Rank #1: Pitchwerks #147 - Jason Jones | Idea Foundry
We did a show with Idea Foundry’s Jason Jones a few months back, but then lost the whole thing when our road kit ate the recording. Jason is a good sport though, and agreed to come back in to redo the show when he had time. We got him back into the studio, and halfway through, something major blew up on the utility pole and knocked out all the power on our block. NO EXCUSES IN THE PODCAST GAME THOUGH - we did the rest of the show with AA batteries and cell phone lights. You’ll be glad we did! Jason is a great guest, and Idea Foundry does important innovation and economic development work. Applications for their Equitable Entrepreneurship program (EE) are now being accepted through August 18th, and you are really going to want to tell someone about it.
Rank #2: Pitchwerks #146 - Toni Murphy, Bill Flanagan | Allegheny Conference
This week’s guests are incredible! We have Toni Murphy, vice president of sales and marketing for Comcast, and Bill Flanagan, the iconic host of WPXI TV’s Our Region’s Business - and they’re in to talk about their work with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. Specifically, they’re here talking about “Our Next 75”, the Allegheny Conference initiative that brought a diverse crowd of 1000 locals into one room to talk about what the area needs to grow and thrive for the next 75 years. The trio gets into the methodology behind the effort, the brand and message work necessary to make sure that it’s successful, and where things go from here.
Rank #3: Pitchwerks #115 - Dr. Jonathan Weinkle | Author of Healing People, Not Patients
Dr. Jonathan Weinkle is a well-traveled and experienced physician who wrote a book about certain soft skills that doctors can develop and use to become more efficient, and ultimately build better relationships with their patients. Scot read it, and immediately thought “this book is really about how to listen, and how to ask follow up questions to solve your customer’s true pain”. So this week, Jonathan’s in the studio, and the two men dig deeper on the traditional ways that we listen to each other, and how to develop a problem-solving mindset that combines listening and thoughtful follow-up questions.
Rank #4: Pitchwerks #99 - Dr. Noah Snyder | Interphase Materials
THIS WEEK: Dr. Noah Snyder gives us an inspiring peek into Interphase Materials, a company that specializes in the many places where technology interfaces with biology, which makes for a wide-ranging set of applications. During this week’s show, Noah speaks with Scot MacTaggart about how Interphase improves outcomes in medicine, and improves the efficiency of both Navy ships and HVAC systems. Be sure to listen for Noah’s advice about customer discovery, the pitfalls of startup fashion, and the quest for true purpose he thinks is key to his happiness as well as his success.
Rank #5: Pitchwerks #119 - Mark Santo | International Business
Trained as a lawyer, teaching classes in the Duquesne University MBA program, dragging a track record of high-dollar deals around with him, Mark Santo has seen a lot. This week, he visits Scot and Buzzy in the new podcast studio at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, looking out to the common outdoor area of Nova Place. Mark and Scot talk about right and reasonable timing and methodology in taking a business into the global international market, today’s competitive landscape, and how a young professional should prepare for the changes that are unfolding in the world.
Rank #6: Pitchwerks #124 - Kit Mueller - Startup Boost Pittsburgh
An entrepreneur who is 50% player, 50% coach, and 50% cheerleader, Kit Mueller is a hurricane of can-do builder spirit and supportive energy - with a definite mischievous streak - and Scot enjoys his company tremendously. Kit has had an open invitation to come to the Epicast Studios and appear on the Pitchwerks Podcast since the show started, but he has always suggested others for the show instead. This week he finally comes in and talks about what he thinks real mentorship looks like, and tells us about his efforts to bring the Startup Boost program to Pittsburgh, working with our friend Jim Gibbs and serial entrepreneur Mitch Turck. Applications for the first cohort will be closing soon, so if you’ve got a young company you might want to listen to this show right away!
Rank #7: Pitchwerks #102 - Rachel Reid | Subtl Beauty
This week we hear from Rachel Reid, the young and driven founder of Subtl Beauty (subtlbeauty.com), and then starting tomorrow (9/20/2018) we will all be able to follow along in real life, in real time to see how her Kickstarter product launch fares. Rachel’s an open book. She shares a number of useful anecdotes about how a fairly risk-averse corporate employee moved on to build a company, a product line and a pitch out of a hack she put together just for her own life. Listen to the show and then - starting tomorrow - follow Rachel’s journey through Kickstarter to find out whether that pitch resonates with real customers.
Rank #8: Pitchwerks #98 - Mark Bursic - Critical Syntax
Remember a couple of months ago when all of a sudden you got emails from every website you’d ever heard of, telling you that they were updating their privacy policies? You can thank the EU for that. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) got everyone’s attention, but apparently not long enough to make sure that everyone knows what it is and how it works. That’s where this week’s guest Mark Bursic comes in. Mark is the founder of Critical Syntax, a company that focuses primarily on WordPress websites, and on September 11th, 2018, he and his colleagues are hosting a webinar on this very topic. We asked Mark to come into the studio and give us a sneak peek at the information he’ll be sharing, and explain GDPR to the Pitchwerks audience.
Rank #9: Pitchwerks #107 - Ryan Green | Gridwise
Ryan Green and his team at Gridwise have won over some very tough rooms on their journey so far, from the early days at Alphalab to last year’s Techstars Mobility cohort. He knows his way around investor pitches and negotiations, but now he’s here in our studio! This week, Ryan and Scot talk about the basic workings of Gridwise, which raises the earnings potential of rideshare drivers by supplying them with better intelligence. Other topics include ways to increase brand awareness, what to look for in angel and VC investors, and the unexpected ways that drivers cooperate. If you have friends that drive for Uber or Lyft, make sure they check out this week’s show!
Rank #10: Pitchwerks #100 - Kenny Chen | Thrival Festival, Ascender
Holy hell, we made it. Episode 100. We decided against making too big of a thing about it. In fact, this would be a totally regular show if we weren’t drinking champagne. Staying fairly true to form though, we drank the champagne out of whiskey tasting glasses, and talked to our old friend Kenny Chen about how he might pitch the speakers and panels at this year’s Thrival Festival to the people who might not have thought about attending. Kenny’s been up to a lot since we last spoke to him, getting a title bump to “Innovation Director” at Ascender / Thrival, getting deeply involved as an XPrize ambassador, and even working with the United Nations on AI for Good initiatives. Kenny’s a tremendous person, and we’re glad he joined us for our biggest milestone yet.
Rank #11: Pitchwerks #144 - Milena Roucka | Totally Fit Mama
Super fun show this week! Milena Roucka - who wrestling fans will know better as WWE’s Rosa Mendes - comes into the studio to talk about Totally Fit Mama, the business she started with her partner Courtney Daylong. During the course of conversation, she manages to drop a number of motivational and endearing truths about all the major changes in her life the past few years, including the birth of her daughter, her retirement from WWE, the breakup of her relationship, and adjusting to a new life in a new city.
Rank #12: Pitchwerks #111 - Catherine Mott | Blue Tree Allied Angels
In Western Pennsylvania, even people who don’t work in startups and entrepreneurship know this week’s guest Catherine Mott, and Blue Tree Allied Angels. We’re excited to have Catherine in the studio with Pitchwerks host Scot MacTaggart, talking about angel investment, including common mistakes that startup founders make, due diligence, matching up to the right angel group, and what Catherine looks for in a CEO.
Rank #13: Pitchwerks #108 - Mark DeSantis | RoadBotics
RoadBotics CEO, Carnegie Mellon professor, and veteran entrepreneur Mark DeSantis is our guest this week, sharing educational and inspiring insights with Scot MacTaggart in an extended edition of the Pitchwerks podcast. RoadBotics is an AI company, focusing on the “big and boring” problem of road inspection and analysis, saving municipal clients millions and millions of dollars. In just 20 months they have built a list of 80 clients and raised millions of dollars.
Rank #14: Pitchwerks #133 - John Chamberlin, Rachael Rennebeck | YaJagoff!
For a long time, Scot has been waiting for an opportunity to point to a really effective partnership that matches his own personal preferences. This week, John Chamberlin and Rachael Rennebeck of YaJagoff Media come in to do just that. YaJagoff Media is best known for the podcast of the same name, but their show is just one component of the larger media and marketing company that they built. It’s a full-time job from which they make their living. Rachael and John are very honest with Scot throughout the entire interview - including a discussion about how they had been arguing the entire day before coming into the studio - but they also explain how when it comes time to set their differences aside and get to work, they’re some of the best in the business.
Fair warning - this week’s show is marked explicit because it’s a little spicy. Not bad - it’s like a 1.5 out of 5 on the podcast scale - but still, you might get in a bit of trouble if you work at an uptight place and bust out the speaker system.
Rank #15: Pitchwerks #131 - Vivek Kumar and John Goldschmidt | Qlicket
The last time Vivek Kumar was in the studio, this fine program was celebrating its 40th episode, and Qlicket was primarily selling into the hospitality space. A lot has happened since then, including the addition of John Goldschmidt, who brought a history of sales, business development, and customer success. The company has been tested several times, and in several ways, since Vivek’s last visit. This week, Vivek and John come in to speak with Scot MacTaggart about pivots and struggles, and the huge month-over-month gains that they’re now seeing since they’ve adapted and survived.
Rank #16: Pitchwerks #101 - Nadyli Nuñez | Forbes Funds / UpPrize
Fun show this week, as Nadyli Nuñez and Scot MacTaggart have a bunch of laughs talking about the UpPrize pitch competitions, the well-funded and socially responsible results of the combined efforts of BNY Mellon and the Forbes Funds to empower people that are working to assist non-profits and at-risk populations. Nadyli is a great guest, serving up a buoyant enthusiasm as well as shrewd analysis as she explains how UpPrize got where it is now, and how the program plans to expand.
Rank #17: Pitchwerks #122 - Jon Providence | EagleDream Technologies
Jon Providence is the Vice President of EagleDream Technologies, who holds the #1 spot among resellers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the Northeast United States. It’s a very competitive space - there are 58,000 other AWS resellers out in the world, and considering just because of Boston and New York City alone, the Northeast is an incredibly competitive territory. Jon talks to Scot about how EagleDream climbed to the top spot, makes a few predictions regarding what the future might hold, and even tells us how he makes those predictions, providing instructive examples from history that tell us what we might expect from the future.
This is a special bonus episode of Pitchwerks, provided in addition to our usual Wednesday programming because EagleDream has just announced a partnership with KRNLS, the firm that Scot started with Olga Pogoda to help businesses grow. KRNLS is handling EagleDream’s launch in Pittsburgh, providing value-add tools and discounts to Amazon Web Services clients in the area.
If you’re interested in such things, check out krnls.co/eagledream
Rank #18: Pitchwerks #140 - Greg Coticchia | CMU Product Management
Greg Coticchia has a way of inciting mischief in the Epicast Studios, and this time is no different. This week, the serial-entrepreneur-turned-educator is behind the mic talking about product management, a very useful discipline for those businesses that have expanded past the startup phase, and now need to organize their efforts. One thing that sparks a number of different conversation points is the fact that product managers typically have no authority or staff, so they have to use data, trust, and negotiation to win people over and get the support that they need to make their product successful.
Rank #19: Pitchwerks #128 - Prashant Ambe | TiE Pittsburgh
A great analytical mind steps into the Epicast studios this week as Prashant Ambe, president of TiE Pittsburgh - a nonprofit startup support network - gets behind the microphone. Prashant starts with his 3-axis theory on career development, recommending diversity in cultures, skills, and industries. After that, he shares recipes that build successful businesses, the importance of taking responsibility for your own path, and a deep dive into the history and mission of TiE and its Pittsburgh chapter. Be sure to check this week’s episode out!
Rank #20: Pitchwerks #145 - John Feghali | Toaster Party
After starting businesses across various fields, including robotics and software, John Feghali has now turned his attention to something for the younger generation. His latest venture is called Toaster Party, and this week we’re talking about how they are marketing their new product, Toaster Pets Animation Studio. John sees his whole career as a mission to make life’s best things available to everyone - and the Toaster Pets product is no different. The Animation Studio addresses one of the biggest requests that young people make of their parents: they want to make online videos. John says his cartoon video kit allows them to express themselves earlier, but in a safe and anonymous way. He adds that the storytelling process and a “build-on-your-failures” mindset prepares young people for the many jobs that will require the skills this product develops.