Carla Thompson, CEO and Founder
A veteran of the tech industry, Carla Thompson has counseled startups
around the globe on creating, launching, and sustaining smart
businesses. As CEO and founder of Sharp Skirts,
Carla is working to create a network for women entrepreneurs, and a new
voice for women in the 21st century. Her newest program, Tech for the Rest of Us,
counsels individuals and companies on the basics of online tools and
how to use them at minimum effort for maximum impact. She also continues
to keep a finger on the pulse of emerging tech as an Affiliate Analyst
for Guidewire Group.
In her previous role as VP of Community Strategy & Engagement at
Guidewire Group, Carla provided advisory services and strategic counsel
to startups and helmed the company’s community initiatives, overseeing
marketing and social media strategy. She also assisted Executive
Producer Chris Shipley in screening and selecting demonstrators for the
renowned DEMO conference.
She previously founded MC2 Communications and served as senior
account executive at Ketchum Silicon Valley. In her work in
communications and PR, Carla counseled companies such as Visa, Intuit,
and Chase Capital Partners, and was publicist for Linus Torvalds,
inventor of the Linux operating system. She currently serves on the
advisory board of SXSW Interactive’s Accelerator program and GenAustin.
Amanda Krauss, Knowledge Manager
Amanda Krauss is new to the world of business but has plenty of experience sharing knowledge: for over ten years, she taught history, humor theory, and gender studies at the University of Texas (Austin), then Vanderbilt University. Having left the classroom for edu-preneurship, she is now a web developer with a keen interest in how technology facilitates (or doesn't) information distribution. Her blog, Worst Professor Ever, has been pinged as a rising influence on the education reform debate and continues to raise questions about how best to communicate and test knowledge. When not coordinating the information highway for Sharp Skirts, Amanda enjoys developing sites for small businesses and individual creatives, and hanging out at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Laura Kilcrease, Advisor
Laura Kilcrease is founder and managing director of Triton Ventures,
LLC, a venture capital fund investing in spinout and early-stage
technology companies. With more than 25 years of hands-on experience in
commercializing technology, Ms. Kilcrease has a deep understanding of
how to cultivate new opportunities to “grow businesses around
businesses” as well as how to deconstruct and reconstruct business
models to achieve significant results.
Chris Shipley, Advisor
Chris Shipley is a leading technology and product analyst. Best known as the executive producer of the DEMO Conferences for IDG Executive Forums, Chris has helped technology companies bring over 1,000 new products to market since 1996. As a founding partner, chairman and CEO of Guidewire Group, she analyzes emerging technology companies around the world to identify market opportunities and accelerate products to market. Fortune Small Business Magazine placed Chris on its "Top 10 Minds in Small Business," and the San Jose Business Journal named her a "Woman of Distinction." She has often been cited as a leading influencer by Marketing Computers magazine. Chris has covered personal technology since 1984 and has worked as a writer and editor for a variety of technology and consumer media. She is currently working on a book on the social impact of technology-driven change.
Mark Johnson, Advisor
Mark Johnson is a seasoned product leader who cut his teeth at SAP
and then progressed to a series of start ups: SideStep (acquired by
Kayak Software for $180M), Kosmix, and Powerset (acquired by
Microsoft). He currently leads a program management team at Bing and
works to improve the relevance of summaries (title, snippet, URL, and
Preview) for every Bing search result. In addition to advising and
investing in Sharp Skirts, he also advises Worio.com. His blog is at
http://deliberateambiguity.typepad.com and you can find him on Twitter