails everyone receives asking for help moving millions of dollars for a percentage. He said he has several of them in his email box right now. I shared with him the story of a guy that turned the tables on the spammers by getting them to write out in longhand one of the Harry Potter books. He had not heard about that reverse scam. If you haven’t heard about it either, I promise you’ll enjoy the story.

Here’s the summary: a guy gets a scam email and replies he’s too busy to help because he’s busy providing handwriting samples at $100 a page to improve a company’s handwriting recognition software. Soon, the scammer is asking to join in providing samples, and he ends up writing out with a pen the text of a 293 page novel, hoping to collect tens of thousands of dollars. Of course, he never is paid for his work, which is retribution for him scamming others out of their money via his emails.

From the summary written by the team, you wouldn’t guess what they really do, which is fascinating.

There is protein rich food inside a mango seed. The company opens the seeds, which apparently are not costly and are plentiful, and extracts the presumably mushy contents. That contents are so acidic it will kill chickens that eat it directly, but Jorsey Ashbel Farms has developed a method to process the extract so that chickens can safely and productively eat it. Even though this sounds like a lot of trouble, I learned there is a big cost savings versus feeding chickens corn. JAF runs a farm where they grow mangos and raise 10,000 chickens, in harmony. I would love to visit their operation to see this wonderful sounding operation first hand.

I forgot to tell the founders that I raise four chickens for eggs in my backyard in San Francisco. My chickens eat chicken feed from a bag, not mangos, however.

Ortis’ co-founder Ashbel Ayuba, pictured in the portrait section below, was the most stylishly dressed of the competitors, and had on a pair of highly polished green leather shoes made from the hide of an animal I could not identify. They looked like something rock star Prince would wear. In the early 1990s I saw Prince hanging out as a regular customer in the trendy nightclub Les Bains in Paris, France, and he had on some similarly wild boots, which matched his pants, which matched his coat with tails. He carried a golden walking stick, and had beefy bodyguards on either side, but nobody paid him any attention, as I don’t think he was famous yet in Paris. I told my French friends the next morning that I had seen Prince, and not one of them knew of him. I was ten feet from Prince dancing for an hour, so I am 100% certain it was Prince.

I stopped Ayuba on the stairs and asked to photograph him before I even knew what company he was part of — I just love his look and attitude. I told him he looked like what I would imagine an African James Bond would look like. He enthusiastically pumped his fist in the air and said ‘YEAH!!!’

I love being a photographer.

Woof founder from Hong Kong at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12 2013. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Woof founder from Hong Kong at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12 2013

WOOF

Hong Kong

WOOF is a premium fashion brand producing elegant, yet quirky and fun fashion accessories. What makes us different is that our line of goods is produced by Chiengora (dog hair). WOOF’s raw material is collected from various grooming stores and animal welfare organizations. The grooming division of our current NGO partner, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), provides over 60% of the dog hair raw material for WOOF production. WOOF ensures that all our sources of material are 100% animal-friendly. WOOF production is a technology innovation. We are currently co-developing the machine spinning technology with our academic partner, the Institute of Textile and Clothing (ITC) from the Poly University of Hong Kong. Through fashion, WOOF aims to change attitudes towards animals. We aim to do this through two means: 1) reducing animal surrenders and increasing animal adoptions, and 2) improving the living conditions of animals.

Wedu founder from Thailand at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Wedu founder from Thailand at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Wedu

Thailand

Wedu catalyzes the next generation of local female leaders by providing innovative financing options for university and the lifelong support of mentors. We create a sustainable and positive cycle of development by identifying girls committed to local issues; investing in their education; mentoring them to lead and creating incentives for them to repay the funds to serve more girls. We envision a world where people from the most underprivileged backgrounds have the tools to change their lives and their home country by being masters of their own development. We started operations in Cambodia and Myanmar, built partnerships from the U.S. to Japan, united a league of extraordinary advisers and mentors from the Acumen Fund, Husk Power Systems, Unreasonable Institute and beyond. Wedu is Social Enterprise Startup of 2012 at Cambridge University, GSVC-SEA Winner, Semi-Finalist for the Echoing Green Fellowship and in the Top 10 Global Solution Award at Women Deliver 2013.

Vi-Care founder, from India, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Vi-Care founder, from India, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Vi-Care

India

Vi-Care is a one-of-a-kind company in India, and is on its way to formation to provide a low cost solution to address the problem of high infant mortality due to pneumonia in rural India. Vi-Care focuses on implementing a cost effective solution for the timely detection of pneumonia in infants, keeping in mind the lack of healthcare infrastructure in rural areas. Vi-Care’s solution involves the use of ubiquitous mobile phones to detect pneumonia in infants. Vi-Care provides a unique diagnostic application (i-Treat) capable of performing preliminary but informative diagnosis of pneumonia without requiring any external infrastructure or expert intervention, thereby greatly improving the chances of survival of infants in rural areas. The value proposition of Vi-Care rests upon providing an unrivaled, cost-effective approach to timely detect pneumonia in low-income, rural areas, keeping in mind the financial constraints of the people.

Sunshine Library Rural Digital Education Initiative team at  2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Sunshine Library Rural Digital Education Initiative team at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Sunshine Library

China

Sunshine Library Rural Digital Education Initiative (Sunshine Library) is a social venture seeking to improve rural education in China via modern technology. We aim to provide a comprehensive education solution to under-resourced, rural schools using specially designed tablet PCs. Sunshine Library does not only provide tablet PCs for under-resourced schools, nor do we place our volunteer teachers in rural schools. Leveraging information technology, we provide an integrated solution with a sustainable model of operation. We designed a tablet PC, the Sunbook, and educational apps customized to the needs of students, teachers, and schools in rural setting. Then, we deliver the tablets with Internet access to rural students, new teaching methods to teachers, and extensive educational resources to schools, hoping to eliminate education inequity. Now, we have provided 2,000 tablets for students and teachers in 4 rural schools in western China.

Lorenzo Di Ciaccio and Alessandro Gaeta of Pedius from Italy at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Lorenzo Di Ciaccio and Alessandro Gaeta of Pedius from Italy at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Pedius

Italy

Pedius is a communication system helping deaf people to make normal phone calls, using voice recognition technologies and speech synthesis. Pedius’ users can call all emergency numbers for free, as well as all partner companies supporting our accessibility program who agree to pay a fee and provide users a toll free access number. Users can also call private numbers, paying an affordable fee comparable to what is offered by VoIP communication providers. The goal of Pedius is the reduction of communication barriers for deaf people, enabling phone services for all and at the same time increasing the visibility of our accessibility partner companies.

I like this company. It turns out the founders know my friend Dan Luis, who used to be CEO for years at Purple, the company that bought my first Internet startup Hotpaper.com, Inc. Purple is in roughly the same business as Pedius, but Purple uses people to bridge connections between parties, while Pedius uses software.

The panels and debates

As I mentioned above, this event filled a day. There were panels and debates on social entrepreneurship. I stepped in briefly to take some pictures, but sadly, I did not have time to watch the events, with the exception of the morning keynote. I was busy either photographing or rounding up the subjects nearly all day.

Agricultural solutions for addressing poverty workshop at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013, held at University of California, Berkeley

Agricultural solutions for addressing poverty workshop at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013, held at University of California, Berkeley

Social enterprises in the developing world panel at 2013 Global Social Venture Competitiion, April 12, 2013, Anderson Auditorium, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley

Social enterprises in the developing world panel at 2013 Global Social Venture Competitiion, April 12, 2013, Anderson Auditorium, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley

Individual portraits

I took all the pictures that illustrate this blog post. I like very much to photograph people, and entrepreneurs are among my favorite subjects. I asked all of the subjects you see here for permission to photograph them, with the exception of the shot with Dean Rich Lyons, which I captured by standing alongside the official paid photographer, my longtime friend Bruce Cook. He set that shot up, and I simply asked the subjects to look at my camera after Cook was done getting his shots.

I took individual photographs of some of the founders, and I present those images to conclude this post. I gave permission to the subjects for them to use the pictures, so I hope to see these images on their websites and elsewhere around the web. Thank you to all the subjects for being so patient with me to get these results.

Sung Jun, CEO of AtRium from South Korea, at the Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Sung Jun, CEO of AtRium from South Korea, at the Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Paul Tasner, CEO of Pulpworks, Inc. at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Paul Tasner, CEO of Pulpworks, Inc. at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Elena Olivari, Vice President of Research and Development at Pulpworks, Inc. at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Elena Olivari, Vice President of Research and Development at Pulpworks, Inc. at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Travis Horsley of TOHL, Inc. at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Travis Horsley of TOHL, Inc. at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Ashbel Ayuba, co-founder of Jorsey Ashbel Farms, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Ashbel Ayuba, co-founder of Jorsey Ashbel Farms, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Lalana Srikam, CEO of finalist team CSA Munching Box from Thailand, at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition,  April 12, 2013

Lalana Srikam, CEO of finalist team CSA Munching Box from Thailand, at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Meme B. Ortis (Note: his name may be Blessing Oritseweyinmi as that's what his nametag said. But I had him write his name for me, and he wrote Meme B. Ortis, so I don't know which is correct) the co-founder of Jorsey Ashbel Farms at  2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Meme B. Ortis (Note: his name may be Blessing Oritseweyinmi as that's what his nametag said. But I had him write his name for me, and he wrote Meme B. Ortis, so I don't know which is correct) the co-founder of Jorsey Ashbel Farms at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Lorenzo Di Ciaccio the CEO of Pedius at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Lorenzo Di Ciaccio the CEO of Pedius at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Eric Sorensen, Executive Director of Carbon Roots International, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Eric Sorensen, Executive Director of Carbon Roots International, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Claire Catherine Reid, Managing Director of Reel Gardening from South Africa, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Claire Catherine Reid, Managing Director of Reel Gardening from South Africa, at Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Pasquale Fedele, CEO of BrainControl, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photographed at International House near the UC Berkeley campus.

Pasquale Fedele, CEO of BrainControl, at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013. Photographed at International House near the UC Berkeley campus.

Benjamin Cohen, CEO of TOHL, Inc., at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Benjamin Cohen, CEO of TOHL, Inc., at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013

Portrait of keynote speaker Josh Nesbit at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013, University of California Berkeley

Portrait of keynote speaker Josh Nesbit at 2013 Global Social Venture Competition, April 12, 2013, University of California Berkeley

I used my Canon 5D Mark II camera to take these pictures. The group shots were taken with a Canon 50mm macro lens. The individual shots were taken with a Canon 80-200mm f:2.8 L zoom lens. The wide shots were taken with a Canon 16-35mm f:2.8 L zoom lens. I upload pictures to this blog at camera resolution of 21 megapixels. Click on the pictures to load the full size versions, which are larger than the versions you see by default. I pursue blogging and photography as a hobby.

I am sorry I could not photograph everyone. I would have liked to photograph all 18 teams properly, like I do when I attend the 500 Startups Demo Days.

I really enjoyed this event. It was exciting to meet people from around the world. I invite everyone I met, if allowed in your country, to friend me on Facebook so we may stay in touch. Thanks and good luck!

Intel CEO Paul Otellini is interviewed by Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley

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Intel CEO Paul Otellini at University of California Berkeley, October 3, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini at University of California Berkeley, October 3, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, October 3, 2012, I attended the Dean’s Speaker Series at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, in Berkeley, California USA.

Dean Richard Lyons interviewed Paul Otellini, the Chief Executive Officer of Intel Corporation. The question and answer session was held in the Anderson Auditorium, a venue I am very familiar with because it’s the same hall where the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum is usually held. I have attended the Forums for 20 years.

The interview was captured by a professional videographer, and the video will be soon made public on the Haas website page for the Speaker Series.

I have highlighted my favorite parts of Otellini’s remarks in my comments that follow.

Haas School of Business student asks Intel CEO Paul Otellini a question October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley

Haas School of Business student asks Intel CEO Paul Otellini a question October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley

Otellini completed his undergraduate studies at University of San Francisco, and received his Master of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business, though at the time it was named the Berkeley Business School. Otellini got a job at Intel in 1974 with his freshly minted MBA degree. Even though Otellini was a finance specialist, his first job at Intel was to program a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-10 minicomputer to perform cost analysis. This must have been an intense introduction to Intel for an MBA because mini-computers were not easy to program. I programmed a Digital Equipment Corporation VAX minicomputer in 1990, and it was difficult then, so I can only imagine how much more pesky and complicated it was to work 16 years earlier on the ancestor to the VAX.

Audience watches Rich Lyons interview Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley, in Berkeley, California USA

Audience watches Rich Lyons interview Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley, in Berkeley, California USA

When Otellini became CEO in 2005 he assessed that Intel was not organized correctly for where he saw the market heading. At the time, Intel had 105,000 employees. Otellini eliminated 25,000 jobs. The company is today back up to 103,000 employees. His advisers in 2005 were asking why he wanted to go into ‘the phone business’ when Intel was making money hand over fist at the time. Otelllini said he had many sleepless nights when he was contemplating letting 25,000 people go. He said he will never feel good about that, but he is grateful that he made the change well before the world financial collapse of 2008, so all the people let go were able to find jobs quickly.

Second year Haas student Michael Vladimer asks Intel CEO Paul Otellini a question, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley. To the right of the student, seated: Jill Erbland and Andre Marquis.

Second year Haas student Michael Vladimer asks Intel CEO Paul Otellini a question, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley. To the right of the student, seated: Jill Erbland and Andre Marquis.

I was surprised to learn that Intel is the world’s 4th largest software company in the world based on the number of computer programmers that it employs.

Otellini advised to get work experience in different geographic locations prior to starting a family.

Otellini said its chips are manufactured in three dimensions, which was forced upon it by the laws of physics, which prevented circuits from being made much smaller. To keep making more capable chips, transistors had to be stacked as well as placed side by side. This technology took Intel 10 years to perfect, with thousands of PhD holders working on the effort.

I wonder if they considered adding a ‘Now in 3D!’ tagline to their famous ‘Intel Inside’ stickers.

Audience watches Rich Lyons interview Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley

Audience watches Rich Lyons interview Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley

Otellini emphasized the high risks inherent in running Intel.

To illustrate, when Intel breaks ground on a new chip fabricating factory:

  • the technology hasn’t been developed yet
  • the products haven’t been designed yet
  • the markets for the products don’t exist yet

These factories take 3 1/2 years to build and cost USD $5,500,000,000 each, and Intel starts construction on two or three of these per year.

That sounds like a great definition of high risk to me.

Intel makes hardware reference designs that it provides to its customers so that they can get products to market more rapidly. Otellini said personal computer makers don’t spend that much on industrial design, so they like and need Intel to provide these turn key designs they can modify to make them unique.

Otellini had a mentor at Berkeley while he was a student in the early 1970s. That mentor worked at Bank of America, and tried to get Otellini to join that bank. Several years after Otellini had joined Intel, his mentor confided that Otellini had chosen the right company.

Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at UC Berkeley

Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at UC Berkeley

Intel has put in place a system where they can identify the source of so-called conflict minerals. They can also track them, and Otellini said that Intel is likely to be able to say by January 2013 that Intel has built the world’s first ‘conflict mineral free microprocessor’.

Otellini said he had spoken in the morning with Robert Hormats, Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs at the Department of State, who he said is very interested in [removing] conflict minerals from products. The Department of State, according to Otellini, wants to make Intel’s conflict mineral tracking system a so-called ‘best known method’ for the [semiconductor] industry.

Otellini said it recycles the chemicals used in its plants, and plans to recycle the water it uses to such a complete degree that its factories will be able to reuse the water they consume over and over, without needing to return it to the underground aquifers, like they do today.

Audience member at Dean's Speaker Series with Paul Otellini at Haas School of Business, October 3, 2012.

Audience member at Dean's Speaker Series with Paul Otellini at Haas School of Business, October 3, 2012.

Otellini spoke about manufacturing competitiveness generally in the United States, something he is qualified to speak about because he advises United States President Barack Obama about competitiveness.

He said many of the motivating factors that have led to outsourcing are disappearing. He said that it costs more for Intel to hire 1st and 2nd level technical managers in China now than it does in Santa Clara, California USA. For engineers with 3 or 4 years of experience, the costs to hire them are now the same in the US as they are in China and India.

Otellini said that the United States could improve its position by lowering its corporate tax rate [to a level consistent with the rate in competitive economies]. He suggested the US streamline its permitting procedures for building new factories. He suggested that job training be improved to provide a skilled workforce to work in the new factories. He pointed out that currency and political risks are low in the US, and stated there is no risk of a company’s factory being expropriated by the US government. In other countries, governments sometimes do take over privately owned factories.

Paul Otellini speaks with Arthur Gensler at University of California Berkeley, October 3, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Paul Otellini speaks with Arthur Gensler at University of California Berkeley, October 3, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

There were some famous guests in the audience.

Perhaps the most famous attendee was Arthur Gensler, the founder of M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, Inc. but commonly referred to as simply Gensler. I have been aware of this global architecture, planning, design and consulting firm since I was 23 years old at my first job out of college, at Newell Color Laboratory at 630 Third Street in San Francisco, California USA, since closed. Gensler was an important client. I suspect Gensler may be helping to design the new building Dean Lyons is being planned for the Haas School of Business campus.

Arthur Gensler speaking with Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley

Arthur Gensler speaking with Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley

After the interview, Lyons pointed out Mr. Gensler to me — without his helpful comment, I would not have been able to write this acknowledgment of his visit. Gensler is a big deal — they employ 3,500 people in 42 locations. They count all 10 of the Fortune 500 top 10 companies as clients.

Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons, left, watches Haas Professor Emeritus and Nobel Prize winner Oliver Williamson shake hands with Intel CEO Paul Otellini at Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, October 3, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons, left, watches Haas Professor Emeritus and Nobel Prize winner Oliver Williamson shake hands with Intel CEO Paul Otellini at Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, October 3, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Perhaps the second most famous attendee was Oliver Williamson. Williamson is Professor Emeritus at the Haas School of Business. In 2009 Williamson won the Nobel Prize for Economics. I saw Williamson speak in 2009 at the Haas Gala, the annual party the school throws each November. I blogged about that gala and wrote about Williamson, who spoke at the event. I took a picture of Williamson shaking hands with Otellini, shown here.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini with University of California Berkeley student Tammie Chen. Photograph by Kevin Warnock, October 3, 2012.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini with University of California Berkeley student Tammie Chen. Photograph by Kevin Warnock, October 3, 2012.

This last photograph of Mr. Otellini with Berkeley undergrad student Tammie Chen has an interesting story behind it.

I met Chen when she was an organizer for the 2011 Made for China Startup Pitch Competition. I was a judge for that competition. After that event, we became friends on Facebook, and she posted that she was going to be attending the Dean’s Speaker Series that is the subject of this blog post. I commented that I would be there as well, blogging. She asked me if I could take a picture of her with Otellini. I said I would. I walked up to him and asked him if I could introduce Chen to him and take a picture of him with her, and he readily agreed. They had a nice chat for a minute, and then they posed for this picture. Chen is a huge fan of Intel, and has visited their headquarters. She has a lot of friends that work at Intel.

I was surprised that no students approached Otellini to introduce themselves. This is the same behavior I saw at my first Dean’s Speaker Series event, in September 2012, when Lyons interviewed Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T. There were students standing about 10 feet away from Otellini, in a large circle, but not a single student walked into the empty space to say hello. That made it easy for me to say hello to Mr. Otellini, who I have met and spoken with before, in 2008, at the Intel Capital CEO Summit [renamed the Intel Capital Global Summit] in San Francisco.

Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, October 3, 2012 at University of California Berkeley. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

I like Intel. Their venture capital division Intel Capital was very nice to my company Silveroffice, Inc. by making it an Intel Capital Portfolio Company. Intel Capital invites me as their guest to Intel’s annual Intel Developer Forum, at which I get a new Intel Developer Forum branded laptop bag or backpack, which I use every time I leave my home with my Intel powered laptop. I hope to be appointed a judge for the Intel Global Challenge, a role I would be great at since I was a judge for the Berkeley Startup Competition for eight years through 2011. My application is pending, so please wish me luck! I love judging startup competitions, and so far I have judged four different competitions at University of California Berkeley.

I took all the photographs in this post. I used a Canon 5D Mark II camera with a Canon 80-200mm f:2.8 L zoom lens. Click on the images twice in delayed succession to see the images at full size. I uploaded the images at their full 21 megapixel resolution, at a JPG quality of 12. The light level was comparatively low, so I shot at ISO 2,500, without flash.

Thank you to Meg Fellner of the Dean’s Office for getting me a ticket to this sold out event.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is interviewed September 6, 2012 by Rich Lyons, the Dean of the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley

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Rich Lyons, Dean of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley interviews Randall Stephenson, the CEO and Chair off ATT, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Rich Lyons, Dean of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley interviews Randall Stephenson, the CEO and Chair off ATT, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

On Thursday, September 6, 2012, I attended the Dean’s Speaker Series at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, in Berkeley, California USA.

This was the first Dean’s Speaker Series I have attended.

Audience listens to ATT CEO Randall Stephenson speak, September 6, 2012 at UC Berkeley

Audience listens to ATT CEO Randall Stephenson speak, September 6, 2012 at UC Berkeley

I have been aware of this series for years, but I assumed attendance was restricted to friends of the Dean, Rich Lyons, because of the name of the event.

I’ve met and spoken with the Dean about ten times over the years, I estimate, including when he was the Acting Dean when Dean Tom Campbell took a leave of absence to help then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger manage the finances of the State of California.

Rich Lyons, Dean of the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, asks Randall Stephenson a question, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Rich Lyons, Dean of the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, asks Randall Stephenson a question, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking over the Haas website and marveled at the outstanding list of upcoming individuals the Dean will be interviewing on stage. There in front of me were the magic words — the events are open to members of the Haas ‘community.’ I was pretty sure I qualified, since I am a sponsor of one of the school’s premier events, the Berkeley Startup Competition, and have been every year since 2000. I inquired and I got a seat — I was and am thrilled.

The Dean’s guest for this event was Randall Stephenson, the Chief Executive Officer of AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the United States.

I am an AT&T customer, both for my home’s broadband Internet connection and for my wireless Apple iPhone 3GS, which I bought soon after launch. I no longer have a wired phone. I like AT&T’s service — I get great reception and few dropped calls.

Randall Stephenson, Chair and CEO of AT&T, photographed by Kevin Warnock on September 6, 2012 at UC Berkeley

Randall Stephenson, Chair and CEO of AT&T, photographed by Kevin Warnock on September 6, 2012 at UC Berkeley

My regard for AT&T went up after listening to Stephenson speak for an hour. Stephenson was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer prior to becoming Chair and CEO, among many roles.

He started at a job he called a ‘tape monkey’ at Southwest Bell Telephone in 1982 loading 19 inch diameter magnetic tapes of billing data onto tape drives. He did this work 12 hours a day — reading a video screen for instruction on which tape to load, finding the tape in storage, loading the tape and then pressing ‘Run.’

I did this same job, though not full time and not for 12 hours a day, when I worked at Cooley LLP. Thankfully I only had to do this role about two weeks a year, when the regular tape technician, Bill Calhoun, went on vacation.

Stephenson said he figured a way to rework his tape loading job to make it much more efficient and enjoyable, though he didn’t tell us the details of what he changed.

Rich Lyons, Dean of the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, listens to Randall Stephenson answer a question, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Rich Lyons, Dean of the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley, listens to Randall Stephenson answer a question, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

During his introductory remarks, Rich Lyons said Stephenson worked in Mexico City as SBC’s Director of Finance.

At some point, Stephenson worked in Mexico for Carlos Slim, the iconic leader of Telmex. Stephenson did not explain how he came to work for Carlos Slim, who presumably was not an SBC employee at any point in his life.

Stephenson said Carlos Slim is ‘the most inherently brilliant individual that I’ve ever worked with.’

Randall Stephenson, CEO and Chair of AT&T, speaks at University of California at Berkeley, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Randall Stephenson, CEO and Chair of AT&T, speaks at University of California at Berkeley, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Stephenson was in Mexico working for Slim in 1994 when there was an economic crisis that began December 19, 1994, when the Mexican government lifted all restraints on the Mexican Peso and let its value float. The Mexican currency lost 40% of its value in one day, Stephenson recalled.

Slim had 20,000 wireless subscribers in 1994, and thanks in part to the aggressive investments Slim made in the aftermath of the economic crisis of 1994, TelMex now has over 200 million wireless subscribers and Slim has made himself reportedly the wealthiest man in the world.

Stephenson took his job as CEO in June 2007 when ATT was a $100B annual revenue company with 300,000 employees, the same month that Apple launched its first iPhone. Stephenson invested heavily when the 2008 financial crisis came.

University of California Berkeley students listen to AT&T CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson speak, September 6, 2012

University of California Berkeley students listen to AT&T CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson speak, September 6, 2012

Stephenson said that 170,000 of AT&T’s employees actively participate in its TIP — The Innovation Pipeline — system conceived by the company’s CTO, a guy so tough to hire that it took ten years for Stephenson to do so. This system allows employees to propose ideas for the company to work on developing. People vote on the ideas and the best ones that float to the top are funded and pursued. In response to a question from a student in the audience, Stephenson said that apart from advertising the program to employees the company does little to promote participation. He said participation is quite good.

University of California Berkeley students listen to AT&T CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson speak, September 6, 2012

University of California Berkeley students listen to AT&T CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson speak, September 6, 2012

Stephenson and and his public relations person Larry (last name not mentioned) said they were so excited about a couple of their ‘tattooed up’ technologists in their Palo Alto, California research lab named the ‘Foundry’ that they put photographs of them in AT&T’s Annual Report. Stephenson divulged that competitors now are ‘coming after’ these programmers trying to hire them away from AT&T.

University of California Berkeley student asks AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson a question, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

University of California Berkeley student asks AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson a question about AT&T's TIP suggestion system, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

A student from the audience asked Stephenson to discuss wireless handset subsidies. Stephenson answered at length and concluded that the current system in the United States is overwhelmingly what customers want. He said AT&T performed studies where customers were asked if they would like to finance a phone via a separate finance contract, in exchange for markedly lower rates for service. Stephenson said customers did not like this proposal.

I think the survey respondents that answered this way are short sighted.

The way things operate in the United States, where one can buy a USD $700 iPhone for $200 because of the carrier subsidies, there is a perverse incentive to upgrade your phone exactly every two years. That is because contracts generally run for two years. If you keep a phone for three years, that final year you are paying much more than is warranted for service.

People should be encouraged to save money, not spend, so I admire the relatively new system reported by Stephenson to be the norm in Europe — phones are not subsidized and rates for service are [I hope] commensurately lower. Stephenson said phone sales dropped dramatically when this policy was implemented, but I say that is just what the world needs. People keep a home phone for decades. People keep televisions, stereos and other household appliances for years. Stephenson told me one-on-one after the event that fully 90% of his company’s customers upgrade their wireless phone every 14 months. Since contracts are two years long, 90% of its customers are paying early termination fees, which decline over time. That is a waste of the world’s resources, even in this day of a vibrant resale market for used mobile phones. I’m pretty sure a lot of people just throw their old mobile phones in a drawer, to benefit nobody. I understand mobile phones improve rapidly, and I do plan to get the latest iPhone when it’s available, having skipped the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. I just don’t approve of upgrading exceptionally frequently, which I consider 14 months to be.

I encourage AT&T and all carriers to offer unbundled rates for mobile service, as an option.

Rich Lyons is a good interviewer. The setting was photogenic — two handsome cushioned arm chairs on an elevated stage, with a small end table between the chairs. Lyons and Stephenson wore wireless lapel microphones. There was a backdrop behind the men that repeated the logos for UC Berkeley and the Haas School of Business, so the logos made it into every photograph of the people on stage. As a photographer, I applaud the Dean for creating such an inviting, warm and photogenic environment for his interviews. I look forward with enthusiasm to the next Dean’s Speaker Series interview, which I hope to be able to attend.

Former Haas Dean Dr. Laura D’Andrea Tyson is on the Board of Directors of AT&T, and presumably she helped Lyons recruit Stephenson to visit the Haas School. Tyson was Dean when I was a finalist in the Berkeley Business Plan Competition in 1999 with my company Hotpaper.

Student asks AT&T CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson a question, September 6, 2012, at University of California Berkeley

Student asks AT&T CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson a question about mobile handset subsidies, September 6, 2012, at University of California Berkeley

I took the photographs that accompany this blog post.

I used a Canon 5D Mark II camera with the following lenses: Canon 135mm soft-focus lens set to sharp, Canon 16-35mm L zoom lens. I upload pictures to this blog at maximum camera resolution at maximum image quality. Click on the photographs twice in delayed succession to see the full size images. If you would like to use these pictures, please send me a message. If the purpose is reasonable, I will allow usage. I enjoy having my pictures displayed elsewhere. I pursue photography only as a hobby, not as a profession.

At the end of his interview, Rich Lyons stands with ATT CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson at  the Haas School of Business, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

At the end of his interview, Rich Lyons stands with ATT CEO and Chair Randall Stephenson at the Haas School of Business, September 6, 2012. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Finally, I have some advice for Berkeley students reading this post — introduce yourself to the speaker.

I don’t recall seeing any students introduce themselves to Stephenson. I did see a professor and a president of a good sized company say hello, but that’s it. Stephenson spent several minutes talking with me because there was nobody waiting after me to speak with him. The room had rapidly cleared out. The interview was during the lunch hour, so perhaps the students had to be in class immediately after. It’s rare for so prominent a CEO to speak to such a small group — there were about 140 students in the room by my quick count. I’m sure Stephenson won’t be back this academic year. Make a point of meeting all such prominent speakers. In my mind, Stephenson should have been surrounded by dozens of students trying to shake his hand. Stephenson didn’t appear to be in a rush to depart, and I left before he did.

Occupy Cal protest at University of California at Berkeley November 15, 2011

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Kevin Warnock at Occupy Cal following Robert Reich speech at UC Berkeley, November 15, 2011

Kevin Warnock at Occupy Cal following Robert Reich speech at UC Berkeley, November 15, 2011

I was at the Occupy Cal protest at University of California at Berkeley last evening, November 15, 2011. There were over 1,000 protesters there. The energy in the air was positive and infectious.

As far as I could detect, the Occupy Cal event wasn’t marred by the shooting of a Berkeley student by campus police earlier in the afternoon. That student later died at the hospital. That student, Christopher Nathen Elliot Travis, age 32, was a transfer student from Ohlone College in Fremont, California.

Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons addressed the school’s students this morning. Later, Lyons posted this letter to the Haas Newsroom and publicized it via the micro-blogging website Twitter.

My friend Heather Sepulveda went to Ohlone College before she transferred to UC Berkeley years ago — a very strange coincidence to be sure.

Occupy Cal general assembly at UC Berkeley, November 15, 2011

Occupy Cal general assembly at UC Berkeley, November 15, 2011

There was a drum beat to the protest, thanks to the talented musicians that showed up. One of the musicians looked to be about 60, and he said he had participated in the anti war protests at UC Berkeley in the 1960s. I feature some of the music in the video I am editing from the event, which I hope to post tomorrow. I got some great video, including of the camping tents being carried into place.

Board member of the Mario Savio Lecture Fund addressing Occupy Cal protesters November 15, 2011 at Sproul Plaza

Board member of the Mario Savio Lecture Fund addressing Occupy Cal protesters November 15, 2011 at Sproul Plaza

Robert Reich speaking at Occupy Cal protest, November 15, 2011

Robert Reich speaking at Occupy Cal protest, November 15, 2011

The event incorporated a gathering of The Savio Lecture Fund, which originally was to take place indoors at the Pauley Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, also on the UC Berkeley campus. My guess is the change of venue was decided close to the last minute to benefit from the association with the Occupy Cal movement. I was not previously familiar with Mario Savio, I am embarrassed to admit. I concluded from the talks I heard last night that Savio would have embraced the Occupy Cal movement and message. Savio spoke on December 2, 1964 from the same steps of Sproul Hall where the speakers last night spoke from.

The Savio Lecture speaker last evening was former United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who is a Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. I captured his speech to high definition video and presented it on my blog earlier today.

Camping tents being moved onto Sproul Plaza as part of the Occupy Cal protest November 15, 2011

Camping tents being moved onto Sproul Plaza as part of the Occupy Cal protest November 15, 2011

In the photograph above you can see some of the camping tents already in place, along with another tent being carried into place already set up. Organizers were distributing hot food on the Sproul Hall steps. Even though there were a lot of people there, it was possible to easily move among the crowd, and I had no trouble taking pictures and video, even though I had brought a tripod with me, for many of the time exposures I took to capture the low light images you see here.

Soap bubbles by the hundreds liven up the view from the steps of Sproul Hall during Occupy Cal protest at UC Berkeley November 15, 2011

Soap bubbles by the hundreds liven up the view from the steps of Sproul Hall during Occupy Cal protest at UC Berkeley November 15, 2011

Sproul Hall after Robert Reich concluded his speech on the steps. UC Berkeley, November 15, 2011.

Sproul Hall after Robert Reich concluded his speech on the steps. UC Berkeley, November 15, 2011.

I took the above shot right before I departed, after 10pm. The group front and center appeared to be in their 50s and 60s. The age mix of the crowd was inspiring — it definitely wasn’t just current students in their teens and twenties. I felt that people were really passionate about the Occupy movement, and that this movement will be long lived and will accomplish real change in the world. I am glad I made the trip from San Francisco.

I uploaded these pictures at full 21 megapixel resolution. To see them at full size, click on them twice, with a pause in between the clicks to allow the photographs to load in a separate window. If you’d like to use these pictures for something, please give me a link back to my blog. If you like this blog, please subscribe, and please add this post to your status feed on Facebook. Thank you!

Written by Kevin Warnock

November 16th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum at Google, Inc. headquarters, October 27, 2011

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Networking hour at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum held at Google, Inc., October 27, 2011

Networking hour at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum held at Google, Inc., October 27, 2011

Thursday October 27, 2011, I attended the first Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum ever held away from the University of California at Berkeley campus.

The Forum was held in Building 40 at Google, Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California USA. Getting to the event was a challenge because Google was throwing a huge celebration for the Indian national holiday Diwali. As a result, parking was tight and there were hundreds of people in the huge courtyard between the massive Google buildings. I’m not complaining for it was festive and an adventure. I photographed the 6,000 burning candles artfully arranged in the courtyard, as you can see at the bottom of this post. There was a live band. The Google cafeteria was packed. It was exciting.

The Entrepreneurs Forum was a small event compared to the outdoor Diwali celebration.

The title of the Forum was ‘Power Hungry: Developments in Energy-Efficiency Technologies for Data Centers.’ This was an appropriate event to have at Google, which I suspect runs the largest collection of computers in the world.

I learned a lot at this forum. For example, computer rooms that are chilly are computer rooms that are horribly inefficient. Modern servers can run fine at temperatures around 85F degrees, and sometimes even warmer. Here’s the official video, immediately above.

Dale Sartor, John Robison and Joyce Dickerson on panel at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Dale Sartor, John Robison and Joyce Dickerson on panel at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Dale Sartor, P.E., Applications Team - Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Dale Sartor, P.E., Applications Team - Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

John H. Robison, Principal, NGEN Partners, LLC, at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

John H. Robison, Principal, NGEN Partners, LLC, at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Joyce Dickerson, Sustainable IT at Stanford University, at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Joyce Dickerson, Sustainable IT at Stanford University, at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Sylvia Burks, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Sylvia Burks, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, October 27, 2011

Diwali Festival of Lights with 6,000 candles at Google, Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, October 27, 2011. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

Diwali Festival of Lights with 6,000 candles at Google, Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, October 27, 2011. Photograph by Kevin Warnock.

[Note: I received a free pass to this event courtesy of my membership on the Advisory Council for the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum. I am writing here as a private citizen, not in any official capacity with UC Berkeley or the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum.]

Written by Kevin Warnock

November 8th, 2011 at 5:00 am