Scaling the LA Tech Summit
In its second year, the Cornerstone OnDemand-sponsored LA Tech Summit attracted 750 attendees to the JW Marriott at LA Live in December. The day featured 17 panels and 60 speakers, one of whom was LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Now known as the “Mayor of Instagram,” LA’s civic leader has more followers than any other mayor and leverages the platform and other social media aggressively to communicate and collaborate with residents of Los Angeles. Garcetti spoke about his education programs, including Silicon South, a Microsoft funded program in which five high schools in Los Angeles will offer classes on coding to students. Addressing ever-present traffic concerns, Garcetti pointed to a study that indicated there are 1.2 drivers/car; if there were 1.6 drivers/car, traffic issues in LA would be nonexistent. He quipped that on Jewish holidays the average is higher than 1.6, so he’s considering adding more Jewish holidays to the calendar for residents of Los Angeles.
“I would put LA’s tech talent up against Boston and SF any day and think that we’ll see a flood of tech talent come to LA,” said Dylan Pearce, a principal at Greycroft Partners. Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners spoke separately to the crowd and said that we are in the early days of an on demand revolution and compared the high cost of real estate in New York, San Francisco, London and Tokyo, then said that the highest cost of real estate is in the palm of your hand, pointing to his phone. During his speak on the making of a great IPO, George Lee said, “we’ll probably see tech-oriented IPOs worth $35 billion this year.” / latechsummit.com
Highlights from TechWeek LA
Entrepreneurs, developers, and venture capitalists converged under a massive tent on the Santa Monica Pier in November for the 2nd Annual Tech Week LA. Similar events take place in Chicago, Detroit, Miami, and New York, demonstrating that Silicon Valley is not the end-all for innovation. Startups went head to head in the Launch competition for cash and prizes and CEOs shared lessons of success during “fireside chats.” TrueCar CEO Scott Painter noted the importance of raising enough capital early to support rapid growth and suggested that entrepreneurs should focus on solving big problems rather than simply making existing solutions more efficient.
In another session, Jane Poynter took the audience through her venture into space travel. One of eight researchers from Biosphere 2, Poynter is now at the helm of World View Enterprises, a company that for $75,000 a seat, will take customers to the edge of the stratosphere to see the Earth as only astronauts see it. Passengers will elevate for approximately 90 minutes in capsule attached to a high-altitude balloon, then parachute back to earth in a high-tech spacesuit.
From high altitude to high fidelity, Susan Paley took the stage. When Dr. Dre, Will.i.am and mega-producer Jimmy Iovine decided that they wanted to build a global electronics brand, they turned to Paley, the first employee and CEO of Beats Electronics, or as many people know the brand, “Beats by Dre.” Paley noted that many consumer electronics companies follow Six Sigma or other methodologies that require a series of approvals and make it difficult for products to ever get to market. With Beats, they threw that out the window. They wanted to build a product that would create an emotional response with consumers. To do that, she says, you must empower the team to make it happen. “Alchemy is a word I use with product development … build the right team, make it personal for them, and make them accountable. It’s all about the team and the way they come together. That’s where the magic happens.“
Social media strategies and video game startups were a big topic of the week. Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of social networking pioneer MySpace, now has his next big hit as CEO of Social Gaming Network (SGN). Developers of Cookie Jam (Facebook Game of the Year), SGN boasts more than 12 Top 10 titles on the iTunes Store and 35 million monthly active users. DeWolfe, who is in the process of moving the corporate offices to Santa Monica, noted, “the most creative people in the world have
been moving to LA for years but there is a funding issue so a lot of the time as entrepreneur you have to make a trip up north.” He believes that may change as Silicon Beach continues to grow into the base for more successful startups and their founders. Plans are already underway for TechWeek LA 2015. Companies interested in speaking or sponsoring can visit techweek.com/speak or techweek.com/sponsor.
Filling the $1 Trillion Talent Gap
Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication, is leading the charge on the school’s current research endeavor: Third Space Thinking. As Wilson puts it, Third Space thinkers are “adept, open-minded communicators,” and research shows they are few and far between in the workplace. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, Third Space thinkers would add somewhere between $900B and $1.3 trillion to the economy. Led by Wilson III, the Annenberg school drew from face-to-face interviews with 75 senior executives in various industries in addition to Korn Ferry’s database of 1,887 executives when conducting their research. Their findings, referred to as the T-5, highlight five professional competencies companies feel are needed: adaptability, 360-degree thinking, intellectual curiosity, cultural competence, and empathy. Wilson and the Annenberg school hope to couple their findings with those of MGI in an effort to fill the gap, for the better. / usc.edu
CLU and Huddle Campus Incubate
Cal Lutheran University, in conjunction with Conejo Valley incubator Huddle Campus, opened an 18,000-square-foot facility that serves primarily as a business incubator in addition to allowing their Community Counseling Center and School of Management to grow. At the heart of the space is the business incubator where Evan Forster, CEO and Founder of Huddle Campus believes, “entrepreneurs and students can come together to collaborate on projects and create new startups. The new facility has also allowed Cal Lutheran to expand their reach – adding Cal Lutheran’s efforts in entrepreneurship opportunities. The entire facility will be designed as a “co-working” space and while many of CLU’s classrooms and programs will call the new facility home, it will be open to students, faculty, and the public. Built in conjunction with Huddle Campus, a Conejo Valley incubator, the new facility, will be “a place where entrepreneurs and students will come together to collaborate on projects and create new startups,” according to Forster. / callutheran.edu
Freedom to Breathe
Few things can inspire more panic than struggling to bring air into your lungs. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects millions of Americans; in the most severe cases, sufferers cannot leave home without their lifeline, carrying with them cumbersome (and flammable) oxygen tanks. O2 Concepts is revolutionizing the mobile oxygen tank industry. The company has created a Medical Portable Oxygen Concentrator, a tank that extracts pure oxygen from the existing atmosphere so that users essentially have a never-ending supply of oxygen as long as they are below the stratosphere. In 2015, O2 Concepts will embark on a partnership with Verizon to use of Dynamic Network Analysis Technology (DNAT), allowing them to remotely check in on clients ultimately resulting in lower costs, higher efficiency, and better results. / o2-concepts.com