Interns Mark and Kelly here!
We’re so proud to have been a part of Silicon Beach Fest 2014—our first true exposure into the LA tech and start-up world! As interns at Radix, work has been fast-paced. You can imagine how eager we were to see the team’s hard work and collaboration come together. We both had a great time and learned a ton. But before we get into that, here’s a little background on the event: Click here to see photos from Silicon Beach Fest!
This past Wednesday, Kevin Winston and his Digital LA team kicked off their third annual Silicon Beach Fest taking place in none other than “Silicon Beach” which encompasses the neighboring communities in and around Santa Monica. Silicon Beach is the Westside region of the LA Metro area, home to over 500 tech startups. Considered the second or third largest tech hub in the world, companies like Google, Yahoo, BuzzFeed, and AOL give truth to its name. Silicon Beach Fest gives the tech community an opportunity to celebrate LA’s top digital innovators. SBF recognizes LA tech, entertainment, and startups through panels, keynotes, workshops, mixers, and competition. Attendees included startup CEOs, accelerators, VCs, investors, music and movie execs, agencies, content creators, social media gurus, developers, and more from LA, our neighbors in Silicon Valley, OC, San Diego, New York, and beyond.
Photo courtesy of @samarabay.
What were the highlights, you ask? So many—each of us left with unique takeaways:
Kelly: After making the trip down from the University of Oregon, I was in for a whirlwind of a good time as my first few days on the job included creating briefing docs, new business meetings, communicating with clients and media, and helping out the Radix team prepare for Silicon Beach Fest. I was definitely thrown into the fire my first few days here in LA, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Silicon Beach Fest 2014 kicked off Wednesday evening with a few cocktails as the LA tech community gathered to enjoy the many drinks, conversations, and wetsuit-wearing servers at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. Thursday started bright and early as press, attendees, and speakers began rolling in around 8:30 a.m. One panel I found particularly interesting was the “Investing in Silicon Beach” panel that hosted Eva Ho, General Partner at Susa Ventures, Matt McCall, Partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, David Travers, Partner at Rustic Canyon Partners, and Gerard Casale, Managing Director at TYLT Lab. Investor relations is not something I was very familiar with, so it was fascinating hearing from such established investors, as well as the dos and don’ts of investing in tech startups.
This is something I really enjoyed about SBF—it wasn’t focused on just one aspect of the tech start-up industry—there were so many different panels from “Women Founders: What It Takes to Succeed,” to “Fireside Chat with Chet Pipkin, Belkin Founder and CEO.” This particular fireside chat with Chet from Belkin was particularly informative. As someone who has built and sustained a global company for over 30 years here in Los Angeles, Chet gave some very real and honest advice for entrepreneurs; advice as simple as, “service the goddamn customer.” I loved it.
Thursday concluded with more cocktails (we work hard, right?) and started right back up again Friday morning with more keynotes, panels, and chats. Silicon Beach Fest ended with some surfing lessons and beach volleyball on Saturday afternoon, concluding an awesome SBF weekend.
Photo courtesy of @DigitalLA.
Mark, Radix’s other intern also had some awesome insights from the weekend as well:
First and foremost, I’m passionate about communications. To me, it’s the backbone of an organization, giving it structure and making sure things function. But the true fascination for us ‘com’ geeks is culture. We’re tickled by it, and the creativity spawned from it. Now you might see why SBF was so exciting for me. It embodied not just my attraction to communications and PR, but also my desire to be part of culture and creation.
My favorite highlight was seeing Radix’s very own CEO and Founder, Nicole Jordan, in action on the “PR for Start-Ups and Content Distribution” panel. She stressed that the concept of PR has evolved into a broader, more holistic communications strategy, more closely tied with marketing and business objectives. She also emphasized the importance of transparent and frequent communication between the PR firm and the client, insisting that having at least one in-house employee to run point with your communications team is crucial to the success of your program. I’m telling you, the lady knows her stuff.
I also took pleasure in helping to facilitate press coverage, interviews, etc. It felt like a true and tangible contribution to the efforts of startups, helping them secure their space to be creative and share. It was an honor to listen to panels from industry successes, too, like Belkin CEO, Chet Pipkin.
Finally, the festival was just plain fun- music, beer, fancy h’orderves, and a whole sea of bright minds. What’s not to love?
Photo courtesy of @jjessicalauren.
There you have it: SBF from the eyes of two PR rookies! It was a pleasure to be part of it all and to absorb the knowledge and insights of professionals from both the PR and tech industry. All in all, we couldn’t have more positive things to say about Silicon Beach Fest 2014.
Thanks for reading,
Mark & Kelly