February Interview

Ben Tao from MyTreat interviewed me about Santa Monica New Tech Meetup group:

Santa_Monica_New_TechTell us more about your Meetup group, Santa Monica New Tech. Why did you decide to start it? How is it different from other tech related Meetup groups?

When I relocated to LA from the East Coast one year ago I was looking for a group with monthly pitch events similar to Boston New Tech.  I didn’t find it, so I started one in Santa Monica.  I wanted to be a part of the LA Tech community to network and find a technical co-founder for my startup, which I did shortly after. Today our group hosts the most frequent and well attended pitch/demo events for tech startups in LA area! And they are free of charge.

What are the backgrounds of your members? What are they looking to get out of the group?

It is a high energy group of people passionate about innovation in web and mobile technology. Our members come from various backgrounds with different goals: founders of startups to promote their creation, technical and business people who have corporate jobs to get inspired and possibly launch a startup of their own in the future, people who already have ideas and look for co-founders, service providers to help startups grow, investors to find their next investment and media to cover this tech entrepreneurial movement.

What have been some of your most popular events? Why do you think they were popular?

So far we’ve had mainly pitch events with 5-7 tech startups giving 5 min presentation (demo/slides) and 5 min Q&A. I think this format is easy to digest, as 5 min is long enough to explain the gist of the idea. We also have different industries represented. This way it never gets boring. Presenters are full of passion about what they do and it charges the audience with great positive energy. It is especially fascinating to hear about solutions to problems that you experience yourself. We usually have an open mike session at the end to help people better connect with each other. There is an opportunity to approach presenters after the event, converse more and exchange ideas.

Besides pitch/demo events, we invite some interesting speakers and hold social events. We plan to create other events, like Technology Pay It Forward and tech panels.

What do you think of the Los Angeles Tech Community? What excites you about it?Gold Rush

It is the Wild West and the California gold rush all over again with numerous opportunities, if only you are brave enough and willing to take risks. Vast pool of entrepreneurs and tech pros who are going solo or with a buddy trying to find “gold” but in reality are gold themselves.

They just need to be persistent, connect to the similar minded people and get feedback. Los Angeles has a lot of newcomers, and migration constantly brings new waves of talent. This talent should be plugged into the community and that is what our group is for.

What do you think it takes to run a successful tech Meetup group?

Positive attitude and perseverance. In the past I had difficulties with venues, unreliable presenters and low attendance, but it was all temporary and I had to go through it to get to where we are now. I always knew that our events inspire Los Angelenos to pursue their dreams, and if that doesn’t work try again and again. As one of our members said, this Meetup group is a tree and members are the birds that come and make it live. Only together they make a prosperous living ecosystem, neither one can do without another. It is a community of people passionate about tech innovation, helping each other and creating a better quality of life. In the end life is not that much enjoyable without passion and people to share it with.

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