To showcase the digital innovation happening all over Southern California, the first Silicon Beach Fest was held in Los Angeles last weekend. To bring you the inside scoop, we went to three panels at Hotel Erwin in Venice, CA, to hear digital media experts working on The Grammys, Team Coco, Fox Broadcasting, the Smashing Pumpkins, Social TV plus a Social Enterprise Panel doing social good. While many view Silicon Valley as the start-up hub, Silicon Beach is on the rise.
After organizing 7-8 panels/month, Digital LA created this conference that was presented by engage: BDR. The conference included keynotes (Eric Garcetti, LA City Council Member), a hackathon and themed venue hub events organized and / or hosted by companies (PromoJam, Google, TechZulu), accelerators (StartEngine, Amplify), as well as coworking spaces (Coloft, CoWorks, io/LA, Cross Campus, and Working Village.)
Some of the panel hubs featured were the Startup Hub, Leadership Hub, Hollywood Hub, Branding/Ad Hub and Hollywood Trek. Fest attendees and speakers included invited celebrities, start-ups, VCs, movie and music studio execs, agencies, fashion, content creators, artists, social media gurus, developers, and more that traveled from all over the country to Southern California.
The Music: Discovery and Social Media Panel included Rynda Laurel (1968 Media, Digital Manager, Smashing Pumpkins), Andrew Mains (Mobile Roadie COO), Lindsay Gabler (The Grammys, Social Media), Ricardo Diaz (TBWA/Chiat/Day, Director, Creative Technology) and Thomas Ford (Soundrop, US Ambassador.) The group debated the best ways to create a new experience for music fans through social media and live events. Another hot topic was whether artists should give music away for free to attract audiences to live events or protect their IP online.
This music panel was interactive, and took a poll about how people find music, and many raised hands for Spotify, Pandora, and Tumblr. Lindsay Gabler, The Grammys, spoke about their most recent awards show that was the biggest social media event ever, “This past campaign was huge in terms of our mobile strategy. Grammy Live is a 3-day live streaming of all Grammy coverage. We had our iPhone app, the iPad app, basically wherever you want to experience the Grammys or music, we’re there. And that’s how we look at everything.”
The TV Goes Social Panel was being talked about as the “best panel” at the Hotel Erwin rooftop party, but that's a tough claim since it would be impossible to get to every panel. Marc Karzen (Executive Producer/CEO, Relish) put together this panel of Hollywood experts including Hardie Tankersley, (Fox Broadcasting VP Innovation), Marc Scarpa (SimplyNew, X Factor Digital), Tim Campbell (Team Coco Digital) and Josh Warner (Feed Company, President.) This group talked about the power of real-time social, time shifting, downloads and how TV Everywhere is changing marketing, programming, production and distribution.
And then there was the Social Enterprise: Startups for Good Panel (full disclosure, I was on this panel.) Five social good startups spoke about the challenges of being for profit in the social good space, their ah ha moment, and best advice for anyone wanting to start a company. The panel was moderated by Brent Freeman (Rootz Founder, CEO), and included Chris Brereton (Picture Healing Co-Founder), Stacy McCoy (Give to Get Jobs), Bridget Hilton (Jack’s Soaps) and Liz H Kelly (Goody Awards Founder/CEO.)
It was unanimous that everyone on the Social Enterprise Panel encouraged everyone to “Just Do It.” The panel also stressed that all you need is a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) versus trying to have a complete product at launch. Most of the founders were able to launch their business for $2,000 - $7,000. One of my tips was to take 20 CEOs out to lunch, drinks or dinner based on advice from Magic Johnson during an EO Alchemy event last fall. After this panel, many lunch dates were set up (including the panel is planning a group lunch.
Overall, there was no shortage of great panels at Silicon Beach Fest’s first conference, and it was hard to keep up with all the opportunities. We caught the first 45 minutes of the 2 hour Surf and Skate Action Sports Go Digital and Social Panel moderated by Espree Devora (Apptopia, Zexsports,) and it was so hard to leave. We also made it to the closing party at 31Ten on Main Street, where we ran into Nicole Jordan (Radix Collective) and Steven Swimmer (Swimmer Media and Comedian) and did a debrief.
Congrats to everyone who participated in this first Silicon Beach Fest. And big shout out to Kevin Winston (Digital LA Founder and former Fox Interactive Media/MySpace co-worker) and the 150 volunteers on your huge success. For more digital entertainment panels and events in Southern California, visit http://digitalla.net