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Ken Goldstein:Why I Wrote a Book about People, Products, & Profits—In That Order

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Synopsis:

Achieving success of any note is difficult, but repeating success is even harder. No one wants their last project to be their last project, but there are no guarantees of ongoing success in the dynamic business environment that offers us opportunity. Technology is ever-changing, product cycles are increasingly shorter, technical knowledge becomes obviated as fast as we learn it. Jobs and projects are always relatively brief, but building a career that lasts is much more than one big win or any single exit strategy.

Endless Encores is Ken Goldstein's second book, a business parable. It tells the story of Daphne, a veteran CEO, and Paul, a rising star product manager who is about to encounter his first failure. Ken wrote the book to share a lifetime of hard-won experience illustrating that it is the people around us who make all innovation possible, followed by the envisioning and creation of world class products, both standing upon a sensible and realistic business model that creates real value. Trying to leap to the financial win is the surest way to see a career end too soon, and also the least satisfying way to ride the wave of innovation. We find resilience in each other and our shared dreams, and as we build the arc that constitutes our life's work, we discover that there is no failure where there is learning.

Ken last spoke at Innovate Pasadena on the necessity of mentorship, a topic he takes further in Endless Encores. He will talk about why he wrote this book, read some passages, and tie the conceptual material back to the everyday decision-making that lets us reinvent ourselves in real-time and never allows our creativity to run dry. Vroman's Bookstore will be onsite with release copies of Endless Encores, available for signing after the book talk.

About the Author:

Ken Goldstein advises start-ups and established corporations in technology, entertainment, media, and e-commerce. His current focus includes Thrift Books LLC, the largest online seller of used books in North America, and The Good Men Project, a fast-growing content site offering perspectives on social issues in the twenty-first century. He publishes the business blog CorporateIntel.us and speaks frequently on the topics of creativity, innovation, and high performance teamwork. His first book, This Is Rage: A Novel of Silicon Valley and Other Madness, was published by The Story Plant in October 2013 and is being adapted by the author for stage production. His second book, Endless Encores, will be published in September 2015.

Ken served as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of SHOP.COM, which was acquired by Market America in 2010. He previously served as executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online, the business unit of the Walt Disney Internet Group that produced the leading entertainment web destination for kids and families. Key achievements at Disney developed by his teams included launch of the first massively multiplayer online game for kids, Toontown, as well as FamilyFun.com, Movies.com, and the early broadband service Disney Connection.

Prior to Disney, Ken was vice president of entertainment at Broderbund Software and founding general manager of the company’s Red Orb Entertainment division. Before the formation of Red Orb, he was responsible for all aspects of development on Broderbund’s acclaimed Carmen Sandiego series. He also worked as a designer/producer at Philips Interactive Media and Cinemaware Corporation.

Ken and his wife Shelley, who teaches English as a Second Language, make their home in Southern California, where he is active in local government and children’s welfare issues. He has served on the boards of Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, and Full Circle Programs. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.