Tech Talent, Legacy Industries and Cost of Entry: Talk From Those “Made in OC”

Tech in Motion OC successfully hosted their first Made in OC: Tech Talk, a panel discussion which featured executives from successfully established Orange County companies – Boeing, Telogis, Numecent and Local Corp.

Check out the Tech in Motion event lineup to find a tech talk near you.

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Reporter Chris Casacchia, of the Orange County Business Journal, moderated the conversation for the evening, which covered topics such as: the ups and downs of maintaining a successful tech company in Orange County, the advantages to working in Orange County as opposed to other tech hubs in California, opinions on the current startup scene in Orange County, and the future of each speaker’s industry.

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“I think there’s a very good breadth of talent here,” said Art Hitomi, Chief Technology Officer of Numecent in regards to the pros and cons of starting up in Orange County. “To talk about the downsides I think admittedly, with my company, I had to go out of the country to get funding. Although, there are definitely people in the bay area who are moving down to this area. They are moving because they see a huge opportunity here.”

“I’ve never had a hard time finding good people here in Orange County,” agreed Joe Lindsay, VP of Technology at Local Corp. Lindsay, having been a part of businesses in both Northern and Southern California said the culture and career paths of people in technology are different. “I’ve found that the type of engineers I want to hire, it’s easier for me to find them down [in Southern California] than up there. Here, software developers are applying software to businesses rather than core technology.”

When asked about the legacy industries in Orange County and how they’ve benefited the tech industry as a whole or the local community, Manuel Beltran, Chief Software Architect at Boeing, had great remarks about how Boeing has been actively involved.

“If you recall, even the facility I’m in was McDonnell Douglas and was bought out by Boeing,” he said. “Rockwell was bought out by Boeing and Conexant is a Rockwell company. So what happens is, when these larger companies invest in the community, you give smaller companies opportunities. We try to do the best in our local communities and school systems. We try to bring interest and stimulate that resource pool and I’d like to see more of that done with the startup community.”

With the ever-advancing world of tech, Casacchia asked the panelists what they’re excited about in regards to the current and prospective tech scene.

“I think what’s really exciting is that the cost of entry into a new business is very low,” Tim Taylor, Chief Client Success Officer at Telogis said. “When I started my career, to start a business you needed four loans. Now you just need your iPad and Starbucks WiFi. I don’t think there’s a better time to have a business, than right now.”

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Before the discussion kicked off, the night began with a networking session where members came together to meet with new and familiar faces. The event was made possible by sponsors Workbridge Associates and Jobspring Partners.

Don’t forget to join Orange County’s meetup to be at the next event!

DC Tech Titans Talk Entrepreneurship, Co-founders and the Power of No

Tech in Motion’s DC chapter put on their first ever fireside chat this fall, hosting Adam Zuckerman, founder of Fosterly and Dan Berger, CEO and founder of Social Tables to speak about startups. Joe Colangelo, co-founder and CEO of Bear Analytics, moderated the conversation for the night with a heavy emphasis on content but a far more laid-back and intimate approach than the typical panel discussion.

Find a tech talk near you on Tech in Motion’s event list.

The event took place at the Artisphere, a local arts center located in Arlington, Virginia, which was once the site of the Newseum. The evening kicked off with networking in the Lower Town Hall, an open concept space equipped with a bar and art installations. The discussion then moved to the Dome Theater, which provided the perfect setting for the audience to interact with our speakers.

With Joe at the helm of the conversation, his easy-going personality and knowledge of the startup world was on display as he expertly moderated what proved to be a very insightful and engaging dialogue. His two speakers for the night, however, were no strangers to speaking up in front of the local technology community.

Adam Zuckerman of Fosterly was a recognizable figure to many in the audience as an important player in the DC tech space. He is well known for his work at Fosterly as well as various advising roles to the community at large. Adam calls upon his unique background in business, law, and technology to help galvanize the entrepreneurial community in the greater Washington, DC area.

Dan Berger is the CEO and founder of Social Tables, a hospitality software company with a thriving culture based in Washington, DC. Dan has been described as a “relentless and focused entrepreneur” and recognized 40 Under 40 in the meetings industry by Collaborate Magazine and Connect Meetings and named to Successful Meetings Magazine’s “Most Influential” list.

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When the networking portion of the night wrapped up, attendees eagerly took their seats in the Dome Theater to listen to these two experienced entrepreneurs. After going over their individual backgrounds, the discussion kicked off with Joe prompting Adam and Dan about the dedication they feel towards their companies.

Gone is the 40 hour work week – Adam stated the necessity of his 6 day work week schedule in order to make sure that Fosterly happens. Adam recommended that audience members find a job they would normally do as a hobby, because in the entrepreneurial realm, Work/Life balance is nonexistent.

“I’m very bought in, I don’t unplug. It’s a luxury which I don’t allow myself,” Dan remarked.

Dan was on the same page with Adam’s line of reasoning, stating that Social Tables was a side project on which he originally dedicated nights and weekends to. However, he quit his day job when a future investor didn’t believe him committed enough.

If anyone doubted the commitment of these two individuals and countless others in the tech community in D.C., that was put to rest as chuckles and murmurs of agreements followed Adam saying that “Entrepreneurs are the only people on Friday or the weekend who say, ‘Whoa, wish it was Monday.’”

After giving a brief history about Social Tables and how it came to fruition, Dan spoke on the topic of co-founders and how the relationship with his own came to an end. Dan said he realized two major factors eventually highlighted how he and his co-founder could no longer see eye to eye on the best course of action for their company.

“Don’t look for friendship or a different risk profile,” Dan said candidly.

Adam elaborated on the delicate nature of the co-founder relationship, adding that “you might spend more time talking to your co-founder than your family”. In the end, Joe, Adam, and Dan all agreed the most important thing to do was what most benefited the company, no matter how ‘messy’ things became.

Adam brought up a common misconception that a lot of individuals have towards those who have their own businesses; they believe that when you found your own company, you don’t have to answer to anyone. The reality, according to Adam, is that “you don’t stop answering to people. You answer to employees, investors, and the clients you want, have, and lost.”

On another note, it’s easy to take on too much when starting your own business. Dan shared insight on perhaps one of the most difficult lessons of establishing a startup: the power of ‘No’. Both Adam and Dan agree that it’s better to focus on doing a few things well than taking on more tasks or clients; they both firmly stated that it is okay to say ‘no’ and leave things on the table rather than over-commit.

The night ended with an extremely engaging Q & A session, where local entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts were able to pose questions to the speakers about their experiences as well as ask for advice. Tech in Motion DC looks forward to the next tech talk – Join your local chapter to attend one of our free events in 2015.

Oktober Tech Fest Sparks Friendly Competition

One day last October, Southside Spirit House in downtown San Francisco was bustling with anticipation as they waited to open their doors for Tech in Motion attendees. Sponsor booths were set up, drink tickets were prepared to be given out and tech trivia questions were awaiting worthy contenders. At 6’o’clock sharp, the first members began to arrive.

© Irina Bourova Photography https://irinabourova.shutterfly.com

Tech in Motion members flooded the bar in what seemed like one swift moment. Within fifteen minutes, the place was packed as members mingled and networked over Oktoberfest themed beers and bar foods. Business cards were exchanged as pretzels and brats filled the room. However, the exciting part of the evening – tech trivia – didn’t kick off until 7 p.m. \

Members gathered in groups of five and created team names. The nine teams that played  got creative with names like “Sudo Win” and “Techmania.” As they settled in with score cards and a strong sense of competition, the emcee took the stage. He introduced the competition along with the sponsors for the evening, Jobspring Partners, Workbridge Associates and Bindle.

Click here to learn more about becoming a Tech in Motion sponsor.

The competition quickly got underway, and it was fierce for the get-go. Questions were flying like  “when was the first iPod sold?” and “what does HTML stand for?” Cheers and sighs were heard from the members as the answers were revealed.

© Irina Bourova Photography https://irinabourova.shutterfly.com

As the competition continued it was clear that it would be a tight race. Eventually the game came to a close, and the winners were announced. A huge congratulations was extended to team “Logical Valacy” who won the game by one point. They cheered and collected their Target gift card prizes (below).

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While the competition was over, the networking carried on through the evening. Members continued to mingle and exchange friendly, competitive banter. Eventually around 8:30 p.m., the booths came down and the emcee wrapped up his microphone as Tech in Motion San Francisco’s Tech Trivia came to a close. Members exited the doors of Southside Spirit House having learned new tech facts and made new connections.

Make some connections at a Tech in Motion event near you.

Leveling the Field by Leveling the Platform

What Is Opoli? Short answer: It’s a transportation app. Long answer: It’s a transportation app that aims to disrupt the ride-sharing business from the side of the consumer as well as the service-providers. When selecting a ride, Opoli provides customers with the ability to choose their price, their driver, and their vehicle on their own schedule. This allows for more control for both the drivers and riders. And Opoli says that makes their services up to 40% cheaper than other luxury transportation apps in the LA market.

To become a sponsor of Tech in Motion like Opoli, please check out our sponsorship opportunities.

IMG_0028“The Opoli point of difference centers on commercially insured, professional drivers who offer a safer and better alternative,” said Opoli founder and CEO Rattan Joea in a story on VentureBeat. “Opoli riders can choose from town cars, SUVs, a Tesla or even a Bentley, depending on what they need and the occasion. Comparing our premium service to others, riders are appreciating Opoli’s professionalism, lower price within the black car market and the fact that all of our drivers are licensed for airport pick-ups, in style, of course.”

For riders, Opoli provides a real advantage when it comes to pricing. First, drivers bid for your ride and you see their bid in real time – and can choose which one you prefer. There’s no surprise or surge pricing, and riders will know the final fare before accepting the transaction. Riders can also make reservations, view driver ratings and choose their driver and vehicle, something other transportation apps do not allow.

So how is this disrupting the ride-sharing business on the other side? Leveling the platform? For a little background, services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar take a 20-30% cut of every fare, in addition to claiming the ability to set fare pricing. In contrast, Opoli charges drivers a monthly fee and allows a free market to set the price as the riders and drivers negotiate through the app.

“We’re trying to be a little more personal to the driver and understand their perspective,” CTO Bobby Gibson said in the Daily Breeze. “It’s not going to be me kicking you out. If you only have one star, nobody’s going to pick you.”

According to Opoli, however, their vision goes far beyond transportation. At the core of Opoli is a commitment to leveling the playing field for service providers. They aim to provide service providers the ability to compete against competitors of any size on the basis of service and quality, as opposed to economies of scale. By removing the barriers of entry into service industries, they strive to provide a channel in which consumers and providers can conduct business one-on-one without the need of a middle man.

For more information about Opoli or to download the app, visit www.opoli.com.

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Let’s Get Social in San Francisco: Mixer Recap

This summer, Raven Bar & Lounge prepared for 200 San Francisco techies to walk through their doors with the goal of connecting with the community. The dark lounges were lined with Tech in Motion flyers and photos, the bartenders sported meetup name tags and as the first guests trickled in, Raven’s signature cocktails began to flow.

Find a Tech in Motion mixer near you.

The goal of the night was to create an environment of pure and organic networking. Guests were encouraged to connect not only in person but also online. A large screen displayed a stream of live tweets from guests at the event. As an extra incentive to bring the event to the Internet, Tech in Motion offered free drink tickets to the first 50 tweets of the evening. This got the social media bug flying among the guests. As members met new friends in real life, photos of the new found connections slid on and off the screen. Excitement ensued when members noticed their faces on the big screen for the entire bar to see. The tweets were in – and the experience was positive!

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The venue was perfect for the night in more ways than one. Raven offered multiple levels for members to mingle and even an outdoor patio. This gave guests the opportunity to move freely throughout a variety of spaces and connect with as many people as possible. Additionally, Raven’s owner, Dave, could be found mingling with guests the night of the event. Dave stressed that one of the contributing factors in opening a bar in SF was that he wanted to engage the strong presence of tech in the area. He was more than interested in finding out what each member did and how they were involved in the booming Bay Area tech world.

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As the official event hours came to a close it was clear that the membership was not ready to leave. The drink tickets were long gone but the cocktails were still flowing. Members flocked to the three bars and continued to network passed the end of the event. The connections were flowing in the best way possible and guests were content with staying for one more drink in Raven’s comfortable setup.

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Around 9:30PM guests started meandering out of Raven’s large, dark doors. With business cards in their pockets and opportunity ahead, they left satisfied of a night well spent.

You can attend a Tech in Motion mixer in your area – just visit our Events Calendar to see when and where you can start making connections.

Tech in Motion NYC presents: Travel & Adventure Demos

Last September, techies across New York City celebrated fall at Tech in Motion’s Adventure and Travel Demos & Drinks event, gathering at Libation NYC to network, drink and meet some great companies who were out showcasing their technologies. BioLite, goTenna, Hitlist, Tripstr, and Via all came out for the evening to demo their products.

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BioLite

BioLite is a dynamic social enterprise that develops, manufactures, and markets consumer energy products for off-grid communities around the world. It is most well-known for its patented thermoelectric technology that makes cooking with wood as clean, safe, and easy as modern fuels while simultaneously providing electricity to charge small devices.

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goTenna

goTenna is a small, rugged device designed to make “No Service” no problem. Users can pair their smartphone with a goTenna and communicate off-grid with those near you who also have goTenna, anywhere on the planet, regardless of access to cell reception or wi-fi. goTenna allows you to send and receive texts and share GPS locations on beautiful offline maps, without ever relying on central connectivity. goTenna is great in all situations: when hiking in remote areas, traveling abroad, attending music or sporting events or during an emergency. Plus, because goTenna is end-to-end encrypted, it’s not just for when you’re going off the grid, but when you want to be.

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Hitlist

Hitlist is a mobile app that sends personalized, deeply discounted flight alerts for the places you want to go. Build your list of target destinations and they search through millions of airfares to find you the best in the market and help you travel more for less money.

App Review: “Very seamless and awesome way to track airfare deals on a short notice. The user interface is quite stunning, and it would be even better if the app would allow for multiple home airports.”

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Tripstr

Tripstr is a free storytelling app for iPhone and iPad that makes it incredibly easy for people to turn the photos they take on their trips into beautiful, interactive, sharable stories that look great in the app or on any size screen on the web. They accomplish this by taking advantage of the rich metadata in smartphone photos, combined with (patent-pending) UX that compresses the entire story-creation process into a few minutes.

App Review: “This is a great app that allows you to easily create a scrap book from your camera roll. It is super easy to curate your photos, add captions and publish, but I would love to see the capability to print the stories through a service.”

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Via

Via is changing the way people get around cities.  Via works by connecting in real time, multiple individuals traveling along the same route, allowing passengers to seamlessly share a chauffeured premium vehicle for just a few dollars more than the bus or subway. Despite the complexities inherent in matching routes for multiple passengers, average pickup times are under 5 minutes and trip durations are comparable to a taxi. It’s on-demand transportation on a mass scale that’s friendly to our planet.

App Review: “I love how simple this app is. It took me less than 5 minutes from downloading the app to sitting in the car. Every New Yorker should try this out”

“This app looks awesome and very intuitive. Slick interface, very responsive. Can’t wait to use!”

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Tech in Motion New York, like all our chapters, had a drinks & demos event once a quarter as one of the monthly events. Click here to find a demo event near you.

Big thanks to our continued sponsors who helped make this event a success: Workbridge Associates, Jobspring Partners & Handy.

SHELVED: Behind the Scenes with GoEngineer

Written byTyler Reid, Manufacturing Application Manager at GoEngineer

This post contains spoilers so be sure to have watched our new 3D printed stop-motion short, SHeLvEd, before reading!

When I was first approached about creating a stop-motion film using 3D printed characters I immediately accepted. “It would be fun,” I thought, “…and it will be easy.”

Well the very first thing I learned about filmmaking is that it is not easy. Before I even made it to the technically difficult parts, I was confronted with the surprisingly tough artistic challenges:

  • What is the storyline?
  • Who are the characters and what do they look like?
  • How many explosions should we add?
  • Is the ending happy, sad, confusing, a cliffhanger or all of the above?

A team made up of GoEngineer CEO Brad Hansen, Tandem Studios President Nathan SmithKevin Lynk, and I brainstormed answers to these questions and more. By the end of our session we knew our protagonist was a determined robot who had a fembot love interest, played with dangerously cool toys, and possessed zero understanding of basic physics. We eventually called him Gary:

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 With an arsenal of Stratasys 3D printers available to us, Kevin Lynk and I had near-complete freedom in his design – we could make him as simple or complex as we wanted because building him wasn’t much more complicated than pressing “Print.”

SH1-237x300We did have to make him stop-motion compatible though, which was not a trivial task. For his movements to look natural he needed 33 different joints, and each one had to withstand thousands of cycles of loosen/adjust/tighten/repeat.  Some parts performed flawlessly from Revision 1 (Kevin’s parts) and others took 2, or 3, or 6 revisions (mine).

One part that took several iterations to get right was Gary’s thigh. The knee joint was simple, but the hip was a ball joint that needed to hold all of the character’s weight at times. We designed, printed, and tested 4 iterations before we had a working solution – but all that happened within the span of a week.

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The printers allowed us to flex our creative muscles by designing parts we’d never dare attempt if we were building them by hand or CNC. Kevin was particularly proud of Gary’s hairpiece (right), but he didn’t seem keen to my suggestion to add “digital hairstylist” to his resume.

I had the most fun designing Gary’s bazooka, below (including a bazooka in the film was a stipulation for my joining the team). The story included two versions of the gun – one that was intact and another that had been destroyed after Gary decided to fire a grappling hook from it. The exploded version was my first real opportunity to use the SOLIDWORKS Flex feature and it performed perfectly.

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When it came time to print the parts, careful consideration of the print orientation was needed. With FDM printing, vertical walls look the best and parts are strongest parallel to the layers.

shelved5-300x221For some parts we had to balance aesthetics and strength – the parts had to look good for the camera and withstand the rigors of filming.

shelved6-148x300With the palms for example, our original prints (oriented for best aesthetics) had to be reprinted (oriented for highest strength) after the snap-fit caused the plastic to crack (left).

Overall, the design and fabrication of Gary, his two female counterparts (right), and all of his accessories took about a month of part-time work. The majority of the parts were printed on the Fortus 250mc, but we also used a uPrint SE Plus and Fortus 400mc for the larger parts. Speaking of size, the parts are actually bigger than they appear on film – Gary stands almost 16” tall and sports bolts as large as 1/4-28×2.5”.

We still paid attention to the smallest details, even if we knew they wouldn’t show on camera. The grappling hook (below) measured about 2” long and its working gears had as little as 0.007” clearance. We printed it on the Objet 30Pro.

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As we finished the parts, we handed them off to Nate to work his magic. The story was set in our Salt Lake City print lab, but filming was expected to take weeks so he resorted to green screen for the background. He and his screw came in after-hours one night to take all the photos he’d end up using over the ensuing months. Their attention to detail was impressive, but their fascination with shadows is something I’ve yet to fully understand.

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shelved9-192x300Nate spent the next couple months bringing life to our characters. He’d occasionally send us a photo to keep us excited and remind us he was still slaving away on the project.

 

I couldn’t be happier with how the whole story panned out, and I hope you enjoyed it too. I learned my lesson – film making is fun but it’s definitely not easy! Although SHeLvEd is less than 5 minutes long, it took about 3200 stills and 700 hours of filming and editing to complete. I’m ready to start the sequel, but Nate (and Gary) will need a vacation before that happens. Until then!

 

GoEnginner was a sponsor of Tech in Motion Silicon Valley’s Rise of the Robots event in November. Learn more about becoming a Tech in Motion sponsor.


9485a5e484e90c4eebd27d2ee8b3c04dAbout the Author
: Tyler Reid is the Manufacturing Application Manager at GoEngineer and a SOLIDWORKS Certified Expert. Having earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah, Tyler worked in the medical industry for several years as a SOLIDWORKS user before joining GoEngineer in 2010. His interests lie in machine tools, manufacturing methods, and witnessing these interests while visiting customer’s facilities.

 

Security & Technology – How Secure is Your Data? Silicon Valley

With the recent news that big name corporations such as Target, Home Depot, and even the cloud have been hacked, it makes you wonder, “How secure is my information”? Tech in Motion Silicon Valley recently hosted Security & Technology: Tech Talk at the Microsoft Campus. Guest speakers included Alok Shukla, Consumer Mobile Security, Product Manager at Intel Security (a part of McAfee), Jason Kehl, VP of Engineering at Vectra Networks, and Steve Van Lare, VP of Engineering at 41st Parameter. Topics presented ranged from user security, fraud and identity solutions to real time threat detection.

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley

Intel Security led quite the informative discussion on mobile security, kicking off with free vs. paid apps in the app store. The majority of app developers can earn revenue through sponsorships and advertisements – among other alternative routes – and with this runs the risk of compromising user security. This risk comes from unsafe development practices, embedding risky URL’s, weak implementation, and encroaching user security along with other risks. The future of mobile security lies within implementing safer apps. This is done by informing, consenting and controlling user information submitted through the app, as well as checking for URL reputation and following privacy development practices.

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley

The next company to speak up, Vectra Networks, is known as the security that thinks smarter. There are three key areas within the cyber-attack life cycle they specialize in; Targeted Opportunistic with Cyber Threats, Intuitive UX Simplicity of Use through IT Consumerization, and Data Analytics Machine Learning through Technology Inflections. The presentation covered how attackers invade perimeter security systems from your laptop, tablet, phone, and even BYOD devices, and what they do once inside. The way that Vectra Networks, they give businesses the opportunity to process the attack and quickly make decisions on where to focus their attention on.

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley

41st Parameter informed the audience that the future of security is at an ultimate breaking point right now. With technology advancing, security has to constantly fight to be one step ahead of the curve. The most important thing someone can do is to inform themselves about where their information is going, and learn the most they can about what they are using such as apps, websites etc.

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley

We would like to thank our gracious sponsors Workbridge Associates, Jobspring Partners, our Social sponsor, Vectra Networks, and our Headline sponsor, Appvance for helping fund our September event.

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley is thrilled to have had our hottest event of the year last November – Rise of the Robots: Interactive Tech Talk. Want to catch up on the hottest Robots in the industry? Not miss out on the next great event? Join Tech in Motion here.