Exhilarated Energized & Exhausted

The closing moments of a Startup Weekend are truly all of these things. This weekend I spend 3 very long days at the Startup Weekend at Cal Poly. At the end I was truly Exhilarated by working with smart and dedicated people, Energized by what they can bring to our community and the world, and Exhausted from lack of sleep. For those not aware of the Startup Weekend Movement it is a global program that provides a forum for those that want to explore entrepreneurial ideas with like minded individuals. While the event is held at Cal Poly and the majority of the participants are students the event is open to the public. If you have never experienced one of these I highly recommend them as a bucket list idea.


This year started on Friday evening with a keynote from Kyle Wiens CEO of IFixIt. Kyle is always interesting to listen to because he has great storytelling ability and an interesting business. He is a Cal Poly grad and a long time sponsor of the Startup Weekend. Kyle did not fail to deliver energy and inspiration to the event. It was also great to see a local tech company engaged. If the Startup Weekend creates one more Kyle in our community that will a major homerun.  

After the keynote they play a game of rock, paper, scissors. With the groups joining each other until there are only two groups left. This serves the purpose of mixing the groups up and it does a good job of this. It gets people out of their seats and interacting with each other. Since the group is very techy my only hope is that in the future they consider upgrading the game to the newest version. Here is my upgrade recommendation. Pitches

Next in the process are the pitches where each person with an idea gets up and does a 60 second pitch that is summarized and posted on the wall. With about 100 people in the event we ended up with about 50 concepts. This is followed by the chaos of voting and it is truly an inspiration for the State of Florida. Each person has three dots that they attach to the ideas they liked best and at the end of that the votes are tallied and the top 12 concepts are announced. I pitched a concept of an Enterprise Search solution but with only two votes my idea was crushed by others. Only the best survive and that is the way it should be.  


Next came team formation and this is really the magic of the weekend and it is pure chaos. As it approached the end of process there were just a few kids left to be picked for a team and I was one of those. When that was announced Garrett Perkins the evangelist for the Ethic Marketplace invited me to his team. So true to the Startup Weekend best practice nobody is left unengaged not even the Token Old Guy. 

Idea Evolution

The idea evolution is always an interesting process. Everyone looks at the challenges and goals differently based on their life experiences. From that diversity that the team gets its strength but it also causes tension in a fast paced evolving environment.As one of the people that brings up lots of the challenges it can be difficult for those possessed with the vision but the team always seems to find the balance. I like working with people that are smarter than I am and that was certainly true in this team. Working with brilliant people on tough problems is tons of fun.  


Before discussing judging I have to disclose my bias. I thought the team I worked with was clearly better than the other groups although in the same breath I have to say that all the teams did great work. Having served as a judge before I know how hard it is to compare highly diverse proposals so reasonable people can disagree and I have more than a little bias toward our team. I do not believe in the everyone is winner concept because without failure we have no growth. These people are about to enter the business community and they will change the world and it will be better off because of them.  

I was really disappointed in the level of community involvement in the final presentation and it is something that we can do better on. Our community and the tech community in specific needs to celebrate these people and this process because

as a community we get what we celebrate

If nothing else our team should have got honorable mention as the only team in uniform on Veterans Day. I am extremely proud of the work this team did on the important issue of conscious consumerism. I am excited to see them talk about taking this forward and they have the right stuff to change the world with this one.  

What’s Next

Startup Weekends are a global program with hundreds of thousands of participants. On average 12% of the ideas pitched go on to some advanced stage of business formation. Here locally because of the support from Cal Poly and the Tech Business community our rate is much much higher. Often business survival is compared to baseball batting averages so the global batting average is .120, SLO is much higher probably .350 or so and I am batting .500 with a ball in the air with faith that this one could go over the wall. It has a couple of evangelists and a team of incredibly smart people aligned on the mission. Ethic Marketplace could be something important to our community and the world.   

Watch for these Businesses in 2018!

  • Poly Peels
  • Tulum Cosmetics
  • Poly Talent
  • EleVate
  • Openspace VR
  • Obodo
  • Female Synergies
  • Health Block
  • Spiced
  • OMO
  • Ethic Marketplace

Why I do this?

Okay so I am a little crazy and that helps explain some of this but there is much more. To me this is a form of giving back to my community and I have been an advocate for Tech Entrepreneurs forever. Many of my peers give back as speakers, which is something I hate doing.   Others serve as mentors, which is another way you can give back, and the the team experiences are much better because of that service to community. My choice is to have the deep experience of working in the trenches with the team as they bring innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit to our community. These teams are a critical element in the high quality of life we enjoy. We have to continue to innovate and create new business so we can live locally and compete globally with a quality of life I want for my family and community.  

This is my 9th Startup Weekend and every time I learn from the team I work with and hopefully I contribute back. I love the fact that we are celebrating the Entrepreneurial Spirit in our community. Cal Poly and several community minded businesses and individuals have engineered a full ecosystem that starts with Startup Weekend, flows to the Hatchery and Hot House and ultimately to our tech business community. These new businesses create head of household jobs that improve our standard of living. I cannot think of anything better I could do over a weekend than help this exist in our community.  

Shout Outs

No article about Startup Weekends would be right without shout outs to the people that make it happen. That has to start with the Cal Poly Entrepreneurs (CPE) Club currently lead by Sierra Scolaro and the event lead Alistair Schwab. The entire team from this organization are just amazing.

They coordinate everything and while nothing is ever perfect this event is as close as it gets. The energy and attention to details makes a complex event seen simple.   

The sponsors contribute the treasure needed to bring this to the community but one sponsor has to be called out and that is Guayaki. They actually provide the energy and some might even say the caffeine to fuel the teams.

Our shout outs cannot be complete without without mentioning the mentors. These experts volunteer their time and help all the groups in their specific specialty. Here they are:

Elan Timmons
Nick Fisher
Zachary Sharpell
Lorelei Sibet
Carol Kerwin
Pankaj Kumar
Chris Rollins
Chip Besse
Lynn Metcalf
Elan Timmons
Nick Fisher
Zachary Sharpell
Lorelei Sibet
Pankaj Kumar

About the Author:

Bob Dumouchel is a serial tech entrepreneur with four successful tech startups and three spectacular failures (batting average .571). Bob has been a Softec Member since inception, served as the Softec President twice, and served on the Board of Directors for over 20 years, and his businesses has been Softec Sponsors forever. Bob is a Senior Data Scientist at Systems & Marketing Solution a Google Ads Agency that creates unfair advantage for clients in PPC, SEO, and Social Media. Bob founded the Regional CEO Roundtables and ran the program for the first 11 years.


I was sick earlier in the week and was still recovering so my energy level was not what it normally is. As a result of that I did not get around to talking to all the other groups and I did go home 3 hours early on Saturday, which I felt bad about. I got 5 hours of sleep that day compared to the normal of about 3. As everyone on the team agreed sleep is grossly overrated 😉  

I have written about this in great detail in past years so I would refer you to http://softec.org/startup-weekend-2016/ for more details.

The Boys and Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley is partnering with MINDBODY!

MINDBODY Tech. in San Luis Obispo is Hiring!


  • Completed GED
  • 18 yrs. and up
  • No experience in computer coding, web developing, or app design needed! (although experienced developers are welcome too)
  • THEY will provide you with the training, internship, and scholarships needed!!!

To try your hand at computer coding, no commitments, simply go to: https://teams.teamtreehouse.com/talentpath-santa-maria-valley

Or for more information, contact Jessica Byrne at BGCSMV (805) 354-7425 jbyrne@bgcsmv.org (Recruiting hub for TreeHouse Inc. Tech program and MINDBODY)

This is an amazing opportunity for you and our community! Take advantage! It may change your life!

Time to take this opportunity is limited!

Junior Quality Assurance Technician

Position: Junior Quality Assurance Technician, StreamGuys
Location: Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, CA
Job Summary:
The Junior Quality Assurance Technician is responsible for testing and ensuring that software produced
by the company is free of technical issues and adheres to the development and style guidelines used by
the company. The technician will work closely with the Development department to assist in the
identification, documentation, and troubleshooting of issues that may exist in the products developed
by the company, providing critical support to expedite development pipelines.

Duties and Expectations:

  • Validates product workflows and identifies errors in implementation
  • Utilizes project tracker to document and track known issues
  • Perform routine audits of products to identify potential unknown issues or areas of improvement
  • Writes technical documentation of features
  • Provides training support for new clients using developed products
  • Assist frontline technicians in troubleshooting products supported by the Development Department

Knowledge, Skills, and Requirements for Junior Software Developer:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science required or similar life experience
  • Experience with PHP, Node.js, HTML5, Javascript, and CSS preferred
  • Familiarity with frameworks and MVC architectures; Experience with Laravel preferred.
  • Comfortable navigating the Linux command-line.
  • Knowledge of code versioning best practices and usage of repository management applications like git.
  • Strong reading comprehension and communication skills
  • Problem solving and critical thinking
  • Time management and ability to work unsupervised on individual tasks
  • Demonstrated ability to strictly follow code policies and procedures
  • Familiarity with live streaming media servers preferred

Send resume to – jobs@streamguys.com – for more information see www.streamguys.com

Lori Jordan at our September 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We were so excited to have Lori Jordan as our special guest at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Lori Jordan moved to San Luis Obispo in 2012 after living in Los Angeles for ten years. Before this she was in San Francisco after leaving San Luis Obispo in 1998. Lori graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S. in Recreation Administration and a specialized concentration in Industrial Engineering.
Straight out of school, Lori worked for local SLO radio stations as the Promotions Director. She moved to San Francisco in 1998 where she found her place at OpenTV. A Start-up with under 100 employees, Lori experienced the growth and eventual IPO of the company while serving as Product Manager, Tools. After working at two more start-ups in SF, Lori eventually moved to Los Angeles in 2002 where she worked for Yahoo!, Movielink, Netflix and Paramount Pictures. She mostly focused on the new market of Digital Distribution for film and TV.
While at Paramount Pictures, Lori was inspired to start a business in the digital content space, so did just this with her husband. Red Staple focused on creating and delivering interactive movies, albums and books to the iTunes platform. She also started a company in the knitting and fiber industry, Yarn Pop, which she ultimately sold in 2015.
Today, Lori works at the Cal Poly, Center For Innovation & Entrepreneurship where she heads up programs and the Summer Accelerator as the Director of Student Innovation Programs.

Hear Lori’s insights on startups, creating culture, and  developing innovation by checking out the track below:

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Judy Mahan at our August 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We were so excited to have Judy Mahan was our special guest at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Judy Mahan has a dual role as the Incubator Director for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the SLO HotHouse, and the Director of the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center (“SBDC”). At the SLO HotHouse, she leads the programming to assist in the business development of the twenty-one current incubating companies. On the SBDC side, Judy manages the pool of 24 expert consultants who support SBDC clients. With her experience as a corporate and securities attorney, Judy also provides legal guidance to more than 135 company clients within the SLO County SBDC network.

After graduating with a J.D. from the University of Paris X Law School, in France, Judy pursued an LLM in International Tax Law at Golden Gate University, San Francisco. She immediately began her career as an associate attorney for DLA Piper (formerly Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, LLP) in Palo Alto.  During her time in Silicon Valley, she represented tech startups in venture financings, as well as institutional investors in private equity and debt transactions. She also represented companies in public offerings (IPOs), and has experience in general licensing and commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions.

Judy has led a number of mutli-million dollar deals, including the IPO for Salon Media Group, Maxtor Corporation’s acquisition of Quantum’s computer hard disk line of business, and a number of acquisitions for Finisar Corporation, the world’s largest supplier of optical communication components and subsystems.

With her inquisitive personality, Judy’s career has been interspersed with a few adventures to the pacific region: one year in Vanuatu as a Senior Manager of Trust and Corporate Services, and another in the Federated States of Micronesia (“FSM”) as the Special Assistant to the President of FSM.

Hear Judy’s insights on starting a business, starting over, and calling out sexism by checking out the track below:

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Announcing Softec’s 2018 Robotics Expo

An Epic Event for All Ages

We invite you and your kids to celebrate our 10th Annual Student Robotics EXPO on Monday, September 24 from 5:30-8:30pm at the Alex Madonna Inn Expo Center.

This year we have named a theme for our event:

“Robots and Sports”

Participants and teams will dress up and decorate their booth. Prizes awarded for best in theme!

We are expecting to exceed last year’s attendance which was 800 attendees.  

We will have many booths, the Drone Arena, another food truck, and more fun!  Visit our Robotics event page for all the details.

What’s new in TechBrew?

Like a TED talk with Beer!  TechBrew has been a Softec staple for over ten years.  With two locations you are sure to find a TechBrew that matches your schedule and is conveniently located.

SMV TechBrew Reboot

The Santa Maria TechBrew was recently rebooted with a new day and location.  Occurring on the 4th Monday of each month, you can find us conveniently located right off of Betteravia, in Santa Maria at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in the attached Me-N-Ed’s restaurant area.


SLO TechBrew – 2nd Monday of each month at 5PM – SLO Grillhouse

SMV TechBrew – 4th Monday of each month at 5PM – Figueroa Mtn

Reese Galido at our June 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

Reese Galido was our special guest at this month’s WIT breakfast.

For the last 9 years of her 14 year career in Software, Reese Galido has worked at Mindflash Technologies based up in Palo Alto, CA as their Head of User Experience and Market Research. Prior to this, she started her journey in the Software-as-a-Service sector as a Lead Analyst for Citrix Online, a fortune 500 company, in their Customer Insights group.
Leveraging her experience in Data Management, Market Research, and Software Development, Reese helps direct Mindflash to data driven decision making during the Product Roadmap planning process and rapid prototyping of new ideas. She interfaces with the customer, Executive Staff, and developers to create a more complete picture of the future of the Mindflash learning management platform.
Reese moved to SLO in 1999 years ago to attend Cal Poly on a tennis scholarship, and captained her team to a Big West Championship in 2003 before graduating in 2004. During her free time, Reese is a freelance graphic designer, recording engineer, and musician.


Hear Reese’s insights on UX, design, diversity, and hacking video games by clicking the link below:

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Job Board

In order to submit a job posting:

The Softec Job Board is a benefit of Softec Sponsorship. We post the job in our blog under the job board category so it appears as an page link across our entire site.
The job posting must be a technical position or a position within a technology business. We will not post work at home, business opportunity, unpaid internships, or 100% commission position.
The job must be in the service area of Softec, which ranges from Santa Ynes to the south and Paso Robles to the north.
The job posting should be submitted in simple text format so it can be quickly copied and pasted into the system.
Job Posting must include contact information and a link to your website.
Send job postings to JobPostings@softec.org

Not acceptable job postings:

  • Non-tech service jobs
  • Work at home – non-technical
  • 100% Commissioned Sales Positions
  • Unpaid Internships

Melody Klemin at our May 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Melody Klemin at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Melody Klemin is a digital fundraiser at Cal Poly, overseeing online giving, crowdfunding and Cal Poly’s annual Day of Giving. A singer/songwriter who performs at wineries and weddings, Melody loves playing music, especially on the rare and spectacular occasion she gets to play in a local, all-women 80’s cover band called The Betrothed. In addition to helping form a SLO Chapter of Lesbians Who Tech, she also runs a local queer wedding blog, Central Coast Gay Weddings, and is starting a podcast called Queer SLO where she plans to interview local LGBTQ business and community leaders around SLO County.

Melody shared her insights on digital fundraising, the LGBTQ community in SLO,  and the need for mentorship in many different areas and methods. Catch up on anything you missed, or relive the action by listening to her insight interview below: 

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook!