Thursday, May 29, 2014

Every summer since 2011, the brightest minds of Silicon Beach have gathered together at the behest of TechZulu for a night of networking, games and liquid refreshments, hosted at various startup/Accelerator/Incubator offices all over Los Angeles. Dubbed Tech Crawl, the event has proven hugely successful, so it’s no surprise to hear it’s returning for 2014.
For the uninitiated, Tech Crawl is like a pub crawl, but with bars, glasses and boors replaced by desks, plastic cups and enlightening conversation about the relative merits of html and xml. Trails of techies traipse around Santa Monica, stopping into a different office for a booze, a schmooze and a nosh every 45 minutes or so. For an event peopled by so many computing whizz kids, it’s a surprisingly lo-tech affair which aims to put the achievements of Silicon Beach in a social context in order to facilitate new alliances and spark fresh ideas.
Beyond the all-important relationship-forging and creative buzzing, events like Tech Crawl are crucial to the long-term survival of this ‘factory of ideas’ by the ocean. Downtown Santa Monica may have one of the densest populations of tech companies anywhere in the world, but there remains the sense that she still plays second fiddle to her older, more established forbear in the north.
Not that it bothers the people who inhabit this world. In Silicon Beach, the brains and productivity are more than matched by the effortless, laissez-faire attitude for which Los Angeles is famous. In fact, this relaxed approach has been instrumental in fostering an atmosphere of unfettered creativity, where no idea is too big, small or outré to be given consideration. Here, they understand that events like Tech Crawl are just as likely to throw up the next ‘Eureka’ moment as a staff meeting.
The first Tech Crawl of 2014 kicks off tonight at 6pm, with the roster looking like this:
  • 6pm. Cross Campus, a coworking space for numerous startups.
  • 6.30pm. General Assembly, which runs classes on all things tech.
  • 7.30pm. CallFire.
  • 8pm. GumGum, the high quality in-image ad platform for publishers.
  • 8.30pm. NearWoo.
  • 9pm. SurfAir.
  • 9.30pm. ParkMe, the cheap parking locator app.
For anyone involved in the tech industry, it promises to be an exciting evening of networking and bridge-building. So dust off your nuggets of wisdom on the future of graphic design, UX and code, or just grab a beer and a mic (yes, at least one venue promises karaoke) and join Tech Crawl 2014.