Ladies of Launch3

Diversity and Women in Tech at the Launch Festival 2013

This year’s Launch Festival was a very interesting experience. Like previous years, Jason and the crew organized a great show. Brilliant pitches and launching companies with abundant opportunities. However, this year, what stood out to me, as a woman in tech, was that they had a “Diversity in Tech Panel” discussing gender issues facing the tech industry today. The panel had Freda Kapor Klein, Vivek Wadhwa, Danilo Campos and Adria Richards. Adria brought up the fact because she is female she isn’t given as much credit for what she knows but rather questioned. They brought up some great points about how we treat women differently and discriminate against them.  Wadhwa shared how he was questioned if he “was just trying to get laid” by defending women in the industry. He’s writing a book on women in tech currently. Please contact  Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) if you have any personal stories to share.

I applauded the panel and the effort to bring this gender disparity to the surface. The Silicon Valley has been buzzing about this female revolution, especially with Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” International Women’s Day happening this Friday March 8th and the myriad of events surrounding women in tech.

My absolute favorite moment was when Jason publicly called out a booth who had hired booth babes, breaking the event’s rules. Via Twitter, Jason  said “kicked out as$&hole who broke booth babe rule–banned 4life! @nayafia: this booth upset me” I obviously was very happy to see this sexist behavior squashed, so I retweeted, started telling all my friends and female founders about it. The next morning, the same booth babes tried to enter the event and were denied. They asked, “why aren’t we allowed in? Is it because we are pretty and wear high heels?” Sorry it’s so complex to understand, but if one is hired to be there as booth decoration that’s a “booth babe” not sales, but maybe negative marketing and PR.

That morning, Jason made mention of the “No Stripper Rule” and how this upset him b/c they broke the rules, it demeans women and he wanted to keep the integrity of this BUSINESS event. I was the lone supporter loudly cheering in the middle of the room. My husband and brother were sitting a few rows behind me and heard all the comments from men about my “volume issues.” I’m not sorry and NO ONE can shut me up. Seems like some men didn’t agree with Jason, they liked the booth babes. They cheered everything else that Jason said though. I thank Aron Solomon for his tweet.

Aron Solomon 4 Mar
Seriously????? WTF. The whip is quite the added classy touch. #Launch2013 #fail pic.twitter.com/WzRx2myfqR
Out with the Booth Babes

There shouldn’t be sexual overtones in a professional setting. What was more appalling is that the founder/CEO is a woman. Shame on her for objectifying women. Thank you Jason for banning them from the event. We need more men in power to speak up about this bad behavior so we can effect REAL change.

Also at the event, there was a public pitch by a Singaporean startup, “YouCommentate,”  that was offensive. The statements were off-colored and sexist. Think SF losing the Superbowl, Charlie Sheen comments and other unrepeatable things. I was frustrated…ok fine….I was pissed.  Anyone who knows me, knows my close ties and love for Singapore. So I felt the need to publicly call them out on their bullshit. I named the company and gave all my unfiltered comments via Twitter. I called them out to meet me at “the blinking car” in the expo area so we could discuss this situation face to face. From the time it took for me to walk from my seat to the blinking car, I received a bunch of retweets b/c people agreed with my anger + a bunch of Singaporean responses since we all run in the same small tech circle.

I met with Ken McHugh and his partner from “YouCommentate.” We had a nice friendly discussion about their pitch. They were nice guys who got horrible advice on how to make their pitch more “edgy.” They apologized for their bad behavior and reinforced how they fully support the American 1st amendment of free speech so appreciated my comments.  Given their name “YouCommentate,” they knew it was coming. We walked away from the discussion understanding each other better and I posted updated tweets given the situation and so did Ken.

The next day, when I found YouCommentate and I introduced them to the billionaire Angel investor I was roaming around with. YouCommentate appreciated the opportunity to pitch to and receive feedback from the Angel. The Angel actually liked the product so they continued to chat. We walked away shaking hands and smiling. We have followed up with each other after the event also.

This motivated me to gather a few of the female founders for a photo opp on the last day. Then at last happy hour event on the last day, I asked the DJ to ask the female participants to gather on the stairs, so we ALL did. I don’t know the official count but we filled the stairs in the center. I wanted us to be counted because WE DO COUNT. In this world, you never know who you might piss off and how. The tech industry needs “sensitivity training”…that’s the key to true diversity. Given the current issues with Women in Tech in the Silicon Valley and internationally, I hope more men and women in leadership roles make immediate and lasting change since it’s long overdue. We need more females to Lean In, take leadership roles and NOT SHUT UP as they help other women succeed.

 

gavin newsom

What @projectglass could do for the #Citizenville Challenge – #ifihadglass to improve engagement and government functions

#ifihadglass I would develop an app to record+proximity report municipal complaints, crimes, concerns to go to the City for #Citizenville Challenge. Increase citizen engagement, improve safety & more timely resolutions.

Global Good Games would develop -  “MuniReports” or “Report2City”

  • Google has Streetview + Google Glass could record images and videos = Use app to do an accurate proximity report for municipal complaints, crimes, concerns
  • Govt to use app to triage resources to increase citizen engagement, improve safety & more timely resolutions.
  • Social – connect with proximity neighbors to petition for repairs or problem resolution. increase neighbor community interaction.
  • We could make it a game – gamify reality by acknowledging citizens that actively report valid issues that gets resolved could accrue points. Acknowledge publicly to increase intrinsic rewards for engaged citizens and neighborhoods. Increase neighborhood pride.

Here’s what inspired the idea. I love it when the stars align so perfectly.  Yesterday, Rebuilding Together San Francisco + meeting Mayor Ed Lee + Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom = move forward with Global Good Games! This goes perfectly for the gaming platform crowdfunding donations for the benefit of NGO’s… business plan we are working on.

Yesterday started off at a breakfast fundraiser “Then and Now” for Rebuilding Together San Francisco at WeWork. We discussed San Francisco rich cultural history and the demographic and ethnic change over the decades. Interesting to hear the reasons why. We looked at the current and future issues we are facing. Here are some highlights

  • Affordable housing and increasing demand with aging population but problematic given development and current market prices.
  • Never thought of it that way. Rent control increasing age discrimination. Landlords want younger tenants for higher turnover to be able to increase rent.
  • Single family homes are not the future for San Francisco. But we’d still have to grow 5x to be like NYC. Hmm, should we all look forward to 200 sq ft apartments?
  • “Affordable home ownership is a fraud” because it’s like winning the lotto for a flipper. Because “younger generation will figure things would figure things out.”

I was lucky enough to meet Mayor Ed Lee at the The Official City & County of San Francisco’s Lunar New Year Celebration 2013 at City Hall. He spoke about our changing demographic and ethnic diversity that makes each citizen an excellent contribution to this great city. He emphasized how we as citizens need to be more engaged with our city.

Afterwards, I met the Global Good Games team to see Gavin Newsom for his Citizenville book tour. (I had already purchased a copy and so has my team.) So we were all motivated to contribute our ideas to the challenge. He gave an example of how we could all pitch in to help improve the city. Why should citizens get so mad to gather and protest? We could increase engagement with technology and modernizing government systems to resolve issues before it becomes a social revolution. It’s time for this change. I am so happy Newsom is trying to break down this walls.

I would love to get a pair of the Google Glass early so my developer husband + techie group of friends could gather and brainstorm on the best way to improve our real world.

Please help us win by sharing this posting! Thanks!

 

 

Celebrate Women, Life & Liberty

Yesterday, I went to participate in the 40th year celebration of women, life & liberty in San Francisco at the Justin Herman Square in San Francisco. My highlights were, the song and dance by Code Pink, the flash mob preview of the One Billion Rising, and the impromptu lunch with Evan Low, Mayor of Campbell. Low is also the youngest, openly gay mayor in the country…even younger then I am. After the rally, while at the swanky Slanted Door overlooking the pier, our party openly discussed if “vagina” was an appropriate word to use publicly being a public official. We all agreed its a medical term not to be ashamed of. Just don’t use the “P” or “C” word. The pro-abortion doctor and her 3-year-old daughter was with us as we chatted about sex. Yes, a very surreal San Francisco moment that I utterly enjoyed.

Celebrate Women, Life & Liberty (27 photos) these photos were shared with Celeste Fremon of WitnessLA, an award-winning journalist who was appalled at the lack of rallies in Los Angeles. See my photos on WitnessLA Monday.
After the women’s rally at Justin Herman Square, we marched down to Union Square to face-off with the anti-abortion rally. We exercised our 1st amendment rights to they point they couldn’t be heard even w/ their sound system. I quickly lost me voice as I shouted and chanted along. I was apparently vocal enough for megaphones to be handed to me by those with lower volumes. Needlessly to say, I have a megaphone headed my way courtesy of Amazon Prime via their mobile app. Yay for tech enabled impulse shopping! Now my voice will be heard even louder. I love protesting. I am joining Code Pink!!!

The flash mob was part of the One Billion Rising movement. Code Pink also sang of the Vday 2/14  where they are leading a dance across the Golden Gate Bridge at 10am. I will be there! Join me. Also, they have dance rehearsals prior to that. Yes, that’s the same day as the Women2.0 tech conference I had tickets to in the city. I guess I might have to make my appearance there in my pink tutu. That evening, there’s a protest and flash mob at City Hall. Yes, I will be there too!

One Billion Rising – I have been moved by this movement and finally found a way to participate. Being just one person I reached out to my international network and let everyone know. I signed up a few friends in different cities internationally. I am happy social media as enabled us to make our footprints and ripples felt throughout the world. Everyone, man and woman should stand up for this. My male friends will be buying tons of flowers to hand out individually to women at the protest so show they love and support for woman-kind.

 

 

 

 

Good to Great – Can any company make the leap?

“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins, recommended to every business person, entrepreneur and non-profit, . I read it while I was consulting with a “good company.” One of their partners said to me “It bothers me that we don’t do anything great.” I could see it in the passion in his eyes that he could see the potential in his company but for some reason couldn’t make it there. The answer was so obvious to him once I passed along this book to him. I believed in this company, one of the partners DID in fact have the potential to be a “great” leader. However, he wasn’t “The Man” in charge. Funny enough, leadership styles is what was most discussed during my time at this company.

I watched patiently as “The Man” exuded with brilliance but also thrashed around in anger making rash judgment calls, burn bridges, make up facts and figures with each sales pitch, etc. Around the same time, I saw within The Man’s circle of friends, they were achieving some astronomically amazing feats in this world, changing history forever.

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My Fifty Shades of Grey at the Office

After reading one of my favorite new books Fifty Shades of Grey, I somehow manifested my fifty shades into my professional life. (Mind you, everything was non-sexual just purely done for correlation sake.) Like Anastasia, I was seduced into a professional relationship with a powerful man infamous in his industry for his “quirks.” Needless to say, when given the opportunity to work alongside this phenomenal businessman, I jumped at the opportunity. My mentor and advisers all tried to steer me away since his reputation is big in this area. So, I assumed there will be some growing pains as I learned from him.

As uncomfortable and sometimes painful as the learning experiences were, I somehow enjoyed the growing experience. I felt much like Anastasia through much of the book, even though I had 10+ years of professional experience it was my first time in this industry. So like the virgin bright-eyed bushy-tailed character I pranced to work each day. Each evening I would return and emotionally bruised but somehow found a way to enjoy nugget of knowledge gained that day.  I guess I was looking at the long-term benefits through rosy glasses.  Throughout the book, Anastasia discovers her own powers and starts to take control of the situation as I did. Just needed to stick it through to be able to learn what I needed to learn.

All this made me question what other people are putting themselves through for what they believe is the long- term benefit. Here in the bay area, seems like every twenty-something person has a tech startup. The stats are shocking when it coming to the success rate and long-term success rates of these entrepreneurs. I have watched countless people sacrifice today for a perceived benefits in the future. They coin it with cute terms like “bootstrapping a lean startup living on ramen noodle budgets.” They are dreamers hoping to become the next Zuckerberg and Dorsey by meeting Conway and McClure by coding all night and pitching until they are blue in the face. They are know the stark realities of the startup world but they the push on. They push on because each have a dream they he or she can change the world. They are willing to suffer now for the benefit of tomorrow. Each are hoping to change the way we all live in some way so their names can be revered like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Everyone has their fifty shades of grey learning experience. Seize the day. Dream big, dream hard or go home. To each entrepreneur and dream out there…”Never Give Up” ….the tattoo on my butt.

Peter-Chen-and-Bryan-Pelz

GMIC SV 2012 – Connecting Global Innovators

GMIC SV 2012 in San Jose, I was lucky to experience it with a VIP pass which allowed me to join their VIP dinner reception the evening before the conference began. At my table I met some interesting VIP movers and shakers from the local area as well as those visiting from all over Asia. It was an impressive group of executives in the mobile industry who optimized their opportunity to rub elbows with investors, vendors representatives, government representatives and many more. It was interesting to see everyone’s hyper focus on exchanging business cards, shaking hands and working the room. There was so much synergy in the room it was palpable.

Here’s a quick summary of their wrap-up

This year, our vision of “Connecting Global Innovators” was brought to life at GMIC SV as we brought together over 5,400 attendees from 58 countries for 2 days in Silicon Valley.  GMIC SV was clearly not just another tech event. Our hope was that through GMIC SV, you would be able to better understand and connect with the global mobile industry and ultimately, grow your business.   And, with the support of over 60 partners, 45 advisors and 20 sponsors, we successfully fulfilled that vision.

9 stages with 200 speakers
From the Main Stage to the Global Stage to stages dedicated to startups and apps, we built a platform for attendees to hear from all aspects of the mobile industry. Attendees were able to learn from mobile-industry leading companies and thought leaders.

My experience connecting Global Innovators

The variety of seminars and speakers were impressive but their attendees were what really set this conference apart from other conferences I have experienced. I noticed the high caliber of Asian tech and mobile startups represented as well as the myriad of established sponsoring companies that want to strengthen their presence and alliances with the bay area and American tech companies. This was not just an expo where attendees march like zombies but they are actively listening, asking questions, exchanging knowledge, longer conversations and obvious business deals being hashed out.

At the conference I spent much of my time in the VIP lounge meeting and chatting with the fellow VIPs. I always skipped the VIP dinners because I was able to connect with some interesting people including successful billionaire expats, the social media king of Vietnam and a prodigy startup tech founder. The fact that I was able to connect some of these men who and the potentials of their future collaborations make this a very unique and eye-opening experience.

 

 

My vision for women in tech

Recently sat down with a girlfriend who quit her job from Yahoo and decided to follow her passion to be a life coach. Today, she just finished going back to school and started her own business. So, I decided to make a vision board of what I wanted from my future. It’s been a few years since I stopped dreaming big…really big. This time I”m being less of an artist and more of a geek. Instead of creating a vision board table, I’m making this on Pinterest. I dare to reach for the stars, I dare to dream. I am at a place in my life where I truly feel nothing is impossible. Everything we go through is a step towards where we are meant to be. Don’t be afraid and envision what you want out of your life.

Already things are starting to shape up. First, I put up Oprah, I wanted to meet her live! So I pinned and image of her. In hunting for the image I decided to go onto her webpage. I poked around and voila! I found she had the “O You!” Conference at the LA Convention Center on October 20th when I was already planning on being in town. Coincidence or destiny?

I’ve been obsessively sharing Sheryl Sanberg’s Ted Video: Why we have too few women leaders, with anyone that could read or discuss it with me.  At work, I reviewing admissions at the tech accelerator but noticed a sad trend in the number of applicants that were female. Given that for the first time the graduating class in the Silicon Valley is graduating 50% women, I was hoping that there would be a higher representation in the applicants. So I stuck Sheryl Sanberg on my board. I will meet her one day, if I’m lucky, I get to work with her! I appreciate that she is building her name and reputation on female empowerment in the workforce and trying to start a cultural change to allow men to contribute more at home.

Luckily, my male boss says we have access to a number of high-caliber female mentors locally to boost women in the community. Third on my vision board is my brainchild – similar to Oprah’s Lifeclass, I envision a fireside chat with the female leaders and executives in the Silicon Valley mentoring women entrepreneurs internationally. Not only do we start a dialogue but an action plan about what we could do change this industry. The ripple has already started now how do we ride the wave? I’m envisioning that world now but I also hope to help shape it, there’s plenty of space on my vision board.

Lots of hope amongst tech community during the crisis in Spain

During my recent trip to Spain, I fell in love with the people, culture, music, food and sites. The experience was amazing! I loved that in each town we had Spaniards and locals to meet and hang out with. The locals were excited to share their culture and show me how they actually lived, ate, drank, communicated, conducted business. While in Spain, I traveled with Luis, a climbing buddy I had climbed with in Los Angeles for a few years. He’s moved back to Madrid and is a physics teacher in the school system facing wage cuts so he was very enlightening to chat politics with. They are facing a 25% unemployment rate nationally and the younger generation, the graduates are at 50% unemployment. The highest in the European Union.

I also met for tapas and cervezas with Alex Mason, a budding Canadian entrepreneur I met in San Francisco but moved to Madrid to pursue a business venture including joining a tech incubator.  Miguel Galera, CEO of Grupo IntegralCom and Director of the local chapter for Founder Institute, treated us to a wonderful local lunch of Spanish style. They all acknowledged even though they are in a crisis, there are still some cultural challenges they need to overcome to truly grow the tech community . One thing they both mentioned is the slower pace Spaniards adopt new technology. They have hope they can overcome that and be part of the growing tech community there,thus creating jobs and boosting the economy.

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Unconventional limbic brain leadership lessons

Leadership – Doing it the unconventional way by turning on the limbic brain…the thing that supports our functions such as emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory. Recently, I have been inspired by a few unconventional leaders and read some radical books that shifted my paradigm. Interestingly, I always already been at this wave length and am so excited to find others who have found that in the pursuit of their passions, they are shifting the course of this world whether it be through shifts in consciousness, to globally empowering entrepreneurs, to envisioning our future on a different planet. Here my suggested 3 steps to becoming an inspirational leader.

Step 1 – Be passionate about something. Discover what inspires you to become or be a part of a greater cause much bigger than yourself. Declare your intentions! Scream it at the top of your lungs.

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VIDEO: Busted Foundation’s 8th Annual Bowling for Boobies 2012 – Breast Cancer charity event

Check out Bowling for Boobies 2012 promo video produced by our Horror Starlet team. This will be their 4th year supporting us. Please help us spread the word. This year’s Bowling for Boobies, Busted Foundation signature annual event is a non-profit organization that financially supports local women who are currently being treated for breast cancer.

Thanks Allison Kyler, Ashlyn Yennie, Brooke Lewis, Carlee Baker, Cerina Vincent, Kristina Klebe & Natalie Victoria for your continued support!

Help us by making a donation today. You will be surprised at how far $25 or $50 could do. Thanks!!!

Greg Kidd, Jeffrey Paine, Peter Chen, Brian Wong, Andrew Chen (top) & Trip Adler

Men teaching the boys to fish – building a legacy vs. a tech startup

The proverb goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” After several weeks of intense fishing lessons from some of Silicon Valley VIPs, founders and investors, it leads me to ask are you a man or are you a boy? Are you creating a tech startup hoping for a fat exit? Or are you a man building a legacy? In speaking with some of these high level achievers, the one biggest difference I noticed is their thinking. They don’t just see the trees but they see the forest. While people are asking them fundamental question on the building blocks of a successful startup, these men are scheme to build a legacy that will be resilient to the test of time and go way beyond them in this lifetime. While some are plotting their next step, these men are miles ahead.

What is the larger picture? What are the true questions you should be asking? If I am lucky enough to have a mentoring session with anyone I respect, I often ask questions that try to get in their head, behind their thinking, understand their decision making, their motivations, their inspirations, their strategies for the higher level questions, etc. Even if your startup isn’t going well and you will need to pivot later down the line or quit all together, the higher level advice is what will last you forever.  Realizing that these men probably already made enough money already, so what motivates them to continue? They are inspired to build a true legacy business. Pitch them what you have has what it takes, know your shit and back it up. They can tell a winner vs a loser from a mile away.

Be inspired by something true. Be motivated to make a change in the world. Live with intention. Build something you are truly passionate about. The pieces will fall into place if you keep working your ass off to create your own luck. Learn how to fish.

IMG_2638

Founders Showcase 2012 – International tech startup pitch competition

The Founder Showcase is a quarterly startup pitch and networking event that gathers over 300 top technology CEOs, investors, and seed-stage companies in Silicon Valley to hear talks from leading CEOs, and help launch a promising startup to greatness. The 11th Founder Showcase was Wednesday, July 25th at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus. Guests were treated to an entertaining Pitch Competition featuring 8 of the best seed-stage companies graduating from Founder Institutes globally; as well as talks by Kevin Rose (Founder of Digg, Venture Partner at Google Ventures), Aaron Levie (Co-Founder & CEO of Box), and Hiten Shah (CEO of KISSmetrics). Appetizers and drinks will also be served in a networking hall full of other hot startups demoing at the Demo Table Competition.

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Mashable’s 3rd Annual Social Medial Day – San Francisco

It was a full house at The Box SF for Mashable‘s third-annual Social Media Day celebration in San Francisco on Saturday, June 30, 2012. The sold-out event featured networking, dancing, gadgets and, most importantly, commemorating the importance of social media in the world today.

I noticed three things. First thing I noticed, cool party. Second thing I noticed, lots of girls…at a tech party. Why? It’s just another reason to gather, drink, eat & tweet.

Mashable does know how to throw and nice Saturday happy hour complete with 2 open bars, house music, bad ass female DJ’s dreadlocks DJ duo A Plus D — a.k.a. Adrian and Mysterious D, photobooth, large spread of hors d’oeurves…and plenty of female attendees.

My male buddies needed to know what brought the women? These tech networking events are usually a sausage fest. Is it because it’s social media and marketing? No. After a quick survey the mystery was solved…  plenty of girls were there hoping to catch a glimpse of Mashable’s attractive founder, Pete Cashmore.

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Charity’s Best Practices – Busted Foundation – Mailchimp, Google Hangout, Google Drive, Social Media

For many years, Busted Foundation was a one-woman-show with one main event. So Stephanie LaHart, the founder of Busted Foundation, decided to form a Board of Directors composed of her most loyal volunteers. I am on the Board of Director for Busted Foundation where I am responsible for the marketing strategy, including all their social media and community outreach. The Board decided to streamline all our tech practices.

We started a monthly newsletter to update our supports and volunteers on any news. We selected Mailchimp because of their user-friendly interface, their integration with our main online fundraiser, Stay Classy, and design templates. The first issue was a challenge since we had 3 separate mailing lists from our 3 cities, which needed to be consolidated. Stephanie and I had multiple skype chats and webinars to get this up and running. We just did it wrong to start…then decided to follow instruction. Hmm, don’t know why we thought that was a good idea. Oh well, we live and learn…. so now we know what not to do.

Since several of some board members are not in Los Angeles, Skype video conference was the way to go. Just recently, we decided to give Google Hangouts a chance because they have a free multi-party video conferencing, which on Skype each person would need to upgrade to premium. Coincidentally, I was already scheduled to go attend a special non-profit community outreach training at the Google-San Francisco office.

To get setup Hangout you will need to upload their software,

  1. Add your group members to your Google+ circle,
  2. Create the meeting,
  3. Invite your friends to attend the hangout. Join.

Hangout has similar perks of Skype, for me the most important is the screen sharing. They have some goofy ‘effects’ which are hilarious time killers. The head/motion detection technology is very innovative. Definitely fun for long distance dating but not for professional meetings. I enjoyed having a 1/3 bar with text intro, makes me feel this a newscaster since it displays my name and title which we found useful. Being able to see our shared Google Docs (now Google Drive) in the same window, makes it very efficient. Drive is like Google Docs meets Dropbox. This is very useful for our organization since we share a variety of documents and use a variety of devices to access our data.

I decided to set-up Busted Foundation with its own Twitter handle @BustedFd because we were using @Bowling4Boobies, which was our main event, but is now only one of our events. George Ludwig of 6Builder allowed me to be one of his beta testers for this product. 6Builder aggregates Twitter articles and sources into a consolidated list based on keywords; where the user just needs spend a few minutes to curate the articles. The system automatically posts the articles with links at random times after your approve your selections. The system also determines who to follow and unfollow.  The end result is less time spent on researching and curating content for our social media sources, increased followers with more meaningful interactions. In the 3 months I have been using this, there’s been a 10x increase in our followers on @BustedFd which also lead to increased Facebook followers. 6Builder is still in bootstrap development mode but I feel this definitely has big potential.

 

Startup Mansions – Thinking outside the box in San Francisco’s hot apartment rental market

Ever heard of co-working? Well, this takes co-habitating a new meaning. With San Francisco’s tight housing marketing, residents are starting to think outside of the box and revolutionize an old idea of co-habitating. The demand for 1-2-3 bedroom apartments are extremely competitive currently, but demand for 10 bedroom mansions, not in this economy. There are a handful of mansions housing tech startups around the city and bay area.

Here’s a renovated Victorian mansion across from Alamo Square houses 10 startups under one roof. I was lucky enough to get a tour from one of the occupants. They have a Great Room furnished with kitchy retro decor where all the walls is a giant chalkboard motivation board. Their living room was designed to house a bullpin of computer stations the call the “War Room.” The use of dry-erase paint on the walls make it easy for the ad-hoc meetings that occur many times a day. The house also has a music room, ping pong, billard table, community kitchen, bunk beds to pile in the bootstrappers, large deck facing Alamo Square. Some bedrooms have private baths, whereas some are shared.

Sure its the “Real World” tech style, but it goes beyond convenience. The benefits of these arrangements is intangible yet significant.  The increased productivity gained, forged friendships, partnerships formed, synergy of share resources, network and peer feedback makes this simply priceless. These occupants are selected by the company that holds the lease, thus holds the risk, but this gives the most flexibility in terms of lease terms, especially for the international entrepreneur where it’s more difficult to get a lease or sub-lease. There are several mansions like this already and the company that has the lease to this mansion is planning to expand operations. Check www.airbnb.com for some options.

Great Wall Club – Google I/O International Night

Great Wall Club U.S presents “Google IO International Reception“.This event will provide a great opportunity for attendees to meet with developers and entrepreneurs from around the world. At this event, expect hot topic discussion and networking opportunities with people in the industry.

Agenda

4:30 – 4:45 Presentation David W. Healy, Partner of Fenwick
4:45 – 5:00 Presentation “Mobile Goes Global” Michael Wong
5:00 – 5:20 Presentation “Devloper Opportunities at GMIC SV” Steve Austin
5:20 – 5:25 Q&A
5:25 – 5:35 Raffle- where I won the grand prize worth $1000 for VIP tickets to the upcoming GMIC SV 2012 - The Global Mobile Internet Conference in October.
5:35 – 6:00 Networking was interesting because their were many reps from China.

G-Startup is a leading startup competition for mobile Internet growth stage and early stage companies. Deadline July 31. For details click here. Here’s the GWC Blog.

GMIC SV 2012

For the first time, Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) will be held in Silicon Valley this year in October. The Global Mobile Internet Conference is an annual mobile industry event which has become Asia’s largest mobile Internet conference and is now coming to Silicon Valley. An expected 5,000 entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and developers will gather this October at GMIC SV to learn from and network with key players from the largest and hottest mobile markets across the world.

Focusing on connecting the mobile Internet ecosystems around the globe, GMIC provides a platform to share best practices to succeed in the world’s hottest mobile markets. Industry leaders are learning that the road to success in markets unfamiliar to their home country is complicated by language, culture, government, and infrastructure differences. GMIC SV puts the experts on stage to communicate key factors and share their own stories for getting mobile companies to succeed in these countries.

Beyond keynote speeches, panels, and fireside chats, GMIC SV organizes appSpace—the developer track and competition—and G-Startup, the startup competition for early stage and growth companies. And, of course, there will be plenty of social events to ensure GMIC SV attendees can relax, see more of Silicon Valley, and connect with potential partners, clients, and friends.

Google is lending a helping hand to non-profits

Google San Francisco Office

Google rolled out a new community outreach program for non-profit organization which I was honored to be invited to attend because I’m on the board of directors for a breast cancer charity, Busted Foundation.  This was especially appreciated by the community because the limited resources challenging many non-profit organizations.

Google apps offer a wide variety of products to make work and life much more efficient. They update so often that it was nice to get a bit of handholding. First we were divided up and participated in a session where we learned about the different Google apps, marketing, advertising opportunities, Google grants, etc. Afterwards, we were assigned to have a private session with a Google developer.

I bombarded by my developer with plenty of questions about Google Hangout, Events & Drive. My developer was very proficient with Google products but was a different development team so wasn’t an expert. He was very friendly, responsive and helped me convert my board meetings to Google Hangout.

This is excellent that Google is doing more community outreach like this to empower users to use and optimize Google products. It increases brand loyalty and improves community reputation. Good job and thanks for the nice lunch.

Busted Foundation – Event, Auction & Fundraiser this weekend!

Spring Fundraiser

Sunday is the last day of the fundraiser. We are only 61% to our goal. Help us today! $50 goes a long way, especially with the matching opportunity offered by Will & Christine Mason.

BUSTED FOUNDATION offers financial assistance and educational resources to local women that are currently being treated for breast cancer.

“Heart” Concert with Meet & Greet w/ Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson!

Charity auction ends this sunday- Bid now on 2 tickets to see this iconic band live in concert + meet them backstage. You + a guest will be able to come back stage & take your photo w/ Ann and Nancy Wilson and have one item signed.

Bust in the Vault

This Sunday, July 1, you are invited join us for “Bust in the Vault.” The event will include giveaways, fitness demonstrations, food trucks, vendors, entertainment and a surprise 2 person team WOD (workout of the day). Catch our piece on KIIS-FM.
Proceeds supports BustedFoundation

Weekly & Monthly Networking opportunities

There are many websites to go to for event info but Eventbrite.com and meetup.com are my favorite resources for tech events around town.

Weekly

The Hub – Co-working space holds “90 seconds and a cookie” Thursdays @ 2pm – Milk, Cookies, and Mingling! A break for treats and conversation during the slump of the day. Members only or pay the daily fee to pitch

Nextspace – Co-working space holds Friday Happy Hours @ 4pm members or pay the daily fee to join

Hackers & Founders – Meetup group that holds weekly Wednesday lunches, locations vary between San Fran and the Silicon Valley.

Various Meetup happy hours. Refer to Meetup.com for the various groups.

Jumpstart – $15 JumpStartDays is a mentoring program for seed stage pre-funded, pre-revenue technology startups. Each month 12 entrepreneurs present to a panel of Keiretsu Forum angel investor members and seed stage VCs. The purpose of the program is to provide mentoring and resources to entrepreneurs to ‘jump start’ their company. The presenters benefit from the involvement of Keiretsu Forum’s members whose networks, time, resources, and experience are as valuable as their capital.

RockIT trivia – Tech recruiters leading a fun geek event with free beer & snacks.

Monthly

Life 3.0 - is the largest monthly startup demo show in San Francisco. We gather the most disruptive startup founders in the same room with investors, early adopters , and media. At Life 3.0, Funders and Founders mix to exchange ideas, do business, and get inspired.

Funders & Founders meetup - Different from Life 3.0. Its more of a lecture/Q&A with multiple industry leader speakers. Wine & refreshment usually served. $20

Networking After Work - Network After Work-San Francisco is a business and social networking event company. The events are created for professionals who want to expand their network, create new business opportunities, and mingle with other professionals. The events range in size from 200-600 professionals and take place in San Francisco’s best bars, nightclubs, and hotels.

Startup Waffles - started by the StartupDigest co-founders Chris & Brendan to bring together founders and hackers for tasty waffles.

Geek Girl Dinners -  the result of one geek in the UK, tired of being the only girl & having to constantly prove herself, who decided to go find more of her kind and invite them to dinner. This is the Bay Area Chapter. Free.

First Friday Happy Hours

Startup HQ – They provide beer & snacks bonus is the taco truck – BYOWallet

Women2.0 – Founder Friday – just down the street from the Startup HQ Happy Hour - BYOWallet

NextSpace – First friday work at NextSpace for free and stay for happy hour.

Top meetups for tech startup founders new to the bay area

There’s a ton of meetups in the Bay Area that would fit almost everyone. You just need to be clear on your networking goals. Whether personal or professional, meetup.com provides a great venue to meet like minded people in your community. In the Bay Area, tech has been and is the hot topic for many meetups. There’s a huge variation in interest groups and how they conduct their meetings and events. Most groups are free to join, many are free meetings, etiquette is to pay for your own drinks unless mentioned in the details, a few are pay as you attend special meetings & events, etc.

Here are some of my picks for tech startup founders, especially those new to the Bay Area and want to expand their professional network.

  • Funders & Founders – Monthly Life 3.0 events + other lectures, discussions,
  • Hackers & Founders  - weekly meetings in various locations of informational session, hackathons, happy hours, networking opportunities and weekly networking lunches with others in the tech community. Prepay 1 week in advance and sign up for the emails to get invited weekly as the locations do change. For more info:
  • Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs and Startups – one of the largest meetups in the Bay Area. They hold a variety of events including information sessions, demo days, bootcamps, co-founder networking and the happy hour is definitely highly recommended.
  • SF Jump Start Days – $15 The JumpStartDays program provides feedback, mentoring, and resources from angel investors to seed stage pre-funded, pre-revenue technology startups. http://www.meetup.com/jumpstartdays/
  • The Silicon Valley iOS Developer’s Meetup 
  • SF Statup Idea-to-IPO
  • Just for the ladies – Women2.0, Girls in Tech, Geek Girls Dinners, and plenty more.

Funders & Founders

VIDEO: Let’s Lunch – Expand your professional network

A great free way of expanding your professional network, meeting new people or just making new friends are sites like www.LetsLunch.com. One could be randomly paired for a one on one lunch, one could join interest group lunches, be introduced to someone or be invited to lunch.  The members has a wide variety of people from all walks of life but here in the Bay Area there is an abundance of techies and startup founders. There’s a directory so explore and add to your wishlist based upon your networking goals. All you need to do is schedule the lunch, show up and pay for your own lunch.

It was extremely important for a company like Let’s Lunch to have a community manager because even though it is a website that matches individuals. Let’s Lunch had a limited budget and needed to increase their presence in the community and increase member excitement about getting out of their routine and discovering new people. Word of mouth & press coverage was how Let’s Lunch has expanded to over 10,000 members in multiple cities and countries.

Here’s a video of group lunch I helped lead regarding online marketing with special guest Murray Newlands, Influencepeople.com, Thanks for the video.

Life 3.0 – Love, Sex & Tech

Life 3.0 is the largest monthly startup demo show in San Francisco. We gather the most disruptive startup founders in the same room with investors, early adopters , and media. At Life 3.0, Funders and Founders mix to exchange ideas, do business, and get inspired.


*See me in the video

Life 3.0 – Love, Sex & Tech

April’s theme was Love, Sex & Tech. I was interviewed by Murray Newlands, Influencepeople.com. I was assisting Letslunch.com at their booth. Life 3.0 attendees voted for their favorite startups with beans. We placed 4th, not enough to place top 3 to do the pitch to the panel…which is good because Letslunch.com had nothing to do with love or sex but is a tech company. 45 different startups came to complete for the title of the Best Startup. The entire audience of 500 people voted.

The 3 companies that placed were innovative sexy tech ideas, my favorite being Vibease, a hardware+software teledildonic product intended for remote intimacy. A smart-phone app that powers a distant vibrator. The founder, Dema Tio, created a fantasy world where video, music and vibrations are aimed to help women achieve orgasm. Tio was in Singapore at the time of the event and watched the entire event via ustream feed. I would receive Tio’s excited SMS messages if the feed were ever interrupted. Tio had a representative at the demo booth but wanted to do the pitch himself. Tio was able to pitch to the panel via skype video. Awww, the power of technology bringing the world together. A good example of the future of our engagement.

And the winners are…Cheekd.com – a New York Startup that enables you to let good-looking strangers know that you are interested. Founded by Lori Cheek, a startupper, passionate as a billion dollars, Cheek mails her cards all over the U.S. inspiring everyone who believes in love at first sight to act on their dreams when they sight a dreamy stranger. In the second place came Closer ToGetHer, an app that controls iPhone-powered vibrators for distance couples. the founder, Justin Wilcox, has ambitions to supply the military with his app and partner with sex toy makers to help all long-distance couples enjoy each other and preserve fidelity. Vibease come in third place.

800 Birds – Seed Funding Tips, Traps & Jumps

It’s highly recommended that tech startup founders join 800 Birds, especially if one has interest in gaming. 800 Birds, previously known as ERT (Entrepreneurs RoundTable), an organically grown and over 1000 members strong startup/geek community.  Shirley Lin is the organizer of 800 Birds. She is very friendly, knowledgeable and a super networker in the SF startup community connecting one to a very valuable network. 800 Birds meetings are filled geeks, founders, industry leaders, investors, angels and many more. In the first meeting alone, I met one of each listed.

Here’s the event details: We have a VC and serial entrepreneur,  a seasoned corporate VC, a young startup founder and a legal expert on board to look into every aspect involved in the practice of seeking your seed round.  Your first seed round is the hardest to push through.  Learn the tips, traps and the jumps that can help you avoid making lot of mistakes.

Our speakers on the deck:
:: Jim Li,  one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in the Valley, a Venture Partner at Emergence Capital.  Geek at his heart, entrepreneurship in his blood, an MIT grad, Jim founded Halloo Communications, Flying Packets Communications, Whistle Communications, Tribe Computer Works, and Mytek with serial successful exits.
:: Thorsten Claus, Investment Managergr at T-Ventures of Amerca.  Thorsten has deep expertise in corporate investment, founded FundStorm, worked at Deutch Telecom.  Also a great friend to 800 Birds founder community.

On the deck, we also have:
::Justin Hovey, Partner at Pillsbury Law Firm, and long time staunch supporter for our startup community, can give you all the legal tips and traps when you are out seeking your first round with your co-founders or lack of.
:: Dan Dascalescu, co-founder/CIO, BlueSeed, a project backed by Peter Thiel to build the largest coworking space and startup incubator on a ship anchored 30 minutes from the coast of Silicon Valley. Located in international waters, it allows entrepreneurs from around the world to start/scale their ventures without the need for US work visa, while traveling to the mainland using easier to obtain business/tourist visas.  Dan is an ex-Yahoo! s/w engineer and co-author and translate a number of  IT books.

President Obama’s “Start-Up America Initiative” – $1 Billion in Early Stage Small Business Investment Company (“SBIC”) Initiative

Since the economic downturn, I am happy to see President’s Obama’s initiatives are really going towards improving the economy, creating innovation and providing jobs.  Here’s some info from the Small Business Association about the  “Start-Up America Initiative.”

Repost:

As part of President Obama’s “Start-Up America Initiative” SBA is implementing the Early Stage SBIC Initiative that intends to commit up to $1 billion in SBA  guaranteed leverage over a five year period to selected  early stage venture funds using its current Debenture program authorization. This initiative is intended to promote American innovation and job creation by encouraging private sector investment in job-creating early stage small businesses.

Early Stage SBIC final regulations and the accompanying Call Notice may be found in the Early Stage SBIC docket folder at www.regulations.gov or for more info click here

How will the Early Stage Call Process work and what is the timing?

Answer: The Early Stage SBIC Call Notice describes the process and timing in detail. In  general the process will include: A) Call Period; B) Initial Review; C) SBIC Fundraises and  Finalizes Documents; and D) Licensing.  In order to expedite applicants that have already raised sufficient capital, SBA has  established two “tracks” for the Early Stage SBIC Licensing Process as follows:

Track 1 – Applicants with Capital: This includes all applicants that have signed commitments for at least $15 million in Regulatory Capital and the remaining capital needed to achieve the minimum $20 million in Regulatory Capital for Early Stage SBICs “soft-circled”. Track 1 applicants that receive a Green Light will need binding unconditional commitments of at least $20 million in Regulatory Capital when they file their Licensing Application on or before July 30, 2012.

Track 2 – All Other Applicants.

For complete info click here.

Workin’ It – Alumni Networking Tips

Even with all the technology social media today, nothing beats the old-fashioned one-on-one personal meeting. There’s a certain connection that is made and a rapport that’s developed very quickly upon a live in-person meeting. I recently moved to the

Bay Area from Los Angeles.  One f the first places I looked to expand my professional network is USC. Luckily, the Trojan family is very strong and there’s plenty of opportunities even up here. Here are some tips I found useful when I am networking with alumni:

Tip #1 – Your university alumni network is a great resource. With everyone being online now, its easy to track down your college buddies via the university’s alumni webpage, LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Google+, etc. Attending an alumni event is always a good way of expanding your professional network and maybe connect with old friends.

Tip #2 – Get noticed, if you were asked to speak or have an opportunity to speak, don’t be shy. Grab the microphone and be ready with a snazzy intro. First impressions are everything. In the photos, I’m wearing a hot pink scarf when caught a lot of people’s eye, so the photographer took plenty of photos, especially during my speech.  So when the alumni followed up with me via email, the scarf was mentioned multiple times.

Tip #3 – When speaking in front of a crowd, I tend to scan the room to see the audience. If I’m ever nervous I just make eye contact from time to time with a friendly face. It’s natural, just take a breath and wing it!

Tip #4 – Work the crowd, shake as many hands as possible. However, remember, whenever given an opportunity, always speak to someone one-on-one for a more meaningful conversation. It’s amazing what might come out of  a 2 minute conversation even at an expo.

Tip #5 – Always bring some cards with you. After you exchange cards and they walked away, flip over the card and write how and where you met this other person so you could follow-up later. Maybe a hint on your conversation to jog your memory.

Tip #6 – If you are speaking to someone you really want to follow-up with but you forgot your cards, ask for their phone number or email and send them a quick text or email immediately.

Tip #7 – As soon as possible, follow-up with any conversations you might have had with someone. Do this while you are still fresh in their minds. Ask them for out for coffee or a meeting if possible.

Tip #8 – I’m not sure on the etiquette of this, but some people follow-up but adding this new person as a contact on Linkedin and other social media sites. Personally, I do not do this unless I have had extensive conversations with this person so my actually know my network of contacts. Others dislike being requested to add after just a quick first meeting.

Tip #9 – Networking for me is about meeting new people with the goal of meeting someone interesting. Through the conversation I learn about them and what they are doing currently and I often listen to see if that person is in need of anything. If they are and I could assist, I often volunteer to do something nice such as connect them with someone else that could help. Connections and synergy is what it’s about.

Tip #10 – Be genuine. People could tell right away if you aren’t, so just be yourself.

Remember…follow-up, follow-up, follow-up is key to your success. Good Luck!

Launch Festival 2012

The LAUNCH Festival  – the best place to launch your company and learn about building great startups — will had an unprecedented three stages:

  • Main stage: 40 companies launch (1.0 track) or launch new products (2.0 track) and compete for titles including Best Design, Best
    Technology and Best Overall
  • Office Hours stage: ask great investors/entrepreneurs your burning questions
  • Skills stage: learn how to improve your UI/UX, raise an angel round, succeed in the App Store & more

Angels, accelerators and VCs invested $1.4M in companies from LAUNCH 2012.

The Grand Jury of seasoned investors and top journalists will observe all the main-stage action and choose our winners, while our judges will sit on stage and give instant feedback on every demo.

Plus hundreds of already launched startups in the Demo Pit — those that most impress the Grand Jury will get to present on stage. This year we had a friend, Dema Tio, founder of Vibease, visiting from Singapore presenting at the demo pit.  Vibease is an innovative hardware+software teledildonic product intended for remote intimacy via smartphone. I have seen the prototype and quite intrigued, I’m quite excited about being a beta-tester. The booth attracted more attention and received quite a few double takes because they used an oversized purple dildo and an attractive blonde booth babe.

My favorite session was the interview with Israel President, Shimon Peres. Peres was in California promoting Israel’s entrepreneurial & startup community. It was hilarious to see the Peres’ staff made a hilarious rap music video featuring Peres, which totally took the audience off guard and produced noticeable laughter from the audience. When the video was shown, Peres didn’t seem thrilled or embarrassed of it. Just goes to show that he has a great sense of humor.

My personal favorite demo:
Space Monkey

Winners:

The LAUNCH Festival Grand Jury chose 12 winners in all on March 8 — six in the 1.0 competition, five in the 2.0 competition, and one overall winner from the DEMO PitHere they are by category.

For a complete list of official competitors, check out our spreadsheet.

1.0  WINNERS
These are brand-new companies that received no press or blog coverage prior to launching at the LAUNCH Festival.  

Best Overall
Space Monkey

Best Design
Minbox

Best Technology
Captricity

Best Business Model
Appstack

Best Presentation
That’s Suspicious Behavior

Diamond in the Rough
Copper

2.0 WINNERS
These are existing companies that launched a new product, a new version of their product or pivoted.

Best Overall
Alltuition

Best Design
Wanderfly

Best Technology
YouEye

Best Business Model
Docstoc

Best Presentation
Vocre

DEMO PIT 
The DEMO Pit — which had 200 companies this year, including the 42 official competitors — was open to all startups that were less than 18 months old. Some startups launched in the DEMO Pit while others promoted their existing product.

Best Overall
Scoot Networks

 

 

Startup Incubator & awesome neighborhood cafe in the Mission

780 Cafe – I/O Ventures
780 Valencia St
(between 19th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission
(415) 552-2040

Great little spot in the mission where I have visited a few of my startup founder friends from time to time. Upstairs is the incubator portion where the selected tech founders in the I/O Ventures incubator group works. Downstairs/Street level is the cafe where anyone could come, sit, enjoy the cafe while hashing out their plan on becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. The decor is hip, lofty, modern, urban. The noise level makes it hard-to-focus but other than that it has great ambiance for a meeting over coffee or lunch. This spot is highly recommended for the visiting entrepreneur for sure.

Tip #1 – The cucumber basil lemonade is so refreshing I ordered 3.
Tip #2 – Monthly on certain Sundays there is a local street fair on Valencia right outside of the cafe.
Tip #3 – Not too far from the BART.

Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

“Located in the heart of the Mission District, 780 Café is quickly becoming the brightest new cyber incubator café on Valencia Street. The spacious, modern architecture is ideal for a Blue Bottle Coffee in the morning, business meeting in the afternoon, or charismatic event for the evening. In our lounge, you will be amongst i/o Venture start-up companies and be able to mingle with some of the tech industries finest. Formerly “The Summit”, 780 Café opened in late February of 2012 by owner Jose Ramos and his family. Moving into a new direction with optimism and New York City bred taste, Ramos plans to make this site flourish with social activities and memories for all of San Francisco. Click and discover more about this multifaceted cyber incubator locale.” http://www.780cafe.com/

Co-working – NextSpace & Sandbox Suites

NextSpace-SF

  • Location:
    •  In the heart of downtown SOMA financial district. Conveniently located near the BART & public transportation. This space has 2 levels on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
  • Ambiance:
    • Well decorated capturing the tech start-up feel with their open space plan, brick walls, primary colored walls mixed with neutrals, bright furniture & cool art
    • Hotdesking – shared desks and tables so you could work just about anywhere.
    • Comfy couches to lounge or work
    • Windows bringing in natural light to help energize members
    • Not too crowded and not too quite. Perfect place to work if you like hearing others around you. Not the best if you want a quite space to yourself. Small offices would be ok for that.
  • Great for networking:
    • Other founders and startups work there and the vibe is good, you could chat with other without feeling like you are in a library.
    • On Fridays at 4:45 pm they start their Member’s Happy Hour which are sometimes sponsored by local companies.
      • I was there when Tropo sponsored the beers and brought in reps to chat it up with members.
    • Conference rooms hold events that are free for members to attend.
      • I was there to attend a Brown Bag Lunch: Attract More Clients Now! by Coach from Clarity Unlimited
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day when you come for a tour
    • They have cubbies to stash your stuff
    • Office Manager was very nice and provided a Mac power cable when I forgot to pack mine.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.
    • Members could use any other their other locations as well as the
    • They are members of a collaborative union…so members could use other Coworking spaces they are affiliated with.

 

Sandbox Suites:

I checked out 3 of their 4 locations. 

Union Square @ 567 Sutter

  • Location:Union Sqare
    • They had limited availability and had some opening up.
    • Conveniently located near everything.
  • Ambiance:
    • First thing that struck me was how quiet it was, especially being in Union Square. Great for those who want to quiet space to think and work.
    • Open space plan using bright colors, some accents and art.
    • Private offices have windows and general area has skylights bringing in lots of natural light.
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general hotdesking are in the open but the members are very quiet and network a bit less than other Coworking establishments.
  • Networking:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • They do hold Member Tea and events in the open “Atrium” there so there are chances to network.
  • Tips:
    • As a member, you could use and attend events at any of their 4 locations
    • Near a tons budget eateries, restaurants & bars.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget…when they become available.

  SOMA/SOUTH PARK @ 404 Bryant St

  • Location:
    • SOMA/South Beach/South Park near a many other Tech companies…where all the action is.
    • Near freeways and public parking. Bit of a walk from nearest Muni lines-Less convenient to public transportation
    • In the Basement – some windows provide light into the space, private offices which have glass walls bringing in the natural light to the general area.
  • Ambiance:
    • Open space plan using Modern & Minimal Mondrian-inspired decor-stark whites with bright primary colors
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general desks are in the open, generally lit using florescent lighting. Has a library feel to it.
    • Great productive space, members are quiet and network a bit less than other Coworking establishments
  • Great for networking:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • Open “Atrium” was used as an event space – members attend free.
    • I was there for a Funders & Founders Meetup event – “Crowdfunding Your Startup – The Future of Startup Funding” where they brought in relevant speakers and 75+ people in the startup/tech industry attended.
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • Office Manager Laura was very friendly and helpful.
    • Not near very many budget eateries like in downtown, however, it is near nice restaurants & bars.
    • South Park is a great place to take a break or eat at a nice restaurant.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.
    • My favorite of the 3 Sandbox suites visited.

SOMA @ 123 10th Street

  • Location:
    • SOMA convenient to the BART & Muni lines, near Civic Center.
  • Ambiance:
    • Kitchy – College decor using off-white walls and brightly colored Ikea furniture & accessories.
    • Loft upstairs allows the space to have a more open feel.
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general desks downstairs, generally lit using florescent lighting.
    • Private desks and conference rooms upstairs – lack of natural lighting is a bit oppressive.
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day when you come for a tour
    • They have cubies to stash your stuff
    • As a member, you could use and attend events at any of their 4 locations
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.

Nonprofit donations for Women's Causes Grew Exponentially

Girls in Tech – it’s time for a REAL change. Invest in women, here’s why.

The women’s revolution has definitely been heating up in the past few years. Here is the staggering proof. Look at the chart! The giant spike in donations to female related causes is because of many female leaders and activists that are not afraid to ROAR!!! Female business leaders, entertainers, spiritual leaders and women everywhere are all joining forces to amplify the volume of our voices. Organizations like Women Moving Millions, Code Pink, NOW, TEDxWomen and many more empowering all of us to seize the day.

Today unlike any other time in my lifetime, the feminist movement is raging. I am so excited to be in San Francisco for all of this. In this city, people are open minded and liberal, in the same wave length as I. I feel very at home here. However, the tech industry which is dominant in the Bay Area, is totally a BOY’S world! Even though we represent 51% of the populations, at every event I find myself being one of the few women in the room.

There are many organizations devoted to empowering women in the tech industry. Girls in Tech, Geek Girl Dinners, Women2.0, Girls Who Codes, etc. are some of the organizations paving the way in this movement. They gather together, mentor and nurture each other. But where are they when it comes to taking a stand? Making a pitch? Taking a seat at the table?

Women, we need to rise up. It’s time. The time is now. Stand up. Scream. Shout. Blaze a path that few other women have gone. Give back, mentor, help the next generation of girls so they could rise above societal oppression….even in America in 2013. Make it count, we only have one life!

Did you know?

The high-tech companies that women build are more capital- efficient than the norm. [2011]*

Despite often being capital-constrained, women-owned businesses are more likely to survive the transition from raw start-up to established company than the average company. [2011]

Organizations that are the most inclusive of women in top management achieve 35 percent higher returns on equity and 34 percent better total return to shareholders versus their peers.

Read more

Continue reading “Girls in Tech – it’s time for a REAL change. Invest in women, here’s why.” »

selection

Great World at BeMyApp Game Hackathon San Francisco #bmagamessf

The BeMyApp WorldCup hackathon is dedicated to innovative mobile games and will take place in Berlin, San Francisco and Paris simultaneously!

- Roughly 400 people came to the opening night in San Francisco, Berlin, and Paris
- Over 80 game ideas were pitched
- More than 30 projects were voted in and built over the course of the weekend in all three cities
- 3 finalists were nominated by a a panel of judges in each city

I pitched an social good video game idea called “Citizenville” to validate if it was worth pursuing. Citizenville is a community building simulated game developed to generate donations for REAL nonprofits. I had been toying around with the idea for a while now and finally had the courage to pitch it. I was inspired by a speech by Peter Thiel about true innovation or lack there of in the few decades. I fully agree with him because it seems like only a small percentage of these ideas are recycled and they aren’t inventing something new and revolutionary. They are making something new of something old. I want to change that but there’s a bigger picture…stay tuned.

There were 26 ideas pitched, I was selected. We then formed teams, which was chaotic but at least the event organizers had coded badges which helped. We teamed up with Lane Allen-deisgner, Tim Sexton-story teller, Will Mason-developer and Gael Buchy-developer to become Team “Great World.” We changed our name b/c I only quick through it together when I registered for the event and signed up for the pitch on a spur of the moment. We assumed Zygna bought it. (more in next blog)

We noticed that even though we had a lot of good feedback about the idea itself, it wasn’t the most sexy latest tech project that attracts engineers. Something to think about when developing the product in the long run. My strategy was “Dream Big, build small.” So that’s what we did. We attacked just the game element of my full idea. Given the skills and team composition, we had to work with everyone’s strength, divide and conquer….for 48 hours!

The event started Friday evening and final pitches were at 7pm on Sunday. Six teams pitched to three judges. We appreciated the feedback and the ability to fully crank out an idea or a MVP in 2 days. Developers took on the challenge from sponsors’ new tech products. Interesting to see the innovation that comes out of that! 3 out of 7 projects in HTML5. Who said HTML5 isn’t for gaming?

In addition to the game itself, we built a nice RESTful API back end which was used to manage users, game state, notifications, and of course payments. Payments were support by Stripe, which was simple and easy to use, Twilio handled SMS, which was easy as usual, and Amazon did transactional email and platform with EC2, SES, and Route 53.

We won the sponsors prize from the awesome folks from Ludei  – $500 in gift cards for the top game developed using the Ludei APIs. Face’MPoker - bringing video to mobile poker! Voting is open only until tomorrow morning PST and it’d be great to get your help http://worldcup.bemyapp.com/ A shout out to all great teams who took part of the hackathon, you guys all kicked ass - Think Like a Doctor, BayWheels, DrawBeyond, FlyFar, Dino2, Scuba Bowl and Great World. We hope that all of you will continue working on your game projects.

The best part about the event was the feedback that was received. I were given a message that my idea is worth pursing but on a much larger scale and now is the right time and there are interested stakeholders out there since my idea has the potential for far reaching global good. “Dream big and buckle up,” is all my mentor had to say.

 

safe activist win

Team Safe Activist at DeveloperWeek Hackathon – Conference & Festival 2013 San Francisco

The DeveloperWeek Conference & Festival 2013, February 1-7, 2013, combines a 3-day hackathon (Feb. 1-3), 3-day educational conference (Feb. 4-6), technology-specific app development contests, developer tech exhibitors, 1-day app pitch day (Feb. 7), with keynote talks from the top engineers across app development, data science, and mobile deployment.

The DeveloperWeek API+Mashups Hackathon is a 43-hour app-building contest in downtown San Francisco from Friday February 1st until Sunday February 3rd – and is also the official kick-off of DeveloperWeek 2013! The purpose of the hackathon is to give developers, designers, and entrepreneurs the chance to pitch app ideas – form teams – build a prototype of their app – and present to the hackathon judges for a chance to be one of the top 5 hackathon winners who get “incubated” during DeveloperWeek.

There were 27 projects. You can build any app you want to – however you get ‘extra points’ from the judges if your app integrates an external API. That can be anything from google maps or twitter OAuth to one of the sponsor’s API’s!

I’m proud of Will Mason, Senior Software Engineer at Twilio and Jimmy Duong, Art Director/Graphic Designer for their first hackathon. They had a great time learning as they joined up with Marjorie Green, Jamie Nadle and Gabriel Adauto to become Team Safe Activist. During the hackathon, they developed a mobile donation app that vets nonprofit organizations. Each were assigned each a specialty to focus on and all went at it. Jamie and Marjorie are both from Cisco and received the PayPal scholarship that included $500 to pursue their idea, which they plan to do. I didn’t join the hackathon but provided the nonprofit industry info and plan to help them in the future to see this product go through.

Prizes include..
-PayPal: PayPal will offer the top (5) teams $10,000 in waived transaction fees, totaling $50k
-Mashape: $100 x 5 teams
-New Relic: New Relic Certificates offering a year of New Relic free at the Pro level (a $1788 value)

…and more!

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Busted Foundation highlights

Busted Foundation had a great 2012. Last year, my focus our focus was as a board member was to help build he board for sustainability, streamlining operations and increasing our social media presence. I wanted to share some highlights with you.

  • In 2012, we became Great Nonprofits Top Rated, doubled Facebook following, tripled Twitter following, leading to the highest attendance at the annual fundraising event to collect the most donations in eight years.
  • Accepted to Google, Youtube, Linkedin’s non-profit programs.
  • Added new Advisory board member, Dr. Travis Kidner, surgical oncologist in Rox Center in Beverly Hills.
  • Added guest blogger Mia Curtiss to the teams.

With all the strategies learned and utilized in 2012, I’m taking on more responsibility and taking on the Director of Development role within the organization. We’re all hoping to double what we done last year as we prepare for our 10 year anniversary next year. We cultivating stronger relationships with the community and formulating “breast practices” we hope build a solid core group of supporters while we continue to grow into more cities.

Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

A recent book that got me thinking is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Really interesting read because I initially read it to better understand the introverts in my life. Interestingly, I discovered more about myself and how to interact with colleagues and loved ones better.

To most people I appear extroverted. To those whose known me for all of my life would say I am an extrovert. However, after reading this book, I tested to be an introvert. So I might be an “Ambivert” a personality trait including the qualities of both introversion and extraversion. So I found the Myers Brigg test and tested to be an introvert. So I dug out an old book to figure out what color my parachute was. Shockingly, the answers I used to give were different from how I would answer them now. So the color of my parachute is much different now that when I was college (yes, I’m a hoarder and somehow have my college copy too).

In the past decade my interests have moved from social gatherings to more intimate settings. My parties were replaced with yoga and mediation sessions. In the past few years, my large groups of friends were replaced with online communities that I led, assembled or connected. My dance music was replaced with old school jazz and eclectic world music. My daydreams of whirlwind international trips to metropolitan cities have satisfied with long secluded hikes in the California mountains and sea cliffs. My past anxieties of staying at home had been relieved somehow by my gardening, crocheting and art photography projects. Social media and my addiction to Instagram helps me continue me extrovert image, but if you count how often I’m with more than 1 person, its rare. Maybe I am a true Ambivert.

I found the most interesting parts of the book were the Extrovert Ideal and her observations on the differences between Asian Americans born and raised in America versus the ones who come here as adults. Comparing that to the Asians in Asia as observed by expats. The personality traits that each culture values and respects are drastically different. Leadership styles were in stark contrast of each other. Americans seem to value the extroverted leader and undervalue the introvert. Whereas in Asia the introvert’s calm demeanor seems to be the model f the rock solid leader.

As a Vietnamese-American born in Saigon and raised in Hawaii, which is officially America but it too has its own language and cultural identity. Assimilating was a bit confusing especially when my immigrants parents were trying their best to provide the basics. Between my extroverted “Tiger Mom” and extremely introverted father and the pulls of conforming to the Westernized social norms, it was a challenge. Needless to say, I straddled the introverted perfect grades bookworm as expected by the Tiger Mom with extroverted pursuits such as taking any leadership opportunity I was given. I’m not sure I ever figured out the balance between Eastern and Western cultures, hence my ambivert traits. So I ponder about the next generation.

When it comes to the business world and preparing for the future, it’s undeniable that Asia is a powerhouse. Japan dominated the eighties and now China is the world’s superpower. Asia was booming while American were still going through our recession. So how do we help Americans and future generations prepare for the decades ahead where Asian and Asian style leadership will be valued. I remember being in Hawaii in the eighties, the Japanese businessmen were trying to learn English. Now it’s the opposite. It the Americans learning to assimilate to Chinese culture. We’d have to address this cultural difference if we are to compete in the future.

Adventures of a Sociaholic

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