Startup Weekend 2017

Thank You to CPE for

Running a GREAT Event!!

This was my 7th Startup Weekend and since I have written about the entire process in prior years, this year I want to focus on how the event is evolving over time. Internationally 12% of the teams at a Startup Weekend will go on beyond the event in the business formation process. I can tell you without question that the Cal Poly event run by the Cal Poly Entrepreneur Club is way past that average. Our community has an advantage of a ecosystem that helps the ideas move through to the business community.  The services from Judy Mahan’s organizations, at the SLO Hot House (business incubator), are perfect for helping Startup Weekend Groups launch their business.

Great Progress

One thing that is really encouraging is the evolution of the gender mix. The percentage of women giving pitches and participating in teams have grown noticeably over the years. It was cool to look at the line of people waiting to pitch and seeing an equal split between men and women. The technology industry needs a smart, motivated, and diverse labor pool.  Based on this event we are moving in the right direction.

The concepts have gotten much better over the years. The winners of this year’s competition were all serious ideas that hold the potential to be startups in our community. In the earliest events there were some concepts that were fun for the weekend but not really serious. There were still a few that will never see the light of day but like any creative process you must allow for this type of fall out. We will not know for a few months how many go forward but I would wager that it will be way more than 12%!

The Business Community Should be MORE Engaged

People ask me why I participate in these events and its because it creates competitive advantage for me. For $65 I get to talk with smart people for 54 hours as we explore business topics of interest to me. I get to hear smart ideas from brilliant minds and meet people that are self-motivated to solve those challenges. I get outside, independent, creative ideas and they feed me! It does take time but as I told my wife I have to be somewhere, and this is more fun than most of the alternatives.  I am shocked that business participation is so low. Out of the 100+ involved in the event I was one of three that were over 30. Since the average age of a successful entrepreneur that launches a high growth business is 39 you have to wonder why this event was not full of experienced business people. All this happens for $1.20 an hour – WHAT A DEAL!!! Here is what Time Magazine says about this:

Start-ups in some industries, such as biotech and business software, gain an edge from the experience that comes with a founder’s age. According to research by Vivek Wadhwa, an academic and tech entrepreneur, and the Kauffman Foundation, the average age of successful start-up founders in these and other high-growth industries was 40. And high-growth start-ups are almost twice as likely to be launched by people over 55 as by people 20 to 34.

Source: http://business.time.com/2013/03/14/ask-the-expert-the-best-age-for-a-start-up-founder/

CPE Organizers Help Startups

Stepping On Out!!

A Word about Cal Poly

I am a big fan of the CPE and CIE at Cal Poly. Their support hosting this event is a huge contribution to the local business community. What our business community must realize is that this is not just for University students. Startup Weekend is open to anyone in the community that has the entrepreneurial spirit, an idea to change the world, and the drive to make it happen.  Learn more about the great people in CPE Leadership https://cpentrepreneurs.com/officer-bios/

See You Next Year!

About the Author:

Bob Dumouchel | Senior Data Scientist bob@smsrd.com

  Systems & Marketing Solutions Inc. www.smsdesignlab.com

Digital Sales Agency

Softec Past President – Board Member for over 20 years

Amanda Radakovich at October’s Women in Tech Breakfast

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

Amanda Radakovich is the Director of Customer Success at Dozuki, a software company based in San Luis Obispo that caters to manufacturers around the globe. As a part of a small leadership team within the company, Amanda has been responsible for building the customer success programs and scaling the support team as the company continues to grow. 

Amanda shared her insights on the software as a service (SAS) world—from communicating technical problems to determining how to best serve different client bases. She shared her story and her love of horses. Catch up on anything you missed, or relive the action by listening to her insight interview below: 

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! 

Lorelei Sibet at September’s WIT Breakfast

First off—a quick apology for the lack of previous post from our summer WIT Breakfasts—we had some truly inspirational speakers. While we haven’t been able to keep up posting here, you can relive the adventure by heading over to our Facebook page. There you will find recaps from our wonderful guest speakers: Shannon Pileggi from Cal Poly’s Statistics Department, Jen Rushing from Central Coast New Tech High, and Erica Thatcher from SLO Library.

We’re back in the swing of things here, and should be posting all the rest of our recaps here on the blog. Which brings me to this month’s WIT breakfast recap!


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

Lorelei Sibet has more than 25 years experience as an entrepreneur and business owner. In addition to her agency, One Siren Productions, Lorelei is involved in several businesses, products, and community interests.

One of those businesses is SLO MakerSpace — a 24/7 community tool and craft shop. In the last year she’s expanded Ceramics, Woodturning, Summer Camp, Blacksmithing, Leathercrafting, and the MiniMakers Specialty Program in partnership with Inspire Charter Schools. MiniMakers has 50 homeschool children attending SLO MakerSpace 10-hours a week during the school year for a state curriculum driven and immersive project-based learning specialty program. Lorelei is now focused on expanding SLO MakerSpace’s resources and support for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Lorelei also runs the SLO County Women Entrepreneurs Meetup Group and  Facebook Group for women entrepreneurs and business owners meet, network, share resources, and promote to the community to help grow their businesses. 

After 24 years in the Washington, DC area, two years ago Lorelei moved to San Luis Obispo with her husband and business partner, Dharmesh Patel, to specifically support SLO MakerSpace and grow their other new businesses and products.

Hear all the action and follow along at home by checking out link below for Lorelei’s insights on being starting a new venture, supporting women entrepreneurs, what it means to be a maker, pie factories, and all the delicious details of the SLO MakerSpace: 

Follow us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events, hear from other local women in tech, or nominate a speaker.

Kristen Olsen at May’s Women in Tech Breakfast

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

Kristen Olsen (@kdolsen) moved to San Luis Obispo nearly 20 years ago to pursue her dream of improving people’s lives through software development. She gets that opportunity every day as a Software Development Manager for Amazon, leading a team that enables people all over the world to independently publish their books for distribution on Kindle and print.

She studied Computer Science at Cal Poly and her career has been a tour of many of the large technology companies that people love – including Intel, HP, Apple, and Adobe (then Macromedia). Locally she started working for LEVEL Studios helping to create websites for large companies and then worked remotely as an Apple employee helping to write the services that Developers use to make applications available on iOS and Mac devices. After working remotely for years she wanted to come into a local office again which lead her to Amazon in San Luis Obispo.
Kristen lives in North County with her amazing husband Joe who stays home to take care of the kids and two young boys who are always at the ready with hugs. In her free time she loves to spend time with her husband and sons playing video & board games, watching eSports, being a part of a church community, and making crafts.

Weren’t able to join us in person? No problem. Join us digitally by checking out link below for Kristen’s insights on being a woman in tech, supporting a stay-at-home dad,  eSports, video games—and how, for Kristen,  technology is an act of making:

Share your own insights on our Facebook page.  Follow us  for updates on upcoming events, hear from other local women in tech, or nominate a speaker.

Sarah Risley at April’s Women in Tech Breakfast

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

Sarah Risley (@SarahRisley) is the Nuclear Training Accreditation Supervisor at Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Diablo Canyon Power Plant. In 2010, driven by her passion for recruitment and retention of women in technology, she founded the Diablo Canyon Chapter of U.S. Women in Nuclear (U.S. WIN). U.S. WIN is the premier network of more than 8,000 members that work in, and support nuclear and radiation-related fields, with a keen focus on public outreach and professional development. She continues on the board today, and also represents members from the central and pacific regions on the national level by her service on the U.S. WIN Steering Committee, and is the Executive Sponsor for the national Professional Development Committee. Sarah holds a Master of Business Administration from Cal Poly and Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication from the University of Texas, Austin. Sarah, her husband Chris, and their two young children reside in San Luis Obispo’s south county.

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Sarah’s insights on being a working mother,  movies—from Nightmare Before Christmas to Some Like it Hot—and women in tech: 

Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker.

SMV Tech Brew – April 2017

Last night the SMV Tech Brew at the Moxie Cafe was a standing room only event with every chair filled. The crowd came together to hear Brian Beaton PhD, and Bruce Burton from Cal Poly’s California Cyber Training Complex talk about the upcoming California Cyber Innovation Challenge in June. Included in the audiences were students from Orcutt Academy that are considering building a team for the competition.  With over 40 people in the audience we were at capacity.

SMV Tech Brew – Jeff Barnes

Last night about 25 people came together for a presentation from Jeff Barnes. The presentation started with a trip down memory lane talking about the evolution of CafeFX in Santa Maria. This was capped off with the demo roll that included many of the feature films that CafeFX during its 18 years in Santa Maria.

As always Jeff was a good storyteller and he made the presentation fun to listen to. The second half of the presentation was on Lytro camera technology and it is a real game changer. The data depth was amazing and the file sizes involved are just crazy but so are the abilities to edit after shooting. While Jeff went well over my head several times the parts I understood were amazing and the others probably was too. Jeff intended to get to the application for VR for this technology but we ran out of time. We are currently discussing with Jeff a possible second Tech Brew so we can finish our look at this subject.

On a personal note my son Ryan attended with his son Zeplen so here is a picture of three generations at a Softec meeting. For those that have been with Softec for a long time you might remember that my mother used to do guest check-in during the late 90’s so this makes it 4 generations of Softec in our family.

Call for Speakers 

Softec would like to hear from businesses or individuals that would be interested in speaking at Softec Events. Please reply to this email and include complete contact information, speaker bio, and topic description. Send this to events@softec.org
  • Softec holds Tech Brews in San Luis and Santa Maria each month and the presentation are approximately 20 minutes in length.
  • Softec holds Dinners that draw large crowds. Common format is a panel of experts talking on hot topics in tech.
  • Softec Open Houses are held in partnership with local businesses that are willing to give Softec an inside peek at cool tech things.
The first evaluation in giving someone a speaking slot is the WOW factor of the topic and speaker. Our mission in the community is to connect people, resources, and ideas to create a vibrant tech industry here on the central coast. We do this by creating fun events that attract smart people so they can meet other smart people. Over the last twenty plus years we have found that smart people talking about cool tech ideas create Softec moments.
Softec Moments are when people, ideas, and resources come together to create business formation or growth opportunities in our community. Many of the leading tech businesses in the region have one or more Softec moments in their history.

Kelly Irish at March’s Women in Tech Breakfast

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

Kelly is currently a software engineering manager at MindBody. She received a BS in computer science from Virginia Tech and has worked as a software engineer for the past 20 years. She’s coded for small consumer focused startups to business management software, but the majority of her time was spent coding for government contracts from submarines to surveillance.

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Kelly’s insights on submarines, coding, and women in tech: 

Want more? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker.

 

VR Demo @ Santa Maria Tech Brew

Well after a few problems with scheduling caused by storm related power outages we got our sneak peek at an innovation in VR being developed by Trevor Orrick. This was the first time the device has been seen outside of the development team so it really was an exclusive sneak peak and the tech is very cool.

Their innovation is the control mat that you stand on to control the action within the VR environment. 

During the demo the group could see on the monitor what the person wearing the headset was seeing and the quality of the images was remarkable. The headset was another company’s product supplemented by the mat control developed by Trevor’s team.

After a short talk the group got to try the device and here is Tim Williams CEO from Digital West giving it a try.  I tried this for the first time and it was disorientating but I am sure with some time that I would get better.

It was a great event with about 20 people attending.