Tag Archives: Tech

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.


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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Cultural attache for Founders in the Bay – Singapore

One of my favorite roles is “cultural attache” to visiting tech founder from aboard. I truly enjoy sharing the uniqueness of the Silicon Valley Bay Area especially San Francisco’s culture and tech scene. It’s always a buzz with startup and tech meetups and activities. This is why the Silicon Valley remains the tech Mecca of the world. I love the events, demos, pitches, hackathons, meetups, happy hours, conferences and so many more.

Tomorrow starts my escapades with the Singaporeans visiting for Founders in the Bay. They are a select group of future tech entrepreneurs here for the 11th Founder’s Showcase with Kevin Rose, Aaron Levie & Hilten Shah.

The Founder Showcase is a quarterly seed-stage startup pitch and networking event that gathers Silicon Valley leaders to hear talks from top CEOs and investors, and help launch a promising startup to greatness.

The 11th Founder Showcase is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25th at the Microsoft Mountain View Campus. Guests will be treated to an entertaining Pitch Competition featuring 8 promising seed-stage companies, as well as talks by Kevin Rose (Founder of Digg and 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 their wares in the Demo Table Competition.

Organized by Battle Ventures, Founders in the Bay (#foundersinbay & #fib2012) is an invite-only immersion program for Singapore-based technology startup founders to learn about the burgeoning technology market that is Silicon Valley.

I was happy to assist with their itinerary. Check out a few of the great events and meetings we have arranged:

If you would like to join us feel free to register for the public events. Or for lunch or happy hour, please contact me.

Move over boys! Inspiring Googler women give advice to Girl Geeks @BayAreaGGD

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner sponsored by Google

The Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner has reached a true rockstar status in the community of women in the technology field. When the registration opened for the dinner it was instantly jammed like popular concert tickets. There were 250 geek girls registered for the event and 1200 on the waitlist. That goes to show the demand for organizations such as this to provide networking opportunities for females in the technology industry.  GGD was excited to be back Google because their first dinner was sponsored by Google in 2008.

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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.


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.