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.
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.
Last Friday was my adventure in entrepreneurship. First I attended a lecture by the brilliant Bill Gross, creator of Idealab, an incubator in Pasadena. 4 hours later, I had the luck to speak with the President of Idealab, Marcia Goodstein. The first time I saw Bill Gross was at the Innovation Summit in October, where I unfortunately missed the beginning of his speech (which luckily made up the bulk of his presentation at CMC). He talked about the 10 most important parts of successful startups:
- Pursue your passion
- The more disruptive the better
- Don’t spend ahead of success/traction
- Timing matters
- Execution really matters
- Survive until the market’s ready
- Recognize your strengths
- Teamwork Matters
- Listen and Iterate – Turn on ideas
- Harness your user’s passion
Other important points he made:
- Give out lots of equity to encourage people to join the start-up team.
- The only way you can win against big companies is by outmaneuvering them with your small size. Keep your ear to the ground, listen to your customers, and adapt quickly.
- Find the things that don’t work.
And finally, all truths pass through three phases, so sometimes you just need to push through:
- Violently opposed
- Self evident
After his presentation, we were allowed to ask questions. Some of the most interesting were:
Q: What are the positions necessary in a start-up?
- Entrepreneurial – Dream
- Producer – Get things done
- Administrative – Coordinate/Infrastructure
- Integrator – Bring different people and parts together
Q: How important is company culture?
A: Success breeds culture, culture does not breed success.
Q: What’s important in a company?
A: Mutual trust, respect, openness, and transparency. Transparency is extra effort in that you need to train your coworkers to know what to do with the information they learn about the company.
Q: Is working in start-up environments like Silicon Valley or Silicon Beach important?
A: It’s helpful to see people going through the same hardships, and share resources.
It was wonderful to hear advice from such an experienced individual in the start-up field, and I hope I get the chance to put his words to good use. My next blog post will be about my talk with Marcia Goodstein, I hope you look forward to it!
This past week I attended two technology mixers, one hosted by Bixel Exchange and one hosted by Innovate Pasadena. Both are basically movements to create a new Silicon Valley in their area, Bixel Exchange representing Los Angeles and Innovate Pasadena representing Pasadena.
The Bixel Exchange mixer was held at Youtube Space L.A., one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Have you ever seen images of Google’s offices or Amazon’s? It was kinda like that, with colors everywhere, food, a firepole, everything you could want to keep your creative juices going. It had giant rooms with catwalks where productions (to be posted on Youtube) could be created, smaller premade sets, control rooms, and editing rooms. I commend Youtube on its efforts to encourage its users to create and collaborate, and look forward to seeing what types of creations are produced.
The Innovate Pasadena mixer was held in a lovely coffee shop in Old Town Pasadena, where Sean Lynch, CEO of Metacloud Inc., talked about the details of launching a start-up in Pasadena. I pitched my idea of a single website where tech companies in Pasadena could post internships and students could submit resumes to his marketing manager, Ali, and she seemed like she liked it (we’ll see if they let me in on the project or decide to take it as their own.
Finally, I’ve started a Scripps Women in Technology club at my college. As much as Scripps emphasizes gender gaps in the workforce, for some reason they never seem to comment on the giant gap in the tech industry. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull something together to help create an environment where Scrippsies interested in tech can support each other.
I have never quite lived up to my tumblr username of freelance-adventurer so much as today. After meeting with a client for web design, I decided to randomly hop on the train and head to Little Tokyo. After traveling for 30 min, I got off and started wandering with no place in particular in mind. After about 2 minutes in, I saw curly hair and a purple shirt and shouted EMMA. Lo and behold, Emma was randomly in Little Tokyo with her parents.
‘Why are you here?’ I asked.
‘We got dim sum in Chinatown, and are now going to a museum. Why are you here?’ replied her mother.
‘…because I got on a train.’ was my god awful awkward reply which made so much less sense said out loud (God, I’m a weirdo).
Emma’s parents ended up buying me a ticket to a museum with some pretty bamf sculptures, one of which I realized was made by kids from my high school. Her parents then went home, leaving us to wander Little Tokyo. We went grocery shopping, bought a birthday present, got boba, explored an arcade, and wandered. We then went to Chinatown and found out one of my favorite places (Empress Pavilion) is basically dead now.
We took the train to Pasadena, where there was a chalk festival, and looked at the pretties. Finally I drove her home.
The weird part was today was supposed to be my nonsocial day. Oh well, I had fun.