December 2nd 2014: Holiday Party and Short Program

With the announcement of the upcoming lecture series and it’s topic of the power and effects of changing business models through the use of various mediums, the short program discussed creative professionals being underpaid due to their general excitement for their work.

Using the Arts as Social Architecture

December 2nd, 2014
Angelica’s Restaurant
863 Main Street, Redwood City, CA

December’s gathering introduces the 2015 season innovation theme; Human Potential and Innovation. The 2015 series of programs will explore the power and rippling effects of changing models through arts, sciences, business and technology, and the resulting effects that may be possible in society as a result.

The December short program explores a Work in Progress. Artists, writers, musicians and other creative professionals in nontechnical areas are frequently undervalued in terms of financial compensation — in part because their passion for their work allows them to accept less.

The Berkshire Columbia Musicians Collaborative (BCMC) is currently in the process of implementing a social architecture which exemplifies how changing models alter both how to invest our energy and the results we can achieve in our lives.

BCMC-GuthrieCenter
BCMC – The Guthrie Center

Concepts of “innate ability” limit people. Skills and talents are innate in the human mind, but must be developed and put to work. Self talk changes perceptions of self. Questions such as “how good a painter were you when you were 4?” and statements like “I’m not good at xxx” change the way we operate and how we create meaning and “MeaningPlace.”

Innovation is not something you “have” (it’s developed, learned, and unfortunately, too often “un-learned”).

 

Next events at Angelica’s Restaurant, 863 Main Street, Redwood City CA.
Appetizers provided. No host dinner & drinks available.
Pre-Registration Tickets ($15)  – On SALE Now!

JAN 16th 2013 (Recap): Innovation 2013 – New Year’s Party!

Happy 2013, Silicon Valley!

Yum!…Way to party!!

So…What is the state of innovation in 2013? Well, opinions differ on that point, but we at SVII are of the opinion that it is not nearly wide-spread enough. There are pockets of innovation, and there are people who produce a lot of innovation, but those places and people are still the exception, which is exactly the opposite of how things should be. Everyone should be an innovator, every company should be a producer of innovation, and everywhere should be a thriving home of innovation of one type or another.

But let us not get carried away with lofty generalities. Is this even possible? And, to ask an even more basic question, how would we even know if that is the case? This leads to a whole other set of questions: How do you know if innovation is happening? Is innovation something that you can measure (precisely or not)? We certainly did not answer all of these questions at our last SVII meeting, but we took a step. Also, if you want more thoughts on these prickly, tangled questions, come to our next event, where we will be exploring the value of intangible assets (hmm, that’s a bit like measuring innovation).

So how did we take a step toward answering these lofty questions? We stepped aside. Or, to describe it more precisely, our founder, Howard Lieberman, stepped aside. Starting out the year as SVII’s first speaker (at our event in the fabulous NestGSV incubator building in Redwood City), he promptly stepped out of the spotlight and shone it on others. His goal was to replace the “sage on the stage” with a “guide on the side,” which he believes is a key to unlocking so much more of the hidden innovative potential in every single person.

In other words, the world is full of people telling other people what to do (bosses and managers come to mind, but speakers and the various forms of advisers often do it too), instead of helping them to figure out for themselves how they can impact the world (or their company, or their community) in the best way possible. The guide on the side is like a miner, helping people to look within themselves for what they already have in them that can make the world a better place–what they know they can do, what hole they see that no one else sees.

Beginning from this place, Lieberman led the audience into a conversation about how collaboration and entrepreneurship are key to opening the doors of innovation to people who don’t think about it much. “Why do you run a company?”, he asked a few people. Because the pressure motivates me…because I hate other people being my boss…because there is no other way to do what I want to do. These conversations continued on a smaller scale after the event as people continued to mingle.

After Howard Lieberman gave the big picture introduction, we also had a very specific talk about a kind of innovation going on in the transportation space. Mike Lester, CEO of Taxi 2000 (taxi2000.com), talked to us about a product that his company is building, called Skyweb Express.

Skyweb Express is a new form of public transportation (so new that it has never been implemented outside of a test environment). The idea is that it is a network (or web) of elevated rail tracks that hold individualized rail cars that can hold one or two people. The network would ideally be in an urban environment with many small stations throughout the city. When a passenger gets in one of the rail cars, they tell the car where they want to go and it will take them to the closest station.

Among the reasons this system has a lot of innovative potential are the elevated tracks and the individualized cars. Because of the elevated track, the system will not be competing with local ground traffic, giving the system the possibility of significant time savings during peak traffic times. Because of the individualized cars, the potential is there for no wait times when you get to a station. I say potential because there is always the possibility that all of the rail cars are in use at a certain time, but according to Lester, the cost per trip of the Skyweb system is much less than conventional mass transit systems because of the smaller track required for the smaller cars and because of the lack of unused space that you get in trains and buses during non-peak hours. In the Skyweb system, if a car is not being used, it’s either going to a place of high demand or waiting until it’s needed, leading to a more efficient use of energy and money than other systems where space isn’t as granular. Think of how many times you’ve seen a bus drive by with only a few people in it; of course that has to be the case if a bus is going to keep a schedule, but in a personalized system like Skyweb, the supply is elastic, responding to demand to reduce waste.

Taxi 2000 has an uphill battle to get someone to implement their system. Since no one else has done it, the list of things that could go wrong is as long as anyone’s imagination wants to lead him. Their first system will be a major test for the rest of the world to look and and decide if it’s something that will be good for them as well. It will be a fork in the road to determine whether the company succeeds or fails. After Lester spoke to the SVII audience, they gave him a lot of feedback about who could possibly be his first customer (including local areas).

While appreciating the suggestions, Lester tried to give some perspective on the challenge in front of them by describing the typical politician attitude: “When it comes to trying new things,” he said, “everyone wants to be first to be second.” Well, it is hard to argue with that. We wish you the best of success, Taxi 2000. May you be an example of innovation to all of us. And when someone finally does decide to put one of your systems in, let us know what the key to that breakthrough is. It could be a key to unlocking many forms of innovation to come.

Don’t forget to join us next Tuesday 2/19 for a lively and semi-controversial discussion on the topic of valuating intangibles:  How Much is it?… How Much is… What? (7PM at Pillsbury Law, 2550 Hanover St., Palo Alto)

(Pre-Registration Tickets ($20)  – on SALE NOW!)

JULY 18th 2012 (Recap): Innovator’s Showcase (Happy Birthday in Style!)

Thank you to all who participated and attended our 7th Year Anniversary Celebration!

 

Here is a little recap of the evening by our own Adam Kauk:

 

It was a pot-luck of talent from around the SVII community; We had a schedule of presentations and performances that were so varied, it looked like a microcosm of SVII’s history. (The delightful setting and delicious food were provided by Angelica’s Bistro in Redwood City, and the soup within that bowl was provided by the SVII community…)

 

We started with creative and engaging melodies from Neubop, the duo of Howard Lieberman (founder of SVII) and David Solhaug.
Then there was a tantalizing presentation on dark matter by Thomas Buckholtz.

 

 

 

This was followed by three different presentations of visual art. First, Elzbieta Holsztynska talked about how her own art teaches her different things about science..

 

 

Then, Jason Marsh played a video taken by an iPhone on a bunch of helium balloons (and dazzled us with some out-of-this-world violin looping)..

 

 

Finally, Geri McGilvray did an animated live portrait painting demo… 

 

 

…with Jessie Chen as the model.

 

 

The final third of the night came around with Adam Kauk transferring a guitar song onto the piano (Signe, by Eric Clapton).

 

 

Next, Birgitte Rasine transported us to a hot day in Rome with a reading from her own book.

 

 

Finally, the evening ended with a bang as Andy Markham and the Polyglot Quartet played their unique blend of various genres and took us to the finish line.

 

A good time was had by all–especially me (Adam).

Join us next time (After the summer fiesta, we will be back to our first Wed of the month schedule!) on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012!  We will be discussing how to engage your clients and audience through emotional relevancy in media (graphics, photos, and film).

 

Mark you calendars!

JULY 18th 2012: Innovators’ Showcase!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to be impressed by a full bandwagon or your fellow Silicon Valley innovators!  Come enjoy the show and provide your feedback on how SVII can better serve YOU!

Showcase Includes: Alternative Jazz,  Alternative Country Rock, Secrets of Dark Matter, Language of Art and Science, Live Violin Looping, Live Portait Painting, Insights from Literature.. and more!

$15 Cover Only / $35 Full Dinner

SCHEDULE:

6:30 – Doors Open (Networking)
7:15 – Dinner/Show Begins!
9:40 – Wrap-Up (Networking till close at 10:30)

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JUNE 5th 2012 (Recap): How is technology changing music?

The Silicon Valley Innovation Institute is all about innovation, whatever the form. Last week, we had a fabulous event focusing on innovation in music–specifically, as the title of the event asked, “How is technology changing music?”

The evening began with casual mingling and chatting. During this time, even though they were not an official part of the program, the entrepreneurs from Unplugged Instruments got the night off to a good start by showing off their super cool self-amplifying guitar (available through kickstarter).

Then we had dinner from the fine fare of Angelica’s Bistro (also the location of this event) while music was played by Scot Sier and Andy Markham, followed by a stunning Bolero dance by Roland Van Der Veen and Jessie Chen.

Jessie Chen and Roland Van Der Veen dancing the bolero
Jessie Chen and Roland Van Der Veen dancing the bolero

All this happened before the main program, which was an extended exploration of how technology is changing music (for better or for worse). Mostly, it was agreed that technology is helping music by, as SVII founder Howard Lieberman put it, “lowering the barriers to entry and allowing artists to reach more people with their music.” However, there were also some hints that it may not all be good. For example, Andy Markham, a guitarist from The Cat Mary, pointed out that “There is no law of the universe that dictates that music needs to be a way of making money.” Just as brick-laying is a profession that is now all-but-extinct, in five hundred years, technology may have made music so easy to produce that being a professional musician will be an impossibility. (He didn’t necessarily say that such a scenario has to be a bad thing, but whether it is or not would probably depend on your perspective.)

 

One thing that is for sure is that technology has changed music immensely. Even in the change, however, one can see the cyclical nature of music (rhythm, anyone?). For example, because technology such as iTunes, Youtube, Spotify, and BitTorrent (to name a few) have made music anywhere from cheap to free online, musicians have become much more dependent on revenue from live performances, which is somewhat of an echo of past times.

Additional juxtapositions of the new and old in music and technology were also highlighted by the other panelists. Budda Amplification founder Scot Sier talked about how he got the idea for his current company: At one time, he had a tube amplifier, but then he sold it. After that he realized how much he missed it, because it sounds much better at a lower volume than other amplifiers, which is important for preserving your hearing if you are a musician. This inspired him to start a company which would actually make tube amplifiers, which before then had been a dying breed.

Scott Sier contributes to the discussion as moderator Darius Dunlap looks on
Scott Sier contributes to the discussion as moderator Darius Dunlap looks on

Also present were the father-son-instrument-making-duo, Rick and Eli Turner, of Renaissance Guitars, who have mastered the art of creating a wide array of relatively mainstream instruments and equipment in surprising new ways. Eli Turner uses Photoshop and solid works to model instruments on a computer, allowing him to design and work on instruments much faster. But even though he uses new technology to make new instruments, the past is still quite influential. Whenever he is designing a new take on an existing instrument, he looks at the classic models of that instrument, which he likes to pay tribute to in his new designs, as in his partially cut-out guitar based on the Fender Strat (called the CopperCaster).

Eli Turner showing off his cut-out Strat and other instrument that I can't remember the name of
Eli Turner showing off his cut-out Strat and the electric tonkori that he is working on as well as a traditional acoustic tonkori

One of the highlights of the night was when Robert Hamilton of Smule showed a visualized version of people from all over the world singing “Lean on Me” together through the Smule Glee app (online karaoke and music collaboration). After the tsunami in Japan, someone in Japan posted the starter track as a way to encourage fellow Japanese people. Later, people from all over the world started hearing it and adding their own voices.

Another product that Smule makes is electronic instruments for computers–i.e, ways of playing music through your iPhone, iPad, etc. Hamilton mentioned that one of their most popular settings on the My Ocarina app for the iPhone is the Zeldarian setting, which mimics the way an ocarina in the Zelda computer game sounds, which is (as far as we know) not reproducible by an acoustic instrument. This echos something which Eli said about the flow of technology: “Technology tries to mimic the physical world, which forces us to learn more about the physical world by studying it more deeply. Then we take the physical and try to mimic technology, which forces us to learn more about technology.”

Robert Hamilton of Smule talking technology and music as Eli Turner looks on
Robert Hamilton of Smule talking technology and music as Eli Turner looks on

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SVII is the Silicon Valley Innovation Institute. We aspire to cultivate innovation by bringing creative people of all types together in a thought-provoking environment. Our next event is July 18th, and is an opportunity for anyone to showcase their creativity and audacity in performance and art.

Bass guitar and Eli Turner's CopperCaster
Bass guitar and Eli Turner’s CopperCaster

~ Happy Birthday, SVII! ~

SIGN UP HERE!

Calling all innovators!

On Wednesday, July 18th, we will celebrate the 7th Anniversary of Silicon Valley Innovation Institute. We’ve built an amazing community here at SVII, full of brilliant and talented innovators. So, for our anniversary party, we want the spotlight to be on YOU!

This event will be a time to showcase our membership through their art, music, and creativity. It will also be a time for the SVII family to get to know one another and for you to let us know how we can better serve you this coming year.

So music, art, dance, poetry, spoken word, film… all is fair game. Plus, we will be offering a nearly 50% discount on our Dinner + Program ticket (just $22!) to all who are bold enough to share your talent and are selected to be a part of the program!

So why hesitate? Let us do what we do best, and spur one another on to new heights of creativity. Fill in the form below, and we will be in touch!

SIGN UP HERE!


JUNE 18th 2012: Jason Marsh demonstrating Rapid Iteration in Live Music Performance

Last month, SVII hosted an event focused on the concept of rapid iteration–which is a quick production cycle of something for the sake of quickly adjusting as you see the results of previous cycle. That may seem complicated, but it just means that you figure out how to do something better while you are doing it, and you figure it out rapidly.

Here is one of our presenters, Jason Marsh, demonstrating rapid iteration in the form of musical performance:

JUNE 20th 2012: How is Technology Changing Music?

With so much improvement occuring rapidly in technology and software many industries are struggling to keep up. The same cannot be said for the music industry, or can it? SVII brings together a panel of five individuals each with their own unique experiences in the worlds of music, invention and technology to discuss the future relationship between technology and music.

* New Venue: Angelica’s Bell Theatre & Bistro, Redwood City 

 century ago, technology brought recorded music to everyone. Since then, it has put your record collection in your pocket and a recording studio in your home. The internet changes the way music is marketed and disrupts old business models.

But in the next decade, there is a still bigger change coming. The confluence of cloud services and mobile phones and other technologies are enabling new ways to create music, share it, learn and practice, rehearse, compose, collaborate and perform.

We have put together an amazing panel of musicians, inventors and technologists. Their shared backgrounds span music genres from  60’s Rock to avant-garde Jazz to Bluegrass, and technologies from tube amplifiers to mobile devices, cloud services and computer music. (Be sure to check out their fascinating bios below!)

Join us for an interactive discussion of the future of music and the direction of technology for musical expression!

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