Global executive picks L.A. as world center for urban mobility

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - SEPTEMBER 07, 2017: John Rossant, who heads LA Commotion, a multi day transpor

John Rossant is founder and chairman of the nonprofit NewCities foundation and creator of LA CoMotion, a big urban mobility conference and festival that’s attracting an international crowd to the Arts District Nov. 15-19.

A former journalist who has organized and produced conferences around the world, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Rossant, 62, intends to make LA CoMotion a world-scale annual event. He recently moved with his family from New York to Los Angeles.

Family influence

I grew up in Manhattan. My father was a journalist at the New York Times. We would religiously read the New York Times at the breakfast table. It was a very bookish household. My outlook on life was formed by early reading.

When I was 17, I applied to the University of Wisconsin, where my girlfriend was going. I fell in with students from completely different backgrounds than my own. I think people who grow up in New York often forget how insular New York is to the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

After my freshman year, my dad ended financial support following a big disagreement — and I probably deserved the punishment. I had to drop out for a year, lived in a cold water flat in New York. I worked as a messenger on Wall Street and cleaned mouse cages at a lab. I was on my own financially. Not fun, but it taught me how to survive on my own.

The Cairo spark

When I returned to college, I saw signs for an Arabic course. The calligraphy was beguiling and I said, why not. When I graduated, I won a U.S. State Department fellowship for intensive training in classical Arabic in Cairo. I found myself in this huge, very foreign, exotic, wonderful city. This was clearly the spark that ignited my fascination with cities and how cities are organized.

If the ultimate iconic car culture city could change, any city in the world could change.

— John Rossant on Los Angeles

My first job was in Saudi Arabia, at the English-language Arab News. It was a truly alien place for a journalist back then: an absolute monarchy, a tribal system. Nobody quite understood what a Western journalist did, and I think most people thought I was a CIA operative.

Copines Françaises

Back in New York after a year and a half in the Arabian desert, BusinessWeek called me up one day and said they were opening a Paris office. Would I be interested? I said, “ummm … yes …”

The editor asked me if I spoke French. I told him yes, of course. He said OK, you’re heading to Paris next week. Let’s just say my French was pretty basic so I had to learn on the fly. I had French girlfriends and I forced myself to go to lots of French movies. That worked.

Later BusinessWeek moved me to Rome to cover Italy and the Middle East. I had to learn Italian, of course, and that’s where I was lucky enough to meet my wife. In 1991, I covered the first Gulf War.

After that I was back in Paris as Europe editor. I was at a working lunch in Paris with Maurice Levy, the legendary CEO of Publicis, the big French advertising and public relations firm. He invited me to his office. We had a long discussion of French history and American relations.

Levy was clearly looking for someone who could speak French, who knew about communicating with the Anglophone world. The digital onslaught was just beginning and I didn’t see a bright future for print so I made the decision to leave BusinessWeek. I was made head of communications and public affairs at Publicis.

Digital tsunami

The very week I joined Publicis, Rupert Murdoch made a prescient speech in Washington where he told assembled newspaper and magazine editors: “You’re all going to be out of a job. There’s a digital tsunami coming.”

I immediately recommended that Publicis launch a high-level conference on the future of media. I cut a deal with Prince Albert of Monaco to create the Monaco Media Forum. I developed a real passion for bringing smart people around a table to talk about issues.

For several years I was in charge of producing the famous World Economic Forum in Davos — and I started to gain a reputation as someone who could put together these kind of events.

At the same time, I was more and more fascinated and preoccupied by cities, the development of cities. A majority of the human population was moving to cities. At the same time, the digital revolution and the Internet held out the promise of radically reorganizing cities. For the better.

L.A.: Where it’s at

I created a nonprofit foundation, the NewCities Foundation. Our big annual meeting has now been held in Paris, Sao Paulo, Dallas, Jakarta, Montreal and Songdo, a very successful new city near Seoul, [South] Korea.

More and more, though, I saw that the huge disruption sweeping over the mobility and transportation sector would impact cities everywhere, and I saw a need for a global gathering on urban transportation.

I read Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Mobility 2035 transportation plan and was impressed. If the ultimate iconic car culture city could change, any city in the world could change. So why not anchor a global mobility conference in Los Angeles? L.A. in particular and California in general are emerging as the center of smart thinking about mobility.

Take a leap

When I look back, it’s important to trust your instincts and leap into the unknown. You have to kind of just take risks with things. It’s a lesson that’s hard to impart to your children, because risks sometimes don’t turn out so well.

Source:-.latimes

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks, Top Picks for 2015

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks 2

Tech gadgets can make great gifts for business partners, clients, and tech savvy team members. And with plenty of new innovations being released each year, there are lots of new gadgets to choose from for the people on your 2015 holiday gift list.

For the really tech savvy geeks on your holiday shopping list, check out the list of gadget gifts below for some unique gift ideas.

Gadget Gifts for 2015

Bluesmart Suitcase

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks

Business travel can be a pain. But this smart suitcase offers a number of features to make it easier, like a battery charger, digital lock, location tracking and a built-in scale.

Currently available for preorder, the Bluesmart suitcase sells for $399. So it’s likely not something you’d pick up for your entire team. But for your business partner or jetsetting top client, Bluesmart offers a unique gift option.

IZON 2.0 WiFi Video Monitor

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks3

The latest version of IZON’s video monitoring system comes with several useful features to help people monitor their home or business. The camera works with both iOS and Android systems to allow you to access footage from your smartphone.

Starting at $79.95 on their website, IZON offers options that work for both home and business. And they have monitors made for keeping an eye on babies and pets as well.

Wocket Smart Wallet

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks

Carrying around a leather wallet with multiple credit and gift cards is so 2014. The Wocket smart wallet allows users to input information from multiple credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards onto one Wocket Card, with added security features like voicematch technology and password storage.

At $179 the Wocket wallet is a unique new option. And the company plans to begin offering different wallet accessories in the near future as well.

Helios Smart Solpro Charger

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks

This solar powered smart charger allows you to keep all of your different mobile devices charged and ready while you’re out and about. It has a 5,000mAh battery, three high-efficiency solar panels, two USB output ports and one USB input port.

Helios Smart chargers start at $119 and come in a few different colors. With so many people carrying multiple mobile devices with them at all times, this is a safe bet for pretty much any tech savvy person on your list.

ZUtA Portable Pocket Printer

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks3

Mobile devices make it easy to do business from anywhere. But printing out actual documents hasn’t always been so easy, until now. The ZUtA portable pocket printeris a small device that connects to your smartphone or computer and prints on any size paper.

With a pre-order price of $199, the printer’s second batch is already sold out. But the company is accepting orders for a January 2016 batch. So if you’re willing to wait until then, this could make a useful gift for the techies on your list.

Nyrius ARIES Home+ Wireless HDMI Transmitter

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks

This device allows you to wirelessly stream HD video and audio from your cable box, Blu-ray player, computer or gaming console to other devices within your home.

For the tech geeks with busy families or with a strong interest in TV and movies, this could be a great solution for those times when multiple family members are fighting over one TV. Prices start at $200 for a transmitter with two HDMI inputs.

TrackR Bravo

Best Gadget Gifts for Geeks

Everyone has that friend or family member who’s always misplacing their keys or wallet. This coin-sized device can go on keychains, dog collars, or other items and connects to your smartphone to transmit a noise when you’re looking for your belongings.

One device costs just $29.99, so it’s a low-cost option for the people on your list. Or you can even order multiple devices at a discounted rate.

Gifts Image via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]