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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!

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Kairos Society

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I got accepted into the Kairos Society!

The Kairos Society is an international nonprofit organization of entrepreneurs and innovators from the top universities around the world.  

See what Forbes has to say on them – http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricardogeromel/2013/04/02/kairos-society-and-the-worlds-next-generation-of-new-billionaires/

Here’s my application:

Personal Bio:

I’m a technology obsessed individual who’s been playing with innovation and tech since day one.  My father (a founder of a small IT firm in California) encouraged me to push anything I got my hands on to its limits (computers, websites, software, etc.) and explore as many new tech adventures as possible. I’ve dabbled in a diverse set of technologies ranging from html with neopets.com user pages and basic construction of computers when I was very young to basic python, youtube analytics, and wordpress web design more recently.  Nonskill-wise I founded the Scripps College Women in Technology club, which often partners with the Scripps Entrepreneur club, intern for Geek and Sundry, a Commercial Youtube Channel, and design websites.  I love networking with fellow tech savvy individuals and entrepreneurs to hear what the next wave of innovation will be, and discussing new ways to use technology to change how the world currently works and address problems previously unsolvable.

Skills/Expertise:

  • Interpersonal: Management of project teams, Networking.
  • Operating Systems: PC (including Windows 8) and Mac.
  • Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint.
  • Adobe Suite: InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere
  • Google: Search, Calendar, Drive, Gmail, Analytics, etc.
  • Websites: Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube Analytics, Trello
  • Web Design: WordPress.

Interests:

Anything tech related.  Changing the world through technology.  Educating others on technology, creating tech communities, and pushing people to become as tech-savvy as possible.

What would you like to achieve by the time you are 30?:

Unfortunately my answer is fairly vague since I don’t actually know where the tech industry will be in 30 years, but I want to do something big.  I want to fill in the gaps, using emerging tech to make the world we live in better.  I can’t say what technology I will be using to achieve this (30 years ago I’m sure no one could have even imagined we’d have smart phones and ipads), but I know that I want to be at the front of the wave, setting the precedent and forging the path that others will follow, with teams working under me to make sure that change is implemented.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

My biggest accomplishment would probably be starting the Scripps College Women in Technology club (there is a veritable vacuum in terms of community around technology on campus, and I aim to change that).  There is a lot of strong talent on campus, and I am looking to pull them together, hone their skills, and help them find their way into the work force.  Scripps prides itself on being more humanities and art oriented, but I’m hoping to expand it to be more inclusive of business and tech.  Scripps is a Women’s College, and I want to make sure that the women who graduate from it are tech-savvy and ready for the business world.

What are your 2 biggest strengths you will bring into this organization?

My two biggest strengths would be my desire to constantly be creating new projects, and my love of helping communities.  I find myself extremely jittery if I’m not working on something I consider ‘productive’, whether that’s educating myself, working on projects for my internship, job, or school, or helping others to succeed.  I constantly want to change myself and my environment for the better, and love finding where the gaps are and filling them in with solutions and ideas so that both I and the world I live in improve.  This leads to my love of helping develop communities, for with communities I am able to educate others and help them succeed, success which they then use to help people they know.  It is a domino effect, and I love being able to watch the people I mentor come into their own, and then use their education and skills to bring others to their full potential.

Historically, some of the most innovative and pioneering entrepreneurs have started by rethinking traditional assumptions and business models. Tell us about an area that you think is ripe for disruption, or about a way to solve new problems with existing technology and resources.

I currently work for a commercial Youtube Channel, which in my opinion is the next disruption in terms of the entertainment industry.  We work daily towards using the resources YouTube and social media sites provide to create new, immersive models of entertainment, which is known in the industry as transmedia storytelling: the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.  We also work with YouTube to suggest how new innovations could lead to better experiences for the audience.  We address the growing range of sites and technologies used by viewers, and take advantage of the fact that traditional cable channels are barely understanding how to use twitter, let alone vine, instagram, etc.  As a Commerical Channel, we set the standards for other YouTubers to live up to, and decide the path to the future.

Give us an example of how you would be able to contribute your skills and expertise to solving key challenges in either healthcare, education or sustainability.

I would use my knowledge of YouTube and my ability to form communities to reform education.  The fact that YouTube is still emerging as a disruptive technology means that each user can help decide what direction it is going to go.  Commercial Channels are already working towards more diversity and inclusivity in the actors on YouTube, but if I was looking to reform education, I’d love to focus on the programming, specifically on how to use critical media theory learned as a Digital Media Studies major to make sure YouTube programming has meaning, not just entertainment value (although a balance would have to be struck).  As YouTube and digital programming are a new frontier, I would work towards creating communities of channels that are dedicated to educating as well as entertaining.  It would not be a niche market, but rather an underlying principle of all programming.  Social media is already used to digital experiences, so it’d be interesting to see how it’d be possible to use social media for informing the audience and forcing them to think deeper and more critically about the content they are consuming.

I’m super excited to see where this goes!