To Infinity And Beyond: Buzz Lightyear, T-Pain, Hot Chocolate And Technology

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Turning A Utility Into A Community: BranchOut’s Metamorphosis

I’m at the #BoxWorks conference in San Francisco this week, which is an odd place for me to be at first glance. Why odd? Because I don’t really get into or cover “enterprise” technology. It’s nothing against the vertical: I’m just usually involved with smaller startups trying to change the world for people like my Mom.

Someone asked me today if I’d like to sit down with a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, and of course I said yes. But I couldn’t help but think, “Please, don’t pitch me on this whole Silicon Beach thing, because that drives me insane.” Luckily, this wasn’t the case.

When I sat down with this gent, a few things came up, including why he’s involved in technology in the first place. His answers were interesting, introspective and made a lot of sense. It was a pretty refreshing conversation, I have to say.

Here’s our talk:

TC: You have a couple of startups. Why?

Entrepreneur Guy: I have three companies. I’m working on a social theater to share content right now, but without advertising. Advertising won’t save the world. If you want to have quality meanginful experiences, it probably won’t be free, just like a quality meal or product. Consumers are going to have to part with something in their brain instead of watch ads.

TC: What’s so different about LA and SF?

Entrepreneur Guy: Quite a bit, I love coming here, I meet so many smart people. I’m a high school dropout and had my own unique education. I ended up going back to art school and studied to be a painter. I’ve always been a problem solver, so for me to do what I’m doing is natural.

TC: What is your number one hurdle with having companies in LA?

Entrepreneur Guy: You have the same hurdles anywhere — how to build an unstoppable team and execute the vision. Those are the challenges you face everywhere, though, whether you’re a beach or a bungalow. There are more challenges being in Los Angeles, especially in talent. But over three companies we have 27 employees all over the place, so it doesn’t really matter.

TC: What are your favorite apps/sites/businesses right now?

Entrepreneur Guy: I like Path a lot. I am an investor for full disclosure. I think they’re unmatched as far as design and execution. They have a great leader, and they do something really excellent. They had the foresight to get into that space really early on. I think they’ve done a great job and shown how important design can be.

TC: How have your goals changed as your career and life evolved?

Entrepreneur Guy: I’ve always enjoyed making things and sharing things with people. I’m a creative person and like to share things I’ve made. That’s remained a constant throughout my life. Along the way, I’ve found that achievement gives you the strength and confidence to move forward and tackle other dreams. There’s the dilemma of saying no to yourself as well. You can’t walk down two paths at one time. You have to be careful of what you bring into your life. I haven’t always been the most confident that I had enough to contribute, but that voice should be ignored as much as possible for people. Be brave and get into action.

Box As Springboard

Overall, I feel like I had a pretty interesting conversation with someone who is extremely passionate about changing the world. Where does Box fit into all of this? Well, the service is a platform, and its conference is serving as the same. Not all of the conversations today revolve around the cloud, but just like its platform, Box is making itself the place to springboard everything.

Oh, and the fellow that I talked to? You might have heard of him, Jared Leto. Instead of just thinking of his movies or music, maybe now you feel like you know him a bit more. He’s just one of the many folks trying to trailblaze a road for continual creation and creativity. That’s pretty rad.

[Buzz Lightyear credit: Flickr]