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Alison van Diggelen
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Alison van Diggelen is a Silicon Valley based journalist and commentator who's been described as "one of the most respected interviewers on the web."

She's host of the Fresh Dialogues interview series and contributes to the BBC World Service, Public Radio International's The World; and National Public Radio's KQED.

Her notable interviews of business leaders and celebrities include Elon Musk, Meryl Streep and Martin Sheen.

Alison has been a guest on BBC's Business Matters and NBC's Tech Show Press:Here; and moderates events for the Commonwealth Club and the Churchill Club. California State Senator Elaine Alquist nominated Alison for a Woman of Achievement Award in communication; and she has also been honored by U.S. Congressman, Mike Honda.

A native of Scotland, Alison has a Master's from Cambridge University and enjoys indulging her passion for tech and sustainability in the Valley of Heart's Delight.

Entries by Alison van Diggelen

14-Year-Old Gets Lessons in Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 1:39 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues


This year a teen delegation from the United Kingdom won a trip to Silicon Valley, courtesy of Silicon Valley Comes To UK (SVC2UK), the transatlantic brainchild of...

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What's it Like to Work In Silicon Valley if You're Not in Tech?

(43) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 5:47 PM


By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

If you're a techie in Silicon Valley today, chances are you have a six figure salary and a pretty comfortable living situation. But what if you don't work in tech? What's...

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BBC Report: Will El Nino End California's Water Saving?

(10) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 2:35 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues


Anticipation is building that El Nino will bring much-needed relief to drought-stricken California this winter. But will it end the drought? And how will it impact the Golden State's...

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Tesla's Elon Musk Gives VW a Lesson in Clean Air at Model X Launch

(2) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 3:34 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues


Last night, the long awaited Tesla Model X was launched and Elon Musk took great pleasure in underlining its clean air qualities. He couldn't contain a smile, as he talked about...

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Steve Jobs' First Love: Why the Whole Truth Matters

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 9:45 PM

"I am a modern Mary Magdalene, the truth of who I am was blacked out. Steve fancied himself a Christ figure, but hated women, was a delusional contemporary business, religious fundamentalist who spread a culture of reality distortion." - Chrisann Brennan

Steve Jobs is a hero, even a saint,...

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California Drought Official Tells Techies: Get Your Hands Dirty

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 10:46 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

California's drought has spurred everyone to pay close attention to their water use. Farmers are especially thirsty for water-saving ideas, but where are the innovative tech solutions?


I recently joined Fergus...

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They Shot the Wrong Girl Says Malala's Favorite Author, Khaled Hosseini

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 1:15 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

The name Malala is now synonymous with courage, passion and hope after a gunman shot Malala Yousafzai in the face; and she didn't back down. Malala is the...
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Cynthia Breazeal: Will Robots Like Jibo Take Your Job?

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 1:25 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Many people worry about the consequences of tech innovation, in particular: will automation and robots take our jobs? I sat down to explore the impact of robots and the chance of "robo-apocalypse" with social robot pioneer...

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What You Can Learn From Elon Musk Book: 6 Tips

(1) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 2:59 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Today, the Elon Musk biography by Ashlee Vance is finally available. It will "likely serve as the definitive account" of the most successful entrepreneur in the world, writes Jon Gertner in the New York...

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What's Musk's 'Missing Piece?' Tesla Insider Shares Insights

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2015 | 1:26 AM

This evening, Elon Musk announces details of Tesla's new products: not cars, but battery storage for the home and for the business/utility. As Musk teases, "For the future to be good, we need electric transport, solar power and..."

So why does Musk call battery storage...

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'Eat, Pray, Love for Families': Wide-Open World Book Review

(1) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 4:16 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, Host of Fresh Dialogues


The book's website had me at Eat, Pray, Love and passed the ultimate test at page 244 when it made me cry. I'm talking about Wide Open World by...

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5 Lessons for Successful Entrepreneurs: A VC Perspective

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 12:16 PM


Heidi Roizen has been on both sides of the entrepreneur funding divide, so her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is particularly potent. She's an operating partner at venture capitalists group DFJ, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford University and a...

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Daydreaming Helped 13-year-old Auschwitz Prisoner Survive

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 2:27 PM


Seventy years ago today, the prisoners of Auschwitz were liberated. Irene Weiss is one of those survivors. She was 13 years old when she was captured, her long blond braids shaved off and her family killed in the gas chambers. Weiss sat down...

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Fear Is Not An Option

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 11:25 AM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Diane von Furstenberg says that the greatest gift she's ever received is the lesson that "fear is not an option."

With 2015 off to a fearful start in Paris and its impact reverberating globally,

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Why Isaacson's Rewrite of Tech History Is So Timely

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 4:41 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, Host of Fresh Dialogues

Last Tuesday was the kind of evening when you just want to snuggle up with a good book and a warm mug of Earl Grey. But I rallied and zipped up my winter boots to go...

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Chelsea Sexton Explains Why Getting Butts in Electric Cars Is Top Priority

(1) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 8:06 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Chelsea Sexton is famous -- among electric car fans, at least -- for her role in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? I caught up with Sexton at this summer's Plug-In Conference in...

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Kiva Cofounder Jessica Jackley Shares 3 Startup Tips

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 1:12 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Kiva cofounder Jessica Jackley received a Visionary Award at SVForum in Silicon Valley this month. She joins an impressive roster of honorees that includes Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Padmasree Warrior.

Jackley took a few moments to share tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and some clues about her latest startup, launching this fall.

She enthuses about Silicon Valley being "an incredibly special pocket of the world" where "people have a great capacity to imagine new futures."

"So many people here have the resources and skills to make these new stories unfold, become real," she adds.

Here are some highlights of our conversation.

Tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

1. Be passionate

Do something you are passionate about and have a vision for.

2. Start small

Remember Kiva began with seven entrepreneurs and a little over $3,000. It recently surpassed the $500,000,000 mark in microloans to entrepreneurs around the world, serving almost 2 million Kiva users in 76 countries. The average loan amount is $10.

3. Be excellent

Serve one person, or one community well and build from there. Be thoughtful, intentional and think about the details. Study and absorb what's unfolding in front of you, and be present.

Check out the full story at Fresh Dialogues and learn more about the exciting new startup she's launching this Fall.

Find out more about other SVForum visionary award winners and check back soon at Fresh Dialogues for new interviews with other 2014 honorees: Stanford's Tina Seilig, VC Tim Draper and Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America.

This video is part of a special "Inspiring Women" series at Fresh Dialogues featuring Meryl Streep, Sheryl Sandberg, Jennifer Granholm, Maureen Dowd, and Belva Davis. Check out the YouTube video series here.

Come join the Fresh Dialogues conversation on Facebook and make your suggestions for...

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Lesley Stahl Shares Emotional Reaction to Dramatic Ice Melt

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 6:55 PM

Why are this week's new carbon rules critical to our future?

As EPA's Gina McCarthy described it, "We have a moral obligation to the next generation to ensure the world we leave is healthy & vibrant."

Others might be more direct: It's climate change, stupid!

I recently interviewed CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl and she shared her emotional reaction to climate change. She witnessed the rapid ice melt in Greenland and reported about it for Years of Living Dangerously, the documentary series on climate change.

"I thought global warming needed an alarm bell rung before I went, but it was extremely emotional for me to see first hand the ice melt," says Stahl. "Knowing what it's going to do for the rest of the planet."

She's talking primarily about global sea level rises, but there's also the devastation that will occur due to rising temperatures, widespread drought and the increasing frequency of deadly storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Find out more about Stahl's report for the Years of Living Dangerously series here. It's produced by David Cameron and features reports from Tom Friedman, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba and Don Cheadle.

The interview was recorded at the Foothill College Celebrity Forum Series in Silicon Valley on May 15, 2014.

Here's my interview with Lesley Stahl on Barbara Walters' legacy.

Check out Fresh Dialogues interviews with former Energy Secretary Steven Chu and many other policy...

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Mad Men's Harry Hamlin: It's Easy Being Green

(1) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 1:16 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues


It's amazing who you bump into at Silicon Valley conferences! Last week, it was Harry Hamlin of Mad Men fame. Turns out he's a huge fan of Tesla Motors...

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Lesley Stahl on Barbara Walters: Why They're Soul Sisters

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 2:23 PM

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Last night, I caught up with acclaimed journalist Lesley Stahl to discuss Barbara Walters' retirement. Here's Stahl's tribute to her television colleague and fellow crasher of the boys' club:

"Barbara has been a pioneer all along," Stahl says. "Even in hanging in there to the age of 84, she's still leading the way."

The 60 Minutes correspondent and former White House correspondent for the Carter, Reagan and George H. Bush administrations gives a historic perspective on Barbara Walters' groundbreaking role in TV journalism.

"When she started, when I started, it was generally assumed women couldn't last in television news beyond the age of 40," Stahl says. "Then it was 50, then Barbara reached 60... Barbara is 84, it's fabulous!"

At 72, the vivacious Lesley Stahl continues to report news-making reports for 60 Minutes as well as Years of Living Dangerously. In her early days, her producers told her to ''never, ever, ever smile.'' She famously wrote in her biography, Reporting Live, that when she started work at 60 Minutes in 1991, joining septuagenarian colleagues like Morley Safer, she felt younger, "There simply is not a better job or a better shop in all of television news -- possibly in all of journalism."

The interview was recorded backstage at the Flint Center in Cupertino, minutes before Lesley Stahl took the stage with her 60 Minutes colleague Bob Simon, for Foothill College's Celebrity Forum Series. Special thanks to host Dick Henning and Foothill College President Judy Miner for their warm welcome.

Check back soon at Fresh Dialogues for Part 2 of my interview with Lesley Stahl about climate change and her eye witness account of the dramatic Arctic ice...

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