at GA

In a room usually crowded with coders and feverish start-up crews, took over General Assemble’s main hall with wagging tails and conversation. The Puppy Adoption Pen got lots of play and maybe a few people became pet sitters at this sure to be repeated event.

Next time I’ll get dogs’ names and maybe a few people. (Comment or tweet me with the dog’s and your name)

click to enlarge.

New Co. LA

IMG_0767 Organizer John Battelle, thinks of this two-day event to be part art opening, part music festival — like a field trip in a city. Battelle had been organizing “industry events” for lots of years, until one day he just got tired of the rent-a-banquet-room-listen-to-speakers treadmill. He enjoyed the moments between stages at music festivals like Coachella or Lollapalooza and wanted to find a way to get that dynamic operating in the start-up movement.  In 2014 New Co. events have popped up in Silicon Valley, Amsterdam, New York, the United Kingdom, Detroit, Boulder Colorado and San Francisco. Los Angeles is his eighth.

IMG_0774The first night of the event, was held at the offices of CBRE‘s Downtown Los Angeles Commercial Real Estate offices. Jason Nazar, Founder Docstoc and Start-Ups Uncensored sponsored my VIP tickets to this brilliant event and “Fireside Chat” between John Battelle and Ze Frank, President of Buzz Feed Motion Pictures.

IMG_0778_2Ze broke down the meaning of morality and why dancing babies go viral. He instructed us, “to better understand post structuralism, put down your C++ manual and pick up Marcel Duchamp, Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes”. Frank also talked about how we tend to “characterize events” (like watching a movie or traveling in Italy) “is different from your actual experience” and “social media is a place to talk about that experience”. Continue reading

Instagram for Business

Presenter Shannon Drake, a.k.a. @shantastical, talked about her experience using instagram to promote client work. After showing the basics of lighting and filters she moved on to the questions central to social media: “How is my company’s presence on Instagram improving my brand?” What information am I presenting about the company?” “Do I have a call to action?” “What is my tone?” “Am I approachable vs aspirational?”

Drake talked about building audience through the use of commonly used hash tags. She recommended developing your own industry specific list of tags and not to use more than 3 tags in the description. The sky is the limit on comments however…

Shannon is an enthusiastic presenter who knows social media. She presented at General Assembly in Santa Monica.

Data Science Meetup

In an attempt to broaden my horizons, I went to a meet up on Data Science. I figured, I could hang, I took statistics one summer at UCLA, I paid attention in math class. The two speakers at Cross Campus, a shared office for teck start-ups in Santa Monica, presented cogent words on this burgeoning science.

Szilard Pafka presents at Cross Campus

Szilard Pafka presents at Cross Campus

Szilard Pafka shared ten pit falls on data science. He admitted there were many more, but he only had 30 minuets to give his talk. He presented a graph that outlines the “science”. “This is my only slide” he admitted. It out lined the circular elements that make up the field: Understand, collect, explore, clean, model, validate, communicate and understand. It is a circle after all. “The point” Pafka said “is to extract business value from data; Collect more money or create actionable information; Do ‘B’ instead of ‘A'”. Pafka warned about coming up with ideas, procedures or goals that were so complex, they could never be implemented.

The second speaker of the evening was Eduardo Arino de la Rubia: “Bootstrapping a Data Science Practice at your Company and in your Career”. Eduardo was a personable speaker who engaged the audience first with photos of his dogs and then of the $6 million dollar printing presses he performs data science on for INGRAM. He outlined his career, and how, with the help of paid and free on line resources, he taught himself data science. “Ask simple questions to smart people” is his credo. The science was more about choosing which algorithm to use than writing them. “Stand on the shoulders of giants” he told his audience. He also counseled “don’t order a big computer system on your first day. You can do the whole job on your lap top.”

“Art” could be substituted for science, but with all those numbers and statistics and upper management wondering why you are employed, “science” is better for the ego, until your work saves the company $100 mill; again.

10 Tips on How to Get a Gig at a Startup

Uncubed Job Fair

The Uncubed Job Fair at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica aka “Silicone Beach”

The Uncubed Conference came to the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.

Part of their mission is to present a traveling job fair to find talent to staff the the dynamic companies that are looking for new ways to think, organize and build apps. Tarek Pertew, Cofounder of Wakefield Media, started the day off by presenting these tips for landing a gig at a start-up:

1. Go with the familiar.

  • Do what you know

2. Skip the blind date.

  • Know who they are and what they do before you talk to them.

3. Don’t forget to tip.

  • Provide your own thoughts
  • be positive

4. Link outside the box.

  • web presence //find your medium and be a part of it.
    • blog
    • be big in at least one social media
      • facebook
      • corra
      • twitter
      • instagram

5. Talk to strangers // Its a small world get to know it.

  • The Honest Company Jessica Alba

6. Take one a day.

  • Specific and attainable goals
  • Pick a person a day

7. Stack the deck

  • Resume – easy to read
  • Look different – presenter plopped a thumb print on his b-card

8. DIY

  • Meetups on Project managment
  • learn in the morning (find the best time of day for you to learm)

9. Bookmark these pages

10. Ditch the tie and perfect your pingpong serve

  • interviewing is different

Bonus: Be patient and follow up.

  • Thank you note
  • how you doing?
  • Great to hear you passed 10k down loads

What goes around comes around. If your community has silicon in its nick name, you will probably hear from them soon.