A great addition to the festivals and tech events already on the Los Angeles startup scene. By Debra Eckerling (Founder, Write On Online)
Silicon Beach Fest took place in Santa Monica and Venice last weekend and had the same feel as our vibrant town: fun, innovative and entertaining.
There were too many events within Silicon Beach Fest to experience them all – especially since they were spread out between the two beach towns. And much like Los Angeles, there was something for everyone: a hackathon, a student pitch competition, a startup village, parties and beach activities (surfing, volleyball and basketball on the beach) as well as panels for every interest.
There were tracks for entrepreneurship, leadership, startups, Hollywood, social media and branding. There was some straight technology talk too, including a developer debate at the Google office in Venice.
Our tech scene may not be as big as the one in San Francisco – or Silicon Alley in New York – but we certainly have a passionate one!
As opposed to more traditional tech events, women were significantly represented at Silicon Beach Fest. They even outnumbered the men on several of the panels I attended, such as "PR Tips for Startups" with three female founders, and "Fashion Goes Digital" with founders Sarah Pollack of SimplyStylist and Allison Beal of StyleSaint (both pictured, right).
One common theme on the startup panels? Find the pain point. Figure out what needs to be fixed and come up with a solution. For example, Stacy McCoy, co-founder and CEO of Give To Get Jobs, couldn’t find a job in social good, so she – along with her mom – created a website that lists for-profit jobs that give back. McCoy was part of the "Social Enterprise: Startups for Good" panel.
Panelists shared their “aha moment” - when they decided to make a change in their lives, and set off on a journey to find a way to help others.
"Follow your passion", "collaborate", and "support each other" were recurring themes throughout the festival. Los Angeles residents and out-of-towners alike were there to meet others in the tech, startup and entertainment industries, genuinely learn about their businesses and find ways to collaborate and support each other.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. Photo credit: (above) Bugsy on Flickr. About the guest blogger: Debra Eckerling is the Founder of Write On Online. She is a professional writer and communications specialist with expertise in business, entertainment, tech, and education. Debra teaches individuals, entrepreneurs, and small business how to organize their projects and articulate their expertise. Debra has been a speaker at the #140conf State of Now in both New York and Los Angeles, as well as the #140edu conference. Follow her on Twitter at @WriteOnOnline.