Most Interesting Interviews of 2013

4-pic stories 2013From actresses to entrepreneurs, see my favorite profiles I wrote in 2013.

Here, share, everywhere.

I recently interviewed two startups using Bluetooth for two very different purposes. One for a remote control-esque bike lock, while the other for a traditional watch.

Taking a classic approach to the smart watch phenomenon, San Jose-based Doozy Inc. has created one minus the predominately digital display plus the throwback factor. It’s not your grandma’s watch— nor is it your grandson’s. You can read my interview with Doozy CEO Carl Leung here.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Mesh Motion has harnessed Bluetooth into wireless bike locking, unlocking and even sharing. Founder Mehrdad Majzoobi gave me inside look at BitLock,  its five-year battery life and his ideas on innovating the bike sharing economy. You can check out the interview here.

 

 

 

 

 

ARTIST: Annie Leibovitz

A digital view of my Annie Leibovitz profile from Content Magazine’s 5.2 issue is now viewable! Yay!

First African Startup Joins Silicon Valley’s Elite

Two years ago, three young men had an idea for a prototype, presented it to the biggest little companies in Ghana and secured 20 paying clients, all within 54 hours. The product? Dropifi, a contact widget that helps small businesses sort feedback from customers.

Full story on SV411.com.

Ken Venturi: Golfer, Storyteller, Rat Pack-er

Last night on the “In Memory of” portion of the ESPYS, a man by the name of Ken Venturi was mentioned having recently passed away. But several months before that I wrote a brief profile on him for NBC Bay Area.

Just days before his death, the 82-year-old San Francisco native, golf champion and national golf broadcaster, Ken Venturi joined 130 of the greatest golfers in the world.

Venturi participated in SJSU’s golf team during the years of 1951-53′ and his induction is described as “a tremendous honor for one of SJSU’s most decorated athletes of all time,” by SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director Lawrence Fan. “He had a wonderful professional career in sports and then in broadcasting while always keeping SJSU close to his heart,” Fan said. ”He still has constant contact with the men’s golf coach and has conducted clinics and fundraisers on behalf of the golf program here at SJSU.”

Being the only amateur with a 54-hole lead in the Masters, the voice of CBS Sports for 35 years and winning captain of the 2000 President’s Cup are just a few accomplishments under Venturi’s belt. His proceeding broadcasting career even proved exceptional when he was awarded the PGA of American Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award in 2000.

Photo Courtesy of SFGate

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis told Spartan Athletics that Venturi’s 1964 U.S. Open victory is one of the greatest moments of the tournament’s 112-year history. “His ability to overcome extremely difficult conditions at Congressional personifies the perseverance, determination and execution required to be a U.S. Open champion.”

Part of a golden era in Bay Area golfing, Venturi joined golfers Bob Rosburg, Johnny Miller and George Archer in a San Franciscans-take-all winning streak. “The last time I had tears in my eyes was when I won the U.S. Open,” Venturi said. “This has been a special day, and I’m deeply honored.”

He participated in many charities including New York-based organization called Guiding Eyes Classic which benefited blind golfers and raised more than $6 million. One of the participating guide dogs ended up saving his owner’s life, safely guiding him down the stairs of  the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Venturi’s off-field life also proved one for the books, but when your best friend slash roommate is Frank Sinatra and you get a shout out in one of Mark Frost’s books, no less is expected.

He is survived by his third wife, Kathleen, and two sons, Matthew and Tim, according to The Associated Press.

You can read my original story for NBC Bay Area here. A great gallery of photos called “Ken Venturi through the years” is available for viewing on SFGate’s blog.

Queen of the Lens

In what was the best birthday deadline I’ve come upon, I had the pleasure of writing a profile on innovative photog Annie Leibovitz’ for the current 5.2 “Invent” issue of Content Magazine on newsstands now.

 While she is responsible for capturing masterpieces like the Disney Dream Series, John Lennon hours before his death, and countless magazine covers, Annie Leibovitz is no exception to life’s hardships. After going through depression, financial struggles and the passing of her partner, Leibovitz divulged to us how she found renewal at an older age, through a series of stills which are on display in an exhibit called Pilgrimage. Here are a couple excerpts and outtakes:

“The renewal process began on a trip with her children. In a deep depression, Leibovitz reluctantly went with her daughter sightseeing at Niagara Falls. ‘ There is this moment, where you ask yourself, ‘Well, should I jump?’ she says jokingly. But, ‘I saw my kids staring at the falls, just mesmerized. I started thinking of places I wanted to go.”

“One thing they teach young photographers is bring them through the darkroom idea so you know how imagery is made. But that will probably go away at some point. I’m a photographer student with this digital as the rest of us. This project really showed me the latitude that we have in digital. It taught me that what we disliked about digital to begin with is what we’re really thriving on. Before we didn’t want to see things sharp. And now we want to see things sharp. We’re going deeper into the ocean and higher in the sky. We’re seeing animals in the dark. It’s exciting.”

…..

“One of the great things of getting older is you do know what you’re doing. And, sometimes you’re successful and sometimes you’re not, but it’s okay. I think it has to do with if you survive a Rolling Stones tour in your 20s and still live, then you go into some other kind of status,” she says jokingly. “Then you get to be in your late 60s and you just have to hang in there.”

And here’s more from the issue including another story I did on the company Slice:

The Art of The Blade

After dedicating his life’s work toward supporting his special needs son, Slice founder and serial entrepreneur TJ Scimone turned his day job into a channel of innovating basic household items. (Content Magazine)

Q & A: Lubov Azria

At last week’s Academy of Art Fashion show in San Francisco, I got the chance to chat with Lubov Azria—the woman behind the BCBGMAXAZRIA brand. My interview was featured on Style Wax Poetic. Check it out below!LUBOV1

With more than 500 retail stores worldwide and over 200 in the U.S., BCBGMAXAZRIA GROUP has dominated women’s fashion retail. The husband-wife team has nearly perfected the sexy, body-hugging dress to the likes of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Lubov Azria is the woman behind it all—BCBGMAXAZRIA, Hervé Léger and more. She and husband Max Azria were awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees from The Academy of Art University on Friday, where I got to sit down with her to talk about fashion, technology and keeping things fresh with Max in the design room.

 

JE: How did you know fashion was your official artistic choice of expression?

LA: I didn’t, it was a journey. I originally started as a Ballerina in Ukraine. And then, growing older, that wasn’t the right path for me and I also loved art. I wanted to be an art professor. But then I realized it wasn’t very profitable and very competitive and my alternate was fashion.

JE: What is the biggest piece of advice you are giving to young fashion designers?

LA: Follow your dreams. And never give up. That alone, will take you far.

JE: What was the first article of clothing you and Max ever designed together?

LA: Oh gosh, hmm… I think it was a suit made out of stretch satin.

 

JE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing for people to consider when dressing themselves?

LA: Dress to your body shape. I think many people don’t realize they might not look good in certain shapes. Wear clothes that give you more shape. Women should dress based on their body shape not based on trends.

JE: You’ve dressed many famous celebrities, but who have you not styled/dressed yet that you’d like to?

LA: That’s a good question. I love musicians so I’d really like to dress Blondie.

JE: From Hervé Léger to the Miley Cyrus collaboration for Wal-Mart, you’ve created created a broad spectrum of clothing lines. Why is it important for you to have such diverse cornerstones of fashion retail?

LA: I think it’s exciting. There’s an opportunity that comes your way and it’s really good to experiment with it and see where it takes you. You know, life is a journey not a destination. So I think it’s good to experience collaboration and communication with other designers.

JE: Which of you had the idea of revamping Hervé Léger, you or Max?6a00d83451b3d969e2015437f0a3af970c-320wi

LA: We were both really passionate about it, it was teamwork. It’s very unique and truly special and truly couture. It’s been an artists’ dream to work on that line.

JE: Do you still have the same passion you had from Day 1? If so, what keeps you so passionate?

LA: I believe my purpose in life, is to make things better. I wake up each morning with only one thought, ‘how do I make it better?’ And that’s what drives me every single day. Improve, make it better, grow, learn, evolve, change inspire.

JE: You’ve said you find inspiration everywhere in your travels. Have you found inspiration from San Francisco?

LA: Oh my gosh, absolutely. This is my first time truly able to enjoy the city and, wow, the interior design here is incredible. The old mixed with the new—it’s incredibly inspirational. I didn’t realize how amazing this city is. I think when people talked about San Francisco—now, I have a totally new perspective.

JE: You are in the Silicon Valley at the moment, has technology had an impact on your businesses?

LA: Yes, it’s changed everything. My favorite app is iAnnotate, I can’t live without my iPhone and I’m constantly on my iPad. I use Skype with my kids when we’re apart and I, just… can’t image being without technology. I see a huge difference from when we first started designing. Social media has been incredible and the whole blogging industry has been a fantastic revolution. These women have something to say, have impeccable sense of style, are great writers and great communicators. I’m obsessed with them.

 Follow me for chances to get your questions in my next Q&A!

Metro Cover Story: Stream of Concertness

My story on start-up EVNTLIVE was featured as this week’s cover story for Metro Silicon Valley. (Yay!) I’m excited to tell the story of this company’s virtual concert venue and how others in the space are using technology to stream live performances. Read on and let me know your thoughts!

Coincidence?

So Tory Burch came out with this photo today which I happened to catch on Instagram.

It looks awfully familiar to something I created for a Tory Burch mock strategy final project last year (below).
Coincidence? You be the judge.

I’ll take that check now Tory… or a job—I’m open.


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