Next Chapter of My Life

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Hey!  As you’ve probably noticed by the fact that I haven’t posted since Summer of 2014, I have officially stopped using this blog.  Senior year was great, I finished my Digital Media thesis on Transmedia Digital Productions and graduated from Scripps College with a B.A. in Digital Media and a minor in Psychology.

As of April 2016 I work as a Project Coordinator at a software company in Southern California, and will be tracking my post-grad life on BaiRabbit.wordpress.com.  Follow me there if you still want to know what’s up!

-Alicen Lewis

My Summer!

All the photos that I don’t want to make into separate posts but I’d like to remember

Old LA Zoo/Griffith Park

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Anime Expo

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Waterfall Adventure

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Outdoor Film and Food Festival

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Justin’s 21st Birthday

Now this gets a little more explanation because it’s super important to me, we ended up getting sushi together and then wandering around Little Tokyo/LA and chatting about everything and anything before finishing by going to Boba 8, an awesome alcoholic boba speakeasy.

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San Diego Comic-Con 2014

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Managed to get tickets to every nerd’s dream this summer, the one, the only, San Diego Comic-Con!  I stayed at my aunt’s house, but met up with college friends Allegra, Tessa, and Steven for so major adventures.

Wandering the convention!

We took a lot of silly photos and checked out the Gotham Zipline, giant Homer head, cosplayers, and much more.

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Nerd HQ! (which I helped fund)

For those of you who don’t know, Nerd HQ is a hangout spot anyone can attend in Petco Park, and is separate from Comic-Con.  Tickets to the panels cost money, but it all goes to Operation Smile (a charity).

Meeting Markiplier!

Now this one was actually completely by accident.  Allegra and I were walking by Keenspot, which is actually a webcomics booth, when suddenly we noticed a familiar online face.  Lo and behold, Markiplier was standing alone, and we got a chance to talk to him and get some great photos.

Geek and Sundry Vloggers

Finally, right before Allegra had to leave we ran into some Geek and Sundry vloggers (who I had actually never met in person despite watching all their videos and running their data), and it was great to finally talk to them irl.  I can’t wait to go again next year, and I’m excited to see who else I meet!

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Wearable Tech LA

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Because I tend to do things just to try them out, I decided to apply to run social media for the Wearable Tech LA conference in Pasadena this week, and got the job! (You can read my posts here)  This meant I ran the twitter for the entire day and tried to build hype and keep people engaged.  It was a pretty exciting experience, and the conference itself was also pretty incredible.

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The concept itself of wearable technology is absolutely fascinating to me, because although we may not be cyborgs with robot arms and bionic eyes, we are most definitely becoming a hybrid of organic and machine.  People have  tethered themselves to their smartphones without even realizing it as they start to perform functions such as data recall and reminders we once relied on our memories for.  Wearable technology is simply a name for the trend that is growing out of the fact that smartphones have made technology natural in our daily lives.  Fitbits, Google Glass, and smartwatches are just the start of wearable technology, and the field is growing as innovative designers figure out new ways to incorporate technology and augment the way we function as humans.

In the future I’ll be sure to include more of my thoughts on wearable technology (trust me, I could talk forever), but in this post I mostly just wanted to show off all the cool stuff that I got to see at the event.  Learning to track the hashtag, reply to everyone, retweet the relevant posts, and keeping our audience engaged was quite the challenge, but I found out that I actually really enjoy livetweeting events.  There were a group of girl scouts who showed off their wearable tech fashion creations, a man who was colorblind and attached a sensor to his brain so he could ‘hear’ colors, wearable tech for fitness, fashion, and relaxation, as well as much more.  It was exciting to see all the panels and watch the excitement build in the room, and I hope it happens again next year.

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Idealab Product Team Intern

First week at Idealab!  For those of you who don’t know, Idealab has been my dream internship ever since I became interested in startup culture, and after two interviews while traveling Europe (and accidentally locking myself out of my hostel room during one of them), I managed to secure it.  A little context: Idealab is a Startup Incubator in Pasadena, meaning they take the very beginnings of business ideas and test them (using lean methodology) to see if they would survive as companies.

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Out of over 100 applications, our supervisors chose a team of 7 (only 6 actually work here now, the 7th one couldn’t get a visa).  We have Amol, a USC student from India who is incredibly clever in terms of questioning things instead of just accepting ‘that’s just the way they are’ ; Harrison, also from USC but originally from Hong Kong who is already working on his own business called Study Bloc; Dana, a phenomenal graphic and UX designer who is also an engineer from Stanford; Adam, a CS major from Vanderbilt; and Andrew, a finance guru from Columbia.

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Our skills complement each other nicely, and I’ve really been enjoying working with them so far.  We’ve just started a project called [name redacted until project complete] where we are trying to get a subscription service for gadgets off the ground.  Basically every month for a small fee you’ll get a box with some cool gadgets inside. We’re just starting off with building a website to see if anyone is interested, and we’ll see how it goes from there.  I’m taking point on the project (essentially becoming the product manager), so I hope it works out!

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Natasha’s Graduation

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My sister graduated with her PsyD and is now moving to Seattle!  Yay Natasha!

Girls in Tech: Los Angeles

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Hey readers!  As you know, I’ve been in Ireland for the past 5 months (you can read my adventures here), but I am now back in LA and ready to start my internship with the startup incubator Idealab in Pasadena.  I don’t actually start until June 9, so I’ve been spending the past week checking out the LA tech scene.  My first event was a dinner hosted by Girls in Tech: Los Angeles, and I was lucky enough to meet a lot of highly intelligent women doing cool things in their fields, ranging from consulting to startups to design innovation.

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I wasn’t expecting to have such fun chatting with everyone about hiking, cooking, and of course technology, and I’m really looking forward to attending more Girls in Tech events, and maybe even helping out!

Technology and Startups: How to Network Los Angeles (and Pasadena)

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So, as a young professional in Los Angeles, one of the skills I always try to perfect  is networking.  Now, networking can often happen by chance or through colleagues, but my favorite form is finding specific events and mixers in LA where I can find people who are passionate about the same subject as me (most often startups and technology).  I find these events through friends, google searches, and pure chance, but one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it is always trying to organize itself and make information more accessible.  Through my haphazard exploration of the internet, I discovered my four favorite ways to find networking events and communities are LinkedIn, Meetup.com, Coworking spaces, and Websites.  If you have any additional website/methods to add, please comment below.  I am hoping others can use this article as a resource for their own networking efforts.

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Linkedin

LinkedIn is seriously one of my best friends.  Most people use it to keep track of their network, but it is also helpful in expanding it.  It has a series of groups that you can join for a variety of professional fields.  Your best option is to look at profiles of people similar to you and check out what groups they are following.  Be careful of groups that are just full of ads, and never feel bad for leaving one.  Most of the ones I follow are too specific to post here (such as social media), but two you might want to follow are Innovate Pasadena and Digital LA.

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Meetup.com

Meetup.com is fairly new site, but one that is quickly growing and becoming a valuable resource for all communities, not just tech and startups.  The ones I pay most attention to are LA Tech Happy Hour and Friday Morning Coffee, but you can find ones for your own tastes just by using keywords (ex. tech talks, Los Angeles).

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Coworking

Now, obviously coworking spaces (open offices filled with individuals from a number of startups working next to each other) are good for networking because that is one of their main purposes, but what is not as commonly known is that they often host a variety events open to the general public.  You can either search meetup.com for a list of events, or check each individual site, ex. Kleverdog and Coloft, or use Yelp to find more spaces.  Each site has a calendar, and the events range from simple networking, to programming, to startup advice.

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Websites

Websites are one of the hardest sources to find because they are not part of one platform like LinkedIn or Meetup, but I personally appreciate the resources they provide on top of networking events.  Some of my favorites for LA include (and you should tell me if there are any I should add to the list):

Mindshare LA: Mindshare LA holds monthly workshops, salons and movie screenings that gather hundreds of Angelenos for evenings of inspiration and interaction.

Bixelexchange: Bixel Exchange helps technology entrepreneurs thrive. We do this by combining the power of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and L.A.’s dynamic tech community with the resources of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center.

Silicon Beach LA: Your Personal Tour Guide And The Home Of The LA Tech & Startup Community.

Innovate Pasadena: The vision of INNOVATE PASADENA is to create a vibrant ecosystem of technology and design innovation in the greater Pasadena area that supports sustainable economic growth.

Women 2.0: Women 2.0 City Meetup creates an inclusive community for anyone working, innovating, or investing in technology. Women 2.0 City Meetup is open to both women and men.

Techsparks: TECHSPARKS aims to spark innovative new ideas by providing a social forum for entrepreneurial minds. Our events include networking, games, raffles and pitch opportunities to encourage interaction and collaboration.

Silicon Beach Young Professionals: Helping tech businesses grow with local networking events

Pasadena Young Professionals: The Young Professionals of Pasadena is a social and business networking group for people ages 21-40ish who live work and thrive in the Pasadena area.

Now, this obviously is not a comprehensive list, and if you have any other suggestions on finding networking groups or websites to check out, feel free to comment below or shoot an email to alicenlewis@gmail.com. I am always looking to improve the list!

UCC 32nd Annual Business Conference – Ireland

Being the business lover that I am, I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend a business conference in another country, and that’s how I found myself at the University College Cork 32nd Annual Business Conference hosted by the UCC Commerce society. 1545066_267869370037718_38648092_n The conference was hosted at the Hayfield Manor Hotel near Cork City Centre, approximately a mile walk for me.  I was greeted by a room of 20-somethings in suits and blouses quietly chatting over tea and biscuits, perhaps 75 students in all.  Each chair was laden with promotional material, chocolate, and a notebook. SAMSUNG   The conference itself was divided into two sections, the first portion had Bill Liao (CoderDojo), Barrie O’Connell (KPMG Cork), Lisa Domican (Grace App Communication), with John O’Doherty (AIB) moderating.  The second section had Cullen Allen (Cully & Sully), Deidre O’ Leary (IDME), Alan Gallagher (Voxpro), with Conor Healy (Chief Executive – Cork Chamber of Commerce) moderating.  Both parts spoke on the idea of the Irish ‘Brain Drain’ – the fact that Ireland now has the highest net outward migration of all of Europe, and what can be done to stymie this flow.  Each individual had their own take on what needed to be done to help Ireland grow. SAMSUNG Some Important Points from the Conference:

  • Due to its small population (about 4.5 million), Ireland has a wonderfully tight knit community.  This means that most everyone knows someone affected by something, and can lead you to the people to help, which is why the business community is so strong.
  • ‘Is the point of education to develop people to be rounded regardless of future, or to develop them to support Ireland?’ Ireland provides cheap education for its citizens, so to be educated in Ireland and then emigrate is actually a drain on Irish resources.
  • Ireland needs to start looking internationally for immigration, not just focus on stopping emigration.
  • We also need to recognize our lens.  Who is our network?  Our community?  Is it Dublin? Ireland? Europe? The world?
  • The only way to keep Ireland growing is to start doing our best now, while we are young

I’m almost tempted to move to Ireland for the start-up scene, it seems like there is a lot of potential and brilliance here.  I managed to connect with one man who’s involved with the Irish Start-Up scene and knew of The Kairos Society, and I hope that I can meet with him to discuss future directions. The highlight of the conference for me was probably winning a free Kindle for ‘best question asked’ as voted on by a panel from Accenture.  I knew the Irish were friendly, but I never expected it to go this far! SAMSUNG

Temporary Hiatus

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Dear Reader,

This blog is going on a temporary hiatus due to the fact that I am studying abroad in Ireland for 5 months.  Since this is a tech blog, I’ve made a secondary blog where I will be posting my Irish adventures http://alicenabroad.wordpress.com/.  If I have any tech or startup adventures there, I’ll be sure to post them here as well.

Lots of love,

Alicen Lewis

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