Blog Archives

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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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!

Bill Gross of Idealab speaks at CMC

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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:

  1. Pursue your passion
  2. The more disruptive the better
  3. Don’t spend ahead of success/traction
  4. Timing matters
  5. Execution really matters
  6. Survive until the market’s ready
  7. Recognize your strengths
  8. Teamwork Matters
  9. Listen and Iterate – Turn on ideas
  10. 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:

  • Ridicule
  • 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!

Technology Explosion

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.

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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.

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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.

Freelance Adventurer

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.

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‘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).

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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.

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We took the train to Pasadena, where there was a chalk festival, and looked at the pretties.  Finally I drove her home.

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The weird part was today was supposed to be my nonsocial day.  Oh well, I had fun.