Tech the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Twas the eve of December 8th In 2016, Tech in Motion DC was seated, Timmys winners not yet seen.
The campaigns were all done, and the votes were all tallied. The races were tight, following a few last-minute rallies.
Before the winners could be announced, SHAWN DUBRAVAC took the stage to read them a poem and leave them amazed.
Half cultural zeitgeist, Half yearly retrospective, with only a mic in hand, some favorite moments were selected.
From 2016 and the year after too. With permission granted, we’re sharing it with you.
Whether you read it fast – Or choose to read it slow – we hope it enthralls you, please read it below:

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‘twas the night before Christmas
and in all through the house
there were computers a plenty
but not many a mouse

It’s the end of the year
Another one’s done
So light the yule log
And lets have some fun

2016 was an election year
we’ll surely remember
a flurry of tweets and attacks
until we finally reached November

Make America Great Again
Was a slogan for many
Red hats were adorned
And the memes were aplenty

We relied on online polls
that showed Clinton for the win
but when we woke the next day
the headlines left many, scratching their chin

from Ken Bone in his red sweater
who asked a simple question
to Beyonce who released Lemonade
With lyrics that showed little discretion

And Adele did carpool karaoke
To viral success
While fake news spread across the Internet
Leaving us all very depressed

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And sure smartphone sales are slowing
and tablets sales have fallen off
but 4K TVs continue to do well
while drones and VR are beginning to take off

In a back and forth battle
Apple took on the FBI
To ensure your data remains encrypted
and away from prying eyes

Apple also launched a new iPhone
Now available in matte black
But can someone tell me why oh why
they had to remove the old headphone jack?

We lost some of the greats
like Andy Grove and Prince
But we gained back Alec Baldwin
And have been laughing ever since

It was the year of the Olympics
And the year of Facebook live
Chewbacca Mom had us smiling
And she didn’t even have to try

Bumble, tinder, and others
Had us swiping left and right
But when it came to digital dating
Netflix and chill stole the night

Stranger Things had us rooting for L
While scared of the upside down
We all left craving frozen egos
And wandering why no one see

Vocal computing became all the rage
As Alexa moved in
And when it came to the Mannequin challenge
Those who held motionless would win

So let bygones be bygones
Its soon time to ring in the new year
Forget yesterday’s mistakes
And pull your loved ones near

2017 is looking bright
don’t be filled with remorse
if you didn’t win this year
there’s always next year of course

Do more and be better than you were in 16
shout in the streets and down the halls
a very Merry Merry
Merry Christmas to All!

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Well there you all have it, from all of us on the Tech in Motion team.
Happy holidays to all, we’re excited to ring in 2017.

Ring in 2017 with Tech in Motion in your city. Find an event to attend here.

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OC Panel: What is the Future of DevOps?

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UCI Innovation Campus was buzzing with energy when the local Tech in Motion chapter hosted their event Tech Panel: DevOps | Driving Productivity and Efficiency on August 25.

The panel was moderated by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager of Workbridge Associates and a subject matter expert on the local DevOps market. The evening’s focus was in response to the community requesting more education-focused events and to provide a space for members of the numerous Orange County DevOps Meetup groups to gather.

Schnepper began with defining some key terms.

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DevOps is a framework for identifying and eliminating constraints, so processes such as software development and deployment run smoothly at a high level of efficiency. Panelist Matt Chung, a Systems Development Engineer with Amazon Web Services in Seattle and founder of the OC DevOps Group said, “DevOps is both technical and cultural. It involves making sure teams such as software developers and the people who administer the resulting systems are co-existing and working together. Technical productivity and efficiency are also part of it. The goal is to eliminate waste and add value to the company.”

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“Software is a key battleground and winners and losers are being defined by the way they ship software and interact with customers and users. Shipping software when you need it is key. DevOps is the realization that existing IT systems are too slow. The ROI on DevOps is pretty clear. All organizations can benefit from automation and tooling. Just look at the data. Put the right data in the right environment and you can improve release timelines and gains across all faces of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle),” responded panelist Jedidiah Yueh, Founder of Delphix and Avamar (sold to EMC).

Panelist Spencer Seebald, Senior Field Technical Solutions Engineer with Puppet, Inc., added, “People are starting to see software, regardless of the industry, as a competitive advantage for business and a way to drive it forward. DevOps people can help move things along more quickly, and that is an advantage. Data shows companies that adopt DevOps move faster in a more reliable and controlled fashion.”

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The evening concluded with questions about the future of DevOps and how businesses at different stages can adopt this framework. Chris Ciborowski stated, “With DevOps practices outside of the US such as Europe as Australia; they are already working and running in the cloud, applying these strategies. As these markets see where improvements can still be made, they will also see where the trend moves.” Ciborowski added that, “You cannot buy or hire DevOps” and that businesses, whether they are a startup or enterprise, can benefit because DevOps encourages, “A real understanding of how your business is developing software and how the business maps into the process of future releases and testing. All of these processes go hand in hand.”

Original article  by Hai Truong, UCI Applied Innovation writer

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Data Science: Trusted Relationships & Scientific Exploration

Tech in Motion Orange County will explore Data Science through a tech panel on Wednesday, July 20th at 6 p.m. at The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation. The event will include speakers across different tech sectors applying Data Science today. Below is a guest blog from one speaker on this panel. Learn more and register for this free event today! REGISTER HERE.

Written by Dave Herman Vice President of Applied Science at Payoff, a leading financial wellness company, using science, psychology and technology to help their members reinvent their relationship with money and accelerate their journey to financial well-being. You can learn more about Payoff’s Science team here.

The new field of data science is rapidly enabling us to link massive amounts of seemingly unrelated ideas, and pool that new knowledge to potentially predict outcomes of virtually any situation.

How do data scientists do this?

To a great extent, we do what scientists have always done: We look for repeatable answers to the questions that surround us, by finding meaningful patterns in data. In the context of psychology, we look for patterns that allow us to understand and predict human behavior, behaviors that are expressions of beliefs, habits and desires.

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The process of finding relevant patterns in these big data sets has been exponentially advanced by the adaptation of more powerful computational infrastructures and machine learning algorithms.

As data scientists, we use our knowledge of algorithms, computational tools and a wide range of subject matter expertise from natural language processing — from the digital interpretation of human language to behavioral psychology to neuroeconomics. Through a combination of scientific method and machine learning, we develop an evolving and increasingly more powerful set of insights and methodologies to explore large data sets in the big-data clouds.

Interested in Data Science, Big Data, and other tech topics? Find an upcoming event centered around the hottest technologies in a city near you.

Fundamentally, data science is about finding patterns and information, hidden within data. Imagine a tiled mosaic, in which each tiny tile represents a unit of data. At close range, we’re limited in the information we can gather, focused around the attributes of individual tiles. But only when you absorb and compute on the entirety of the data, can you see the deeply insightful patterns. When we stand back, take it all in and see the collection of images and story at full scale, that’s when we learn from big data.

Someone who understands the sequential process of data science explores the data structure that holds this mosaic together using algorithms and their knowledge of math, science and statistics to guide this exploration, finding patterns. Without patterns, the data is useless. Once a pattern is found in the data, it becomes very meaningful and we’re able to learn important insights potentially applicable to wide segments of people.

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Our digital behaviors, including “likes” on social media, clicks to buy products, and measurements of physical and mental activity (Fitbits, accelerometers, questionnaires, MRI and EEG) all offer views into the core of human individuality, and allow data scientists to see humanity on a very large scale.

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Looking for a new role in Data Science? Check out our open data science jobs.

Data Science Uses the Most Powerful Machine Around

Working with information to determine how to tell a story at this vast scale, data science uses the most powerful machine around – the human brain – to develop algorithms that allow computers to take over the storytelling and point the information in the right direction.

Data can’t tell a story without a digital brain to organize the data and a human brain to contextualize it into human experience. Much of our digital lives is powered, at some level, by the decisions of people about what patterns matter, and what algorithms and experiences are needed and intended. It’s where digital interactions get the contextual IQ that transforms data into information, followed by experiences that actually connect with humans.

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Think of an algorithm as a means to make the complicated digestible, as it creates the filters/structure and statistical summarizations that enable specific points to come into focus. And like with everything else in life, what you get out of it is a result of what you put into it. While an algorithm creates the matching, its value is a result of it taking into consideration things we really care about.

So, what do we really care about? As it turns out, almost everything where human behavior is concerned. This is science, after all, and the iterative, empirical process of study can be applied to everything we humans do.

As we increase the application of applied data science across areas of focus, what matters is who or what is behind the algorithm. Data is one thing, but telling a story that captures the value in the data in a way that earns people’s trust is something different altogether.

Take for example, the “stable marriage problem.”

Say you have a large set of people X, who each desire someone from set Y, and vice versa. Here’s the task ahead of you, the ultimate cupid: Is it possible to optimally assign pairs where they are all “stable”? (Mathematically speaking, “stable” here means there are no people in both sets who would rather be with someone other than their current match.)

As it turns out, there is a smart algorithm for solving this problem. However! Creating the algorithm is just half of what a data scientist must do. They also need to know what information matters and what makes for a good match. The algorithm lets us do the matching, but it’s the features, traits, assessments and real-world knowledge that make that match effective.

Is that a little too George Orwell, dystopian nightmare for you, you say?

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Let’s look at eHarmony, for example, which is powered by an algorithm developed in part by Dr. Galen Buckwalter, co-author of this article. We all know couples who met online — people who would likely never have found each other otherwise. The most important decision in an adult’s life — who to choose as a partner — has been improved, thanks to applied data science and the intelligence of the human minds who pointed their emotional intelligence in the right direction, toward love.

Could there be a more profound use behind brains and algorithms working together?

The data — a long list of very specific attributes selected as appealing by an individual — leads to a match with someone who has chosen many of the same attributes. Then the humans make a date and get to decide if the connection will become more than an awkward dinner, albeit with a stranger with whom you share many attributes.

Some may call it unromantic and perhaps lacking in the serendipity we tend to assign to romance, but the scientific process is exceptionally effective, as is evidenced by the thousands of people who engage in this experience every day.

Data science in action is an algorithm that guides a user toward choices they would probably never have found without it. Given the seemingly infinite possibilities of a connected world with more than 7 billion people in it, matching us with what we want and need becomes increasingly valuable every day, as more and more data is collected.

This post was adapted from the original on Medium.com, “Data Science, Trusted Relationships and Scientific Exploration,” which you can read in full here.

Read more about data and technology:

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12 Great Pieces Of Advice From Female Software Engineers

Here are the top 12 golden pieces of forward-thinking, action-oriented advice from female software engineers that have been shared on the Hackbright Academy blog this year:

#1 – How To Detect Female-Friendliness In A Company / Engineering Team

Thumbtack software engineer and Hackbright alumna Katie Thomas suggests 5 questions to ask an interviewer to detect how female-friendly a company or engineering team is. Asking “how do people ask questions” or “Are any engineers involved in programs aimed at supporting women in the industry? (e.g. PyLadies, Women Who Code, Hackbright, etc.)” will help you figure out if this workplace is right for you.

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#2 – How To Not Suffer From Imposter Syndrome

Hackbright alumna and software engineer Gulnara Mirzakarimova shares 5 lessons on beating imposter syndrome. Our favorite is #5 – “Accept the fact that there are things that you do not know, there are things that you will never know and there are things that You Can Decide To Learn.”

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#3 – Focus

Flixster software engineer and Hackbright alumna Aimee Morgan blogged about focus. She shares that “being a beginner at something in your mid-thirties is alternately terrifying / humbling / awesome.” Agreed.

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#4 – Self Care Strategies For The Job Search

Hackbright software engineer and alumna Meggie Mahnken shares self care strategies for the software engineer job search. She crowdsourced advice from Hackbright alumnae, from not letting an interview outfit go to waste (go out with friends to dinner after an interview!) to “set a mini-goal for yourself to have something more achievable and within your control as a measure of success, rather than just ‘did you get an offer or not’ from the interview.”

Find your next role on the Tech in Motion job board here.

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#5 – Learn Git and GitHub

Self-taught web developer Jenn Wong shares her story about learning to code and working at Zillow. Her advice? “Learn Git and use GitHub to keep a record of the work you’re doing.” Now she’s working on becoming a full-stack engineer.

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#6 – Read It Three Times If You Have To

Self-taught engineer and Spitfire entrepreneur Erin Parker shares her story of learning to code: “I started going through the Michael Hartl Ruby on Rails tutorial and I ended up going through it 3x before things really started to click. In tech, you learn that you can teach yourself anything by googling stuff, finding a book, reading documentation.”

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#7 – Have Confidence But More Importantly, Perseverance

Skybox Imaging software engineer and Hackbright alumna Danielle Levi shares advice about perseverance and confidence: “It’s easy to compare yourself to others in the industry and find yourself lacking. However, its often not a fair comparison. In my case, I found my interest in technology and computer science at a later point in life. I’ve had less time to learn as much. Everyone has their own unique obstacles. It’s better to compare yourself to yourself. Think about your progress, how much you’ve accomplished, and exercise self-compassion. Stay passionate and keep learning.”

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#8 – Find Your Local Programming Resources and Meetups

Rachel Ann Werner went to Nashville Software School and learned to program – she’s now a back-end developer at iostudio. She recommends “getting out there and meeting people at programming user groups.” Rachel also founded the Nashville chapter of Girl Geek Dinners, an organization that encourages young women into technology careers. And on Meetup.com, she met the ladies of Nashville Women Programmers (pictured, below).

Find a local Tech in Motion event happening near your city.

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#9 – Ask For Help

Uber software engineer and Hackbright mentor Martha Girdler shared advice on “politely and unobtrusively asking for help”. She advises mentees to “don’t be afraid to politely and unobtrusively email someone you admire in your field and ask for mentorship. It’s best to ask for a small amount of their time (a phone call once every few months, a few emails here and there). Always take notes, and research your potential mentor thoughtfully and thoroughly. If they say yes, your first priority is to ask thoughtful questions!”

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#10 – It’s OK To Not Know Everything

Medium software engineer Jean Hsu assures new programmers: “it’s OK not to know everything.” She continues that “it’s impossible to know everything, but sometimes, especially at the beginning, it’s easy to think that everyone else knows it all. There’s plenty of time to learn. You are not an imposter. It is incredibly unlikely that you got lucky over and over and over again. It’s much much more likely that you got where you are through hard work and your accomplishments.”

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#11 – Remember, This Too Shall Pass

Presidential Innovation Fellow and software engineer Sarah Allen was a young mom when someone told her “this too shall pass”. Sarah reminds us that “when things really suck, remember that this too shall pass, and when things are really great, remember that this too shall pass.”

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#12 – Do The Hardest Thing

Femgineer founder and software engineer Poornima Vijayashanker urges women to “do the hardest thing”. Instead of doing what’s easiest – that will bring her the maximum benefit – Poornima always chose to pursue the hard path. She’s programmed herself to do the hardest things in life, but they’ve also brought her the greatest joy.

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By Angie Chang (VP Strategic Partnerships, Hackbright Academy – shown left)

Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley is recognizing Women’s History Month with a Women of Influence panel event. These women are taking the lead head on in the technology industry. Through courage, compassion, and conviction they have built their way up to represent the top in their class. Please join Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley for this educational and inspiring panel discussion on March 26, 2015 at Microsoft (Bldg 1) located at 1065 La Avenida Street, Mountain View, CA. RSVP here.

Year in Review Panel Discussion: Net Neutrality, Cyber Security and IoT

On Tuesday, January 27th, tech enthusiasts around the Washington metropolitan area braved the snowy weather to gather at 1776’s downtown location for Tech in Motion’s ‘A Year in Review’ panel discussion. Mike Chan, co-founder of local startup ribl and organizer of Startup Weekend DC, moderated the discussion. Panelists included Rob Pegoraro (Yahoo Tech), David Young (VP of Public Policy, Verizon), Lauren Maffeo (Aha! Labs), Patrick Merfert (9Lenses), and Mike Leurdjik (Core Capital).

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Upon arriving, attendees were encouraged to enjoy some light networking before taking their seats to listen to the discussion on the biggest tech headlines of the past year as well as predictions for the upcoming year. Before the panel took to the stage to discuss the past year’s tech headlines, a few words were spoken by representatives from event sponsor companies Jobspring PartnersWorkbridge Associates, and Verizon FiOS.

Become a Tech in Motion sponsor in your city.  

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Mike Chan launched the discussion by making introductions down the line, and launched the conversation by asking each panelist to reflect on one big technology-related headline of the past year. With the annual State of the Net address having occurred earlier that day at the Newseum, Rob and David kicked things off seamlessly with a passionate dialogue about Net Neutrality, with each representing opposite sides and debating the pros and cons of net neutrality, title II, and Section 706. David finished the discussion by summarizing his stance supporting net neutrality rules, but asserted that implementation of title II would be a mistake.

Lauren then steered the conversation towards Fintech, a movement focused on disrupting the banking industry which gained tremendous momentum this past year. As an example, she cited the hugely popular Transferwise which has recently announced a 58M round of funding to expand their offerings internationally.

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Almost inevitably, the dialogue turned towards the security breaches of the past year. Corporations such as Home Depot and Target fell prey to credit card hacks, the now infamous Sony hack revealed multitudes of confidential data, and the Central Command Twitter account (@centcom) was hacked while President Obama was giving a speech on the importance of cyber security–all of which served to highlight the growing importance of this industry.

“A scary trend that we have been seeing and will continue to see is data breaches. The size, volume, and sophistication of these attacks are increasing,” Patrick stated.

He spoke at length about cyber security and the seriousness of the problems that it’s presented. Despite these problems, Patrick also highlighted an upside to the issue.

“The silver lining about this is that it’s a great opportunity for security and defense startups,” Patrick noted. “[There is] a ton of opportunity for new entrants and agile startups to tackle these specific types of attacks.”

In a change of pace, Mike Leurdijk observed that the rate of change in the industry has continued to trend upwards over time. Resources are becoming more easily accessible and there is an increase in the amount of disruptors and collaboration occurring in the space.

“This [the rate of change] is something that’s increased from the past few years and it will continue to improve,” Mike stated. “It’s cheap, affordable to become an entrepreneur, there’s a huge amount of opportunity in the enterprise space, you see corporate VCs going further…it’s an exciting time to be here.

Predictions for trends and headlines to look for in 2015 covered a wide breadth of the sector in the conversation. Topics included technology in the enterprise space moving to the consumer level, wearables continuing to tailor their offerings to fulfill the market need for devices that specifically address and target consumer needs, a value shift in startup accelerators and the democratization of angel investing.

Lauren predicted that cyber security and the broader genre of privacy will only increase in importance and relevancy. A recent study by Cisco estimated that 25 billion devices will be connected to the Internet and make up the Internet of Things in 2015.

“Global governments will not able to keep up with growing technology demands, therefore it will be up to startups and corporations to promote privacy and trust,” Lauren predicted.

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Interested in being a speaker or demo company at Tech in Motion? Contact us.

A topic that was perhaps the most popular in its prediction of continuing to trend from 2014 in to 2015 was the theme of diversity in technology. Mike Chan started things off by discussing how the lack of diversity seen is the black eye of the industry. When speaking on the diversity reports that companies are feeling pressured to release, he asked if these reports were part of a PR stunt.

Rob was quick to point out that of the companies that have actually released reports; their findings don’t necessarily cast them in the best light. An example cited was Twitter’s diversity report that resulted in backlash for not having a single female on their board. The debate then morphed into how to bring about change and increase diversity.

“The idea is to let this diversity happen more organically,” Lauren weighed in. “Once you start talking about setting quotas or things of that nature, that’s when things start to get tricky.”

Mike Leurdijk kept things in perspective when discussing the amount of time that it will take to make that change happen.

“Change needs to start at the bottom. It’s a cultural change that needs to happen. It will take a long time, but keep encouraging that change,” he asserted.

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After the discussion came to a close, there was a brief Q&A section. The audience, as ever, was filled with engaged and inquiring individuals who stayed long after the panel came to an official close to network with one another and speak with the panelists before the space, 1776, closed for the night.

1776 is a prominent startup incubator located in the heart of Washington. The startup incubator is a household name in the DC area, known for everything ranging from their Challenge Cup to visits by prominent figure includingg the British Prime Minister and President Obama. The space, which boasts an ultra-modern and comfortable interior, held the 120+ event attendees easily.

Interested in learning more about the DC chapter of Tech in Motion events? Check out the event page and join this rapidly growing membership base. The next Tech in Motion DC event will be a Demos & Drinks on February 24th at the WeWork WonderBread Factory.

Happy Hour & Tech Talk: Email Privacy, Leaked Photos Take the Stage

Remember, remember the fifth of November, you would if you were a Tech in Motion member…Attendees gathered outside the glass doors of the new Yahoo! building in downtown San Francisco, waiting for doors to open for the “Happy Hour & Tech Talk” event. Featured speakers included Brad Kulick, the Director of Privacy Policy at Yahoo; Zouhair Belkoura, founder and CEO of KeepSafe; John Roberts, Platform Lead at CloudFlare and Dos Dosanjh, Head of Solutions at CipherCloud.

Attend a Tech in Motion event in your city.

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Upon arrival, members were greeted by the Tech in Motion sign in crew. After checking in they made their way up the elevator and into Flickr’s exclusive event space for the networking portion of the night.

The room began buzzing with action as members mingled and grabbed name tags. Long wood tables were lined with over 30 Patxi’s pizzas and salads for the taking, as well as a full bar of microbrews and wines. Members were well fed thanks to Flickr’s generous donation of food. People bonded over the delicious flavors of deep dish pizzas and shared excitement of having vegan and gluten free options. For dessert, special Tech in Motion cookies were donated by Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates!

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As members made their way around the space they were greeted by sponsorship booths. These included career booths by Jobspring and Workbridge as well as a booth from Flickr, the headline sponsor for the evening. Members grabbed Flickr swag and learned all about what the company was working on in their new office.

Learn more about becoming a Tech in Motion sponsor.

By 7:15 p.m., guests around the room settled in for a tech talk on privacy and sharing in the age of the Internet. Perri Blake Gorman took the stage as the moderator and began the discussion off on the right foot. She introduced the panelists for the evening and got the discussion underway.

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Members were on the edge of their seats as the panelists discussed hot topics including email privacy, Target’s credit card breach and the nude celebrity leaked photos. Questions were flying even before the Q&A began. Everyone had an opinion on what it meant to be secure.

Check out what KeepSafe’s Founder & CEO had to say about security in his guest blog post, “O Data, Where Art Thou?”

As the discussion wound down, Tech in Motion members asked their final questions to the panel and were given the opportunity to mingle with the speakers. They networked over a final slice of pizza and beer. As the last members of the audience filed out, they exited the large, glass doors with new perspectives on how their information is being used, shared and protected. Join Tech in Motion SF to be in on their 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.

How to Succeed in Technology: A Chat with TrueCar’s John Williams

Tech in Motion LA hosted a tech talk with TrueCar‘s Senior Vice President of Platform Operations, John Williams, on all things tech and TrueCar – a company that is making sure car shoppers never overpay again. John gave attendees some valuable insight into how to stand out in the tech industry and what’s most important for success in going mobile, getting capital and beyond.LA tech talk

Here are a few highlights of the advice he shared with Tech in Motion LA during his tech talk this fall:

Mobile:

  • Look at what other companies are doing and improve upon their concepts, strategies and execution
  • Be aware of interaction models and how users are engaging in the mobile technology
  • Think about data
  • Real-time capabilities are extremely important in mobile

Capital:

  • Start with a great product that users are interested in
  • Make it as flawless as possible upon public release
  • Figure out what other businesses you can partner with for increased success
  • Relationships with investors & VC’s are key!

Other areas:

  • Execution is most important
  • Competition drives the product demand but isn’t necessary to succeed
  • Uniqueness is desirable
  • Be ready to exploit trends in technology

For more insight from top tech execs, join Tech in Motion LA and get invited to the next event.

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About John Williams: John Williams has over 20 years of experience designing, building and operating large scale Internet infrastructure. After joining TrueCar in March 2011, John is responsible for the technology, security and operations strategy that facilitates explosive growth while still meeting strict requirements for performance, security and reliability. Before TrueCar, John was a consultant for numerous world-class technology, financial services, entertainment, military and government organizations. Previously, he was the CTO and co-founder of Preventsys (acquired by McAfee) where he created the world’s first automated security policy compliance system for large enterprise networks. Prior to that he founded and led the network penetration testing team for Internet security pioneer Trusted Information Systems. At the start of his career, John co-founded and built one of New York City’s first Internet Service Providers.

Tech Talk with Lose It!

This past spring, the Boston chapter of Tech in Motion hosted an exciting evening of demos and drinks based around green and health tech startups, including Lose It!, a weight loss application. Tech in Motion Boston took the time to sit down with Community Manager Whitney Klinkner of Lose It! to get the inside scoop on her company and the startup scene in Boston.

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Q: First off, can you give us a quick introduction to “Lose It!”?

Lose It! is a program that helps folks lose weight by managing their calories in and calories out- a pretty basic concept. We’ve taken it to the next level by making the calorie counting process as painless as possible. The app was started out as a way to make calorie counting easier (as opposed to the old fashioned way of pen and paper!). Then it got picked up for an Apple commercial back in 2008 which helped skyrocket the app and the company. We started off in Copley Square, but made the move to the seaport in 2012. When we moved there, we had about 5 people, and now we are at 12. We have more than doubled our size which is pretty exciting.

We just hit 32 million pounds lost with the app and right now we have about 19 million users; there are about a million people on average who are using the app regularly, which is great. We are consistently in the top 5 for the health and fitness store on iTunes.

Q: With over 19 million users and a team of only 12 people, did you guys find yourselves struggling to keep up with the demand of the app?

It’s actually not as hard as it might seem with our smaller team. When we first started out, the main idea was to get as many things done as soon as you could. Now with a bigger team, we are able to prioritize what needs to get done and have better control so things don’t fall through the cracks. With more people too we are able to give our users more of what they want; one big thing our users have loved is integrating our app with other devices like Fitbit and Nike Fuelband. Our CEO has always believed that a small group of hard working people can do extraordinary things – so that’s been our philosophy from day one. We are hiring a few more people and are excited to grow and accomplish even more!

Q: Just as a startup in general, were there things you found difficult?

One of the great things about Lose It! is that so many have heard about it through word of mouth. Our user growth has been huge, but managing the of the demands of all these people has been a bit of a challenge. We get hundreds of emails from users each week with items they’d like to see added to Lose It!; managing those expectations has been a bit difficult from where I sit. We’d love to implement everything under the sun to help folks to achieve their goals, but it’s just not feasible. We continue to grow and sustain the program in the way that we think makes sense while incorporating feedback from users to shape new features.

Q: Boston is becoming a great place for startups lately, so how do you like the idea of being a Boston startup?

I think being a startup in Boston is awesome. There are so many smart people here and lots of new graduates with all of these great ideas. Unfortunately a lot of these guys and girls go to the west coast after they graduate. I think we need to make the up and coming graduates more aware of all the cool things happening in the Boston start up scene so we can keep more or this new talent local. I know #DownloadBoston has been doing a great job of trying to let people know about local apps and having the city of Boston celebrate them, which I’d really like to see more of. We should feel proud the start up culture here in Boston.

Q: So you guys did a demo with Tech in Motion, do you see an importance to a meet up group like Tech in Motion for startups?

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One of our goals for this year was to go out for more community events like Tech in Motion. It’s a great way to get our name out there, and to meet new people in the Boston startup community. A lot of people didn’t realize we were here in Boston and so the exposure is great for us as a company. It’s also great to learn about other startups in the area and see what they are doing. We are all in the same boat trying to grow our companies. It’s great to make connections and help each other out when it makes sense.

Q: Final Question: can you leave some words of wisdom for those wanting to get into a startup?

I think that if you want to join a startup, you have to be prepared to work very hard and never have the attitude of “that’s not my job.” In my experience, you have to wear a lot of different hats, especially in the very early stages. No day is ever the same and you get a lot of exposure to parts of a business you’d never imagine. Once the company grows you can figure out which areas you really enjoy and sort of steer yourself in that direction, which I think is something you might not get if you started in a big company. I would recommend a start up to anyone who likes a challenge and and does not mind working hard.