TCD.LA panel: The CEO & CTO relationship in a #startup

TCD.LA panel: The CEO & CTO relationship in a #startup

Here is a recording of Tech Co-Founder Dating (TCD.LA) panel on the topic of the CEO and CTO relationship.   The panel speakers are  proven CEOs and CTOs who run some of the most incredible companies in LA.

A full house and a great panel, featuring CEOs & CTOs from Ambrose, Cornerstone OnDemand, HauteLook, HipSwap and Virtual Piggy.

Twitter bites:

@RafaelMLopes: Panelists say: traits of a good CEO: vision, fatal optimism, believing anything is possible even when others do not think it is #tcdla

@adampopescu: “We have full transparency,” John Iorillo of @AmbroseLLC on company goals. “If something isn’t achieved, it’s not a secret.” #tcdla

@EA_Anderson: “A great CTO has an understanding of the technology and the biz at the same time,” Adam Miller @CornerstoneInc #tcdla

@RafaelMLopes: Panelists say: traits of a good CEO: vision, fatal optimism, believing anything is possible even when others do not think it is #tcdla

@KeithTyndall: ‘Tinkering; a culture of always bettering ourselves’-Adam Miller of @CornerstoneInc #tcdla

@CraveLab: Experience trumps education at a certain point. Education is always a part of experiences but not necessarily the other way around. #tcdla

@adampopescu: A company’s core values are not negotiable or subject to debate. #tcdla.

@GiangBiscan CEO role: Do everything, including not sleeping (which is a prerequisite for a #startup) Rob Kramer, CEO of @HipSwap #TCDLA

@lyssachttr: Very unique and impressive CEO/CTO dynamic with @followpiggy team. Loving pragmatic yet visionary approach #tcdla


Broadcasting live with Ustream


These positions represent the foundation of every tech company in the universe.  Generally, the CEO oversees the business and the CTO, oversees the technology-end of the company.


 Moderator: Aaron Abram, Founder of Tech Cofounder Dating LA


Adam Miller (CEO) & Mark Goldin (CTO)

Rob Kramer (CEO) & Andrew Skinner (CTO)

Dr. Jo Webber (CEO) & Pradeep Ittycheria (CTO)

John Iorillo (Co-CEO)

Kevin Diamond (CTO)


Adam Miller: Founder & CEO, Cornerstone OnDemand

Since starting the company in 1999, Adam has led Cornerstone through 11 years of consecutive growth, transforming it into one of the world’s leading Software-as-a-Service companies.  Adam recently was honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 award winner. He also was named the Southern California Technology Association’s CEO of the Year in 2009.

In addition to strategy, sales and operations, Adam has led Cornerstone’s product development efforts since inception. His vision helped create one of the first truly integrated talent management solutions in the market, which has received top ratings from industry analyst firms such as Gartner and IDC and has garnered several industry innovation awards. Adam’s focus on client success and product excellence also has earned the company one of the top client retention rates in the industry.

Adam blends his background in finance, business, technology and law to guide Cornerstone OnDemand. Prior to founding the company, Adam served time as a lawyer and investment banker. He worked in corporate finance with Schroders (now Citi Financial) and an affiliate of Montgomery Securities (now Bank of America), supporting clients with private equity and public financing, as well as M&A advisory. His background also includes work with the Card Group in Los Angeles.

Adam has a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Business, a B.S. from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a CPA and Series 7 certifications and has co-authored two books, Business Capital for Women (Macmillan, 1996) and Managing Your Inheritance (Random House, 1995). But it was his two year trip alone around the world exploring six continents that taught him how to build a global business.

Mark Goldin: CTO, Cornerstone OnDemand

Mark is responsible for building and directing the company’s technology strategy, which allows the organization to scale effectively and efficiently in the midst of rapid growth. In this role, Mark oversees application architecture, development, quality assurance and technology operations while leading a world-class team of engineers to assure Cornerstone’s continued excellence in providing innovative and feature-rich talent management software. Mark joins the Cornerstone team with more than 15 years of experience as a Chief Technology Officer leading high growth companies to market leadership positions through technology-driven strategies.

Prior to joining Cornerstone, Mark was the Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Green Dot Corporation where he oversaw application development, IT infrastructure, supply chain and logistics, and call center operations with a team that helped grow valuation by greater than a factor of 10 in just three years. Prior to this, Mark served as Senior Vice President and CTO at Thomson Elite where he conceived, founded and ran Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pioneer and helped lead the company to market dominance. Mark also held positions as CTO at DestinationRx and Managing Director at Trace Alexander Ltd.

Mark is a graduate of Bar-Ilan University.

Cornerstone OnDemand is a leading global provider of a comprehensive learning and talent management solution delivered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The company enables organizations to meet the challenges they face in empowering their people and maximizing the productivity of their human capital. Cornerstone currently empowers over 9.4 million users across 180 countries and in 34 languages. Cornerstone has over 1,000 clients.

Cornerstone OnDemand is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with offices in London, Paris, Munich, Tel Aviv and Mumbai.


Rob Kramer: Co-Founder & CEO, Hipswap

Rob has been a successful entrepreneur and executive in the media, technology, environmental, and non-profit sectors. He is the CEO and co- creator of– a hyper local marketplace service for iPhone, android and the web.

Rob is also co-founder of PopRule and Campaign Live and PopRule is a technology company that creates mobile / web applications and platforms for consumer, political and non-profit brands including American Express, Nissan, The Economist and International Medical Corps, to name a few. Rob has consulted for various companies in the sustainable business and water sectors including Johnson Diversey, Cydcor and Product Partners.

In 2006, he wrote and produced the documentary film, “ARSENIC: The Largest Mass Poisoning in History,” which premiered at 20th Century Fox Studios in 2006

Previously, Rob was CEO of Uprizer, Inc., an Intel-funded peer-to-peer enterprise software company that sold in 2005. From 1993 to 1999, Rob was co- Founder and CEO of Moving Pixels (now Public VFX), a successful independent computer animation studio in Los Angeles. In 1999, Rob sold his interest in this 17-year old company. Previously, Rob was President and Executive Producer of Pagan Films, a major label music video and commercial production company.

Since 2003, Rob has been Chairman of Global Water Trust, a Santa Monica based non-profit that provides clean safe water to school children throughout the developing world. GWT has provided clean safe water to over 10,000 people in Bangladesh, Nepal and Kenya. Rob serves on the Board of Directors of Sustainable Business Council  and on the Los Angeles Committee for Global Green USA.  He has been a featured speaker on water-related issues at numerous universities including MIT, Stanford, UCLA, and Brown. .


Andrew Skinner: CoFounder & CTO, Hipswap

Andrew Skinner is the Co-Founder and CTO of HipSwap and developed the first version of the iPhone and web application. Andrew has been coding since the age of 11, when he founded Likely Software, a Mac productivity and games software company. During his sophomore year at Brown University he created DormDelicious, a popular college blog about dorm room decorating. Andrew graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship and a heavy focus on Computer Science.

After moving back to his hometown of Los Angeles, he co-founded PopRule, a company that developed apps and platforms to drive political and social action. In his “free time” Andrew is an avid skier, hiker, wine taster, and lover of delicious food.

HipSwap is a mobile and web marketplace that enables you to discover what’s inside
the most fabulous closets, homes and shops in your neighborhood – or any neighborhood across America.

HipSwap also enables any person, merchant, stylist, artist or designer to quickly and easily sell products to friends, customers, fans or neighbors.


Dr. Jo Webber: Chairman, CEO & Founder, Virtual Piggy

Dr. Jo Webber is an experienced software company CEO. She served as  the CEO of InnaPhase Inc., and led the company to become a world-leading supplier of scientific software and management solutions. She directed the acquisition of a division of a public company and led the sale of InnaPhase to Thermo Electron (NYSE:TMO) in 2004. She then became CEO of Energy Solutions International, a supplier of software for the management of oil and gas pipelines, and directed two strategic acquisitions and the successful sale of the company. She has a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics from the University of Nottingham Trent/Manchester University and serves on the boards of Maxwell Systems and Octagon Research Solutions. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Chartered Chemist. In her free time, Jo enjoys staying active and spending time with her family, preferably at the beach.


Pradeep Ittycheria: Co-Founder & CTO, Virtual Piggy

Pradeep is an experienced technology executive with 14 years of experience managing product engineering teams across industries. Pradeep has had experience leading company acquisitions, managing company sale transactions and integrating engineering teams. He has successfully led new product development initiatives using global teams. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Product Development at Energy Solution International, a Houston-based developer of software products for the Oil and Gas industry. Prior to that, he was the Director of LIMS Development at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Pradeep enjoys spending time with his family and trying out new restaurants.

Virtual Piggy, Inc was founded in 2008 as Moggle, Inc., the company is headquartered in Hermosa Beach, California. The name change to Virtual Piggy, Inc. more accurately reflected our overarching mission to deliver solutions to meet the exponential growth of the youth market transacting in the global online market.

The company originated out of an idea to develop an online game platform to allow internet users to play massive multiplayer online games. While executing on this strategy, the company observed increased interest and questions in the security aspects of online gaming and social networking. This resulted in a shift in efforts towards developing and delivering a platform technology designed to manage the “Under 18” age group‟s online experience in a secure manner.

As a technology company that delivers an online security platform, Virtual Piggy, Inc. offers solutions for the interaction the the Under 18 age group on the internet, with a focus on security and parental control. Their flagship product, Virtual Piggy, is a tool designed to provide a secure mechanism so that youth can initiate purchases online that are parent controlled and monitored. Such pre-approved transactions help merchants to reduce friction in the online purchasing process and also to comply with COPPA regulations in the US.

With approx. 50 employees, Virtual Piggy has always been a small public company listed under OTC:  VPIG.


John Iorillo: Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Ambrose

John is a Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Ambrose, an outsourced human resources, payroll, and benefits solution for technology companies, start-ups and professional services firms across the country. John received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® award for New York City in 2001 and has also been a limited partner in two venture funds. Prior to Ambrose, John practiced tax law with Proskauer Rose in New York City. John holds two law degrees – a Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University (NYU) School of Law and a Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California at San Diego.

AMBROSE was founded in 1997 and is the leading provider of human resource solutions and services tailored to the needs of technology, media, entertainment, financial services, and growth oriented startup companies. With over 800 clients, Ambrose provides an exceptional client experience through a high-touch service model, enabling small businesses to focus on their core activities.


Kevin Diamond: CTO, Hautelook

Kevin is the Chief Technology Officer at HauteLook. He oversees the ecommerce platform team and is responsible for the development and quality assurance of HauteLook’s ecommerce, mobile and alternative platforms.  Kevin is a seasoned technology executive, with over a decade of experience leading technology development and infrastructure management with multiple startup and mid-phase companies. Prior to Kevin’s current role at HauteLook, he held various positions within the technology realm including Director of IT at Lagovent Ventures Group, where he incubated multiple websites from concept to launch. He also held roles at Jurisearch and Ascent Media. He also pioneered online and on-demand print technology solutions for entertainment, multi-level marketing, and consumer goods through his own venture, Kevin Printing Solutions.

Kevin has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Acquired by Nordstrom in March 2011, HauteLook is a place where you’ll discover thousands of the top fashion and lifestyle brands at amazing savings.  Each day at 8 AM Pacific, shop new sale events featuring the best names in women’s and men’s fashion and accessories, beauty, kids’ apparel, toys and home décor at up to 75% off.  Membership is free and everyone is welcome.

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  • Shane Mac

    Live with respect. Help. Smile. Treat all the same. We live in one world no matter how separated it seems.

    • Giang Biscan

      Awesome notes, Shane.

      Love our discussion yesterday. Still amazed at how Big Omaha bring together fantastic people like you, Jeff, Sara, Espree… to my life. Can’t wait for our reunion at my place to welcome Andrew back – and at AskSummit in Seatle.

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  • Vickyasher

    Amazing panel!