This time I give my own rundown of cool shit happening in SF including my most appreciated events, spaces and top moments of 2012.
Best event for meeting people?
Depends on what kind of people you want to meet…
People in tech and startups? I’d recommend heading to a hack weekend like Startup Weekend or AngelHack as you really get to know someone by working with them. The first ever friend I made in SF was at a SW in July 2010 (hello Jenn!) – and I didn’t even make it through the whole weekend.
I tend to shy away from busy drink-based mixers but if you’re after solid networking (with some knowledge sharing), head along to a StartupGrind, DrinkEntrepreneursSF, SF New Tech, Hack and Tell, Designers + Geeks and so forth.
Best event for content shared and learnings?
You can’t go past the Commonwealth Club – seriously, it’s unique to the area, covers cross-industry chats and is where I first met my online doppelgänger Kate Kendell at (note the ‘e’ instead of ‘a’).
I haven’t been able to get to a PandoMonthly event but watch the videos online. Sarah Cuda’s doing a great job with cutting the crap in a tech Oprah style.
Both the annual conference and monthly chats version of Cassie Phillip’s FailCon are worth heading along to. Then you can’t go past Airbnb TechTalks (also streamed online). CollabChats is another series you can’t find elsewhere in the world – Emily Castor does a great job of covering the collaborative consumption space. Sharers of SF by Chelsea Rustrum ties the sharing economy in nicely too.
I don’t get down to the Bay as much as I’d like to but I always find MIT/Stanford’s VLAB worth the Caltrain trip.
Personal event stye preference (breakfast/conference/workshop/etc/etc)?
Smaller gatherings hence kicking off The Fetch Dinner Conversations series.
Favourite source of local community news?
Outside the biased recommendation for The Fetch, I love love love The Bold Italic – we often feature some of their best articles in our email digests.
Then there’s the news sites like SFGate which I check sporadically.
Favourite coworking space?
I got to check out Makeshift Society in Hayes Valley for the first time last week and felt at home with the vibe instantly. It’s a smaller space otherwise known as a “clubhouse and coworking space for creatives” and I found it refreshing to be out of the tech clique.
An an Aussie Citizen, Soma-based StartupHQ run by an Australian and New Zealander has mostly been my base though. They had some mega ‘First Friday’ events in summer that helped me settle in and house some great guys who’ve been there, done that before.
In 2013, I’m keen to check out what’s happening in the East Bay scene though as there’s so much opportunity there. It’s a little like how Brooklyn emerged as an alternative to Manhattan since the latter grew too expensive for creatives. In any case, stay across our Coworking in SFBA in the meantime.
Favourite cafe with wifi?
What’s been a personal highlight and not so high moment of the year?
Riding this wave and seeing an incredible community come together to help build their local ecosystems. It’s humbling to be able to work with such a passionate, aware and smart crew of curators. Not to forget our 70-person plus ambassador network. The feeling like this has become a real thing that’s grown and escaped me is incredible.
Not so high moment – well there’s lots! Working hard to create something requires energy – it’s like a fitness. You need to build up resilience and your confidence. I thought writing my 14K-word thesis was a slog (hello attention span!) but doing a startup is like being permanently in college exam-time.
Going fulltime on The Fetch was also a big unknown – but six months later, I’d say I’ve never been as strong, grateful and unfazed by things as I am now.
What have you enjoyed about being involved with The Fetch in 2012?
Being able to work across the globe (I trekked to every Fetch city asides from Auckland/NZ in the past year!) and noticing there’s so many similarities everywhere. You know how startups have that X of Y thing going? Well, you can do the same thing with people. It hilarious and reminds me of that Simpson’s episode where there’s a town that’s exactly like Springfield, a mirror or copy. I’m sure there’s another Kate Kendall writing almost exactly the same post as I type!
What are you looking forward to in 2013?
Less travel (I know, I know, hard life but it can be disorientating). Exercise (hopefully even getting back into indoor or outdoor soccer). Doing a lot more writing and blogging.
Doing more product and community development for The Fetch. Although someone should stop me… I’m not talking about feature bloat… this will be feature obesity if I’m not careful! 😉