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CSUN Technology Fair Showcases Innovation - From Flying Cars to Artificial Intelligence

May 16, 2019

CSUN Today, CSUN's Technology Fair, Ben Butler, AWS.

Photo Credit: Ben Butler, global lead for Cloud Innovation Centers at Amazon, speaks about the tech giant’s culture in his presentation, "Enabling Innovation for Everyone," at the ninth annual CSUN Technology Fair, May 8, 2019. Photo by Patricia Carrillo.

"In the hub of creativity and innovation that is Los Angeles, tech is life. That reality is ever-present on college campuses, and CSUN is one of the best at harnessing and sharing the latest and greatest in technology to foster student and faculty success.

To showcase these tools and trends, the university’s Division of Information Technology hosted more than 200 CSUN students, staff, faculty and members of the community May 8 at the ninth annual Technology Fair.

The fair included keynote speakers Jeanne Holm, deputy chief information officer (CIO) and senior tech advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Ben Butler, global lead for Cloud Innovation Centers at Amazon — who spoke about the tech giant’s culture in his presentation “Enabling Innovation for Everyone.”

Amazon started its online business in the late 1990s selling books, but the company’s central idea was to leverage the power of innovation to create online commerce opportunities for everyone, said Butler, who joined the company in 2011.

“It’s innovation that really makes the world go ’round,” he said. “Our mission is to be the Earth’s most customer-centric company. Our commitment is to make our customers’ lives easier. We think long term, and some of our bets take several years to come to fruition — so we have to be stubborn on our vision.

“If you want to be inventive, you have to be willing to fail,” Butler said. “We’re trying to keep a childlike curiosity, and keep inventing and trying. You also have to be willing to be misunderstood for a long time — we’re very comfortable being misunderstood, especially by Wall Street and investors. [Amazon founder and CEO] Jeff Bezos said, ‘Don’t be afraid of your investors — be afraid of your customers.'”

Amazon Prime, a ubiquitous service for many more well-off Americans, is an example of the company’s focus on increasing selection for customers, he said."

Read more about the ninth annual CSUN Technology Fair at CSUN Today