Learn . . . and earn!

Jim Brazell, CEO and Founder of VentureRamp, Inc.

JimBrazellInnovation is defined as the action of innovating – the introduction of new ideas and methods, and the ability to be an innovator by profession is hard to attain for almost anyone. But if there is anything that Jim Brazell, CEO and founder of VentureRamp, can call himself based on his career accomplishments, innovator would be it.

“I’m all over the place,” Brazell said at the beginning of our phone interview. He was driving back to San Antonio, Texas, from Austin, Texas. “I give 50 speeches a year,” he said. As a full-time public speaker, he travels all over the world giving speeches and lectures on technology, economic development, community and the environment.

Jim got his start in the software industry while still in college, majoring in sociology. As an undergraduate, he was named a Gilder’s Fellow by the Discovery Institute in Seattle based on his research in the sociology of cyberspace. Much of Brazell’s focus throughout his educational and professional careers pertain to the fusion of telecommunications and computing.

His first job out of college consisted of providing a safe Internet environment for K-12 schools. In fact, it was Brazell and his co-workers at that job who provided the first subscription-based filter search engine for kids. The search engine was sponsored by Netscape. Out of this, Brazell began to refer to himself as an “evangelist for the use of telecommunications.”

But it was at a creativity conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, that Brazell realized that there was more to his career than traveling around in a jet and he began questioning his decision to uproot himself and his family to move out to California. “Basically, what I got out of that conference was this,” Brazell said. “If you’re not living your dream, what are you doing? I decided right there to call my wife and tell her I was coming home.”

Home is San Antonio, Texas. Brazell’s return marked a string of community service projects to promote community and technology in the San Antonio area. Among these was a bus tour and a black tie gala recognizing local teachers and scientists. At one of these events, Brazell met Dr. Eliza Evans, who was in need of a technical report to be completed.

Out of this, Brazell was able to add contributing to TSTC’s Emerging Technology reports to his agenda.

“From the reports, it relaunched my public speaking career,” Brazell said. Soon after, Brazell began working with another company that made career simulation video games. Brazell added enthusiastically, “Video game stuff is cool.”

Lately, it is not only Brazell’s spoken words that are receiving attention, but also his written words concerning the intersection of science, technology and digital media. A paper that Brazell wrote in 2005 focusing on digital convergence initiatives and what regions around the world would be the next Silicon Valleys has been selected for presentation at the International Conference of Technology Policy and Innovation in Porto, Portugal. The topic of the conference will be how to loosen the economic crisis digitally. According to Brazell’s paper, the next Silicon Valleys will involve not only the energy industry, but also and perhaps more importantly – the arts.

Digital convergence and public speaking may be his latest focus and as Brazell continues to take the technology industry by storm, he keeps in mind the importance of innovaiton with conscience and living his dream.


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