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Episode 31 | Krisztina ‘Z’ Holly | Entrepreneur, Adventurer, & Creator of the 1st TEDx | Live from Los Angeles, CA


Krisztina ‘Z’ Holly

Krisztina ‘Z’ Holly seems to have done it all when it comes to tech, manufacturing, and adventuring. Though she goes by many titles – innovator, engineer, advisor, podcast host – her experiences and ability to help others utilize their “undiscovered talent” to make an impact are what really set her apart.

While Z’s accomplishments include creating the first TEDx events, founding innovation centers at both MIT and USC, and working with multiple successful tech startups (and that’s just scratching the surface), she’s currently putting her energy into her maker-focused podcast “The Art of Manufacturing” and her role as the “Chief Instigator” for MAKE IT IN LA, Mayor Garcetti’s non-profit initiative aimed at growing the manufacturing ecosystem in the Los Angeles region.

Z and I met up in L.A. to shoot a manufacturing-related video on the beach, and we ended up recording a Pubcast as well! Z takes us through numerous stories that illustrate her career, as well as her approach to failure and being open to new experiences. We even tap into her adventurous side as we discuss scuba diving, rock climbing, and exploring the diverse food scene across L.A.

Chris & Z in Marina del Rey

Coaster Notes:

  • Z and I met up at a bar next to Mother’s Beach to film an episode of Manufacturing Happy Hour, and a Pubcast broke out! It was late October, the sun was shining, it was 95 degrees, and I had stupidly not packed shorts or flip-flops.
  • “I’m actually 200 years old!” Z is everything from a founder to a podcaster to a certified scuba instructor, and has the most diverse range of experiences of anyone ever featured on the Pubcast.
  • “My passion and my purpose is to find undiscovered talent and ideas…help them tell their story, and help them make an impact.” – Z Holly
  • Z was always good at math and science, and her purpose really started to first click for her when she discovered scuba diving, where she became the youngest certified instructor at age 18 and got her whole A.P. high school physics class certified her senior year.
  • We discuss Z’s shift from tech companies to a focus that is more manufacturing and maker specific. She sees a tremendous opportunity in this space right now, especially being in Los Angeles – the largest manufacturing center in the U.S..
  • Regarding failure: practice! While it’s still better to learn through successes, the more speed bumps you hit and get back up from, the more confidence you’ll build to take risks and try new things (both personally and professionally). Z draws parallels between this and rock climbing.
  • Z started “The Art of Manufacturing” after being approached by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti about becoming the regional “Entrepreneur-in-Residence.” She felt manufacturing was the area of focus that she could make the most impact.
  • Round 2 kicks off with cooler weather and better drinks…
  • As an alternative to a bucket list, Z gives us the rundown on her “charm list,” a list of past, often serendipitous experiences that she is grateful for. This leads us to talking about saying “yes!” to new experiences, Burning Man, and an experiment about luck conducted by psychology professor Richard Wiseman.
  • Z’s drinking story revolves around the recent “Maker Walk” that she hosted in downtown Los Angeles where they checked out various manufacturers, including Angel City Brewery and a Gin & Tonic-fueled visit to Greenbar Distillery.

  • One of Z’s many roles includes being an “authentic food aficionado,” and she gives shoutouts to some of the spots in the L.A. area like Mariscos Chente, Cambodian food in Long Beach, and the Chinese/Asian food in the San Gabriel Valley.
  • When you live in L.A., you become a connoisseur for the different types of helicopters that exist.
  • On making an impact: “Think about what you can give, before you can get.” – Z Holly

Drinks of the Show:

  • Lazy Dog IPA – From Golden Road. It was refreshing enough for the heat…
  • “Happy Hour Mezcal” – Not to be confused with paint thinner
  • Long Beach Blonde – It was really hot that day. I needed this…
  • “A free Pina Colada-like cocktail” – It was free and had a cherry, so we’re good with this beverage!

Resources for When You’re Sober:

Connect/Drink with Z:

Head over to for Z’s maker podcast “The Art of Manufacturing” (or search & subscribe on your favorite podcast platform). Go to, and hopefully, you’ll get to join her for Gin & Tonics on one of her next LA Maker Walks!

Music Credits:

“Tijuana Sunrise” by Goldfinger. Check them out at

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