I just relayed questions from the audience. Woz dispensed the wisdom.
I got to do a very cool thing last week: introduce — and then lead a question-and-answer session with — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. It was part of the Distinguished Speakers Series, and the event took place at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
KPCC often provides on-air folks to participate in the series. This was my first opportunity, and for a person who has never really owned anything other than Apple computers since the the late 1980s, it was both a privilege and a thrill to be on the same stage as Woz.
His speech was a charming, funny, and accessible ramble through his years before and after Apple — including a stint on "Dancing with the Stars" and a new memoir, "iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It."
Given that Steve Jobs passed away last year, however, Wozniak's memories of his co-founder were some of the most moving of the evening.
Matt DeBord talks with Idealab founder Bill Gross.
I've written about Idealab, a well-known incubator in Pasadena, before. I've even visited the place and taken pictures! But I hadn't ever had the opportunity to sit down with founder and CEO Bill Gross. KPCC's crack video crew and I recently rectified that.
Gross is a compulsive inventor and entrepreneur — and one of Southern California's true business leaders. He started his first company in high school, selling solar energy kits. He then created a few more companies before founding Idealab in 1996.
Idealab has gestated numerous companies, including Citysearch, Picasa, and Shop.com. It's kind of tucked away on the northern edge of Old Town Pasadena, but it has an influence far beyond the Southland. Both because the incubator concept has become increasingly important for the startup ecosystem, as investors become much more discriminating about the maturity and potential of companies they want to invest in; and because Idealab is working on some projects that could have a significant impact on well-being in the developing world.
Today, I dropped by Idealab, the business incubator in Pasadena, to learn a bit more about the startup scene in Southern California. They were kind enough to show me around their unique space and briefly chat about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it.
Here's a timeline of the operation, which was founded in 1996 by Bill Gross and has moved through a number of iterations. They are to a certain extent building the future here, and that's always a good energy to be around. Idealab is also fostering new businessers and new technologies right here in SoCal, establishing an interesting alternative to the Bay Area (although certainly not acting as if NoCal doesn't exist). They're even beginning to explore so-called "angel" investing, with a new in-house ventures group.
Have a look around! And, if you want to get a sense of how entrepeneurship is affecting working life in Los Angeles during an economic downturn, check out KPCC's Shereen Marisol Meraji and her visit to NextSpace, a co-working business in Culver City.