Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

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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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.

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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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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.

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.