Author Archives: Nicole Jordan

About Nicole Jordan

I'm a geek that left Silicon Valley to take a 1 1/2 year break in NY before coming back out west. I now live in lovely Santa Monica and am enjoying emersing myself in the local business geek culture. To me, there is only one "valley" and it ain't here.

By Nicole Jordan

Give me a T! Give me a U! Give me 5! What’s that spell? Well, nothing, but it stands for SoCal’s most prominent and well-known (and attended) tech event — Twiistup, now on it’s 5th event!

If you haven’t heard of Twiistup yet it’s held twice a year on the west side of LA and connects people from technology, entertainment and media and focuses on the inspiration and innovation that start-ups and entrepreneurs bring to the industry and economy. Each event features several start-ups chosen by a panel of judges (Sarah Lacy was just announced) to ‘showoff’ their products & services to influential bloggers, fellow tech-heads, investors, the media and those interested in learning about what’s hot in tech. To date, Twiistup has attracted thousands of attendees and followers, including entrepreneurs, investors, media, job seekers, job providers, practitioners and people in a range of related fields.

The next Twiistup is scheduled for February 12th, 2009 at the same bat time, 7pm-midnight. July’s swank soiree at the Viceroy hotel featured a full game arcade and the uber-cool and uber-humble, Steve Wiebe of King of Kong fame, attempting to set the new world record.

How do you begin to top that? You hold the event in a private airplane hangar often used for filming television, movies and music videos. So appropriate for LA! And all that space (15,000 square feet!) will allow more people to attend, like those 600+ folks who were on the wait list for Twiistup4 because the event sold out before they got their tickets.

Showoffs range from under-the-radar to established companies with innovative products and solutions. The only rule is that the product, website, service, what have you, is accessible to the general public by February 2009. Successful submissions will be judged on the following attributes:

• Contribution to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, theory and community
• Value and appeal to Twiistup attendees
• Original, inspirational or thought-provoking content

To get your start-up in the queue to be considered check out the submission page. Or if you know of a company that should be invited to apply just let the team know and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win free tickets to the event.

Important Dates for Showoff Applicants:
• Proposal form due by: Dec 2, 2008
• Notification of acceptance: Jan 2009
• Twiistup 5 Showoffs announced: Jan 2009
• Twiistup 5: February 12, 2009

I’ve seen some of the initial plans. You don’t want to miss it. Get your tickets now before they’re gone. Price is $75 and includes an open bar.

Follow me on Twitter or check out my website.

By Nicole Jordan

This article has been brewing in my mind for five years but it just kind of sat there, not taking shape, only growing larger in substance. Two blog posts this week have kicked my ass in to gear to finally get initial thoughts down on (e)paper.

Steve Rubel, prominent blogger and, dare I say, PR person, started it off with this. Then Arrington followed up with this.

Both completely reinforce what I’ve long believed:

PR has a branding crisis.

By Nicole Jordan, LA Correspondent

What’s headed to San Francisco from LA for Web 2.0? It’s the SCHWAGGIN WAGON! (I think this just might be the most fantastic name for a wagon, ever.)

What the hell is a Schwaggin Wagon you ask? It’s an idea borne from motivated do-gooders from the LA community. The purpose is a brilliant yet simple one. Set-up shop outside Moscone and at various 2.0 parties throughout the week and collect unwanted schwag from conference-goers and the companies themselves.

The goal is to have the goodies fall into the hands of people who will get more use out of it than that dresser drawer or closet you shove it all in after you get home. “I felt that sometimes a lot of this stuff gets unused, and it might as well be used. It’s one thing for people to actually wear the stuff, but if they squirrel it away…. it defeats the purpose,” said Michael Liskin, creator of the Schwaggin Wagon idea.

Anyone who drops something off is free to exchange it with another item that catches their eye. Companies who have extra schwag laying around those marketing closets should also be encouraged to sync up and drop off. All goods will be donated to various shelters, folks in need and the kiddies at…because really, what do YOU need another light-up yo-yo or squeezie ball for?

The Wagon will be decked out with decals from the sponsors who quickly rallied to make this happen: Dogster, e-storm, Heavybag Media, Hydra Networks, JamBase, Twiistup, and Mashable.

So if you see the Schwaggin Wagon or any one of it’s reps, say hello. They’re great LA peeps that are making things happen down here. Some names to look out for: David Preciado, Marjorie Kase, Michael Liskin, Michael Lambie, Kyra Reed and Andy Sternberg to name a few.

Being the social media geeks they are (and I love ‘em for it) you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

And, being the wonderful people they are, the Schwaggin Wagon crew will be “shuttling your drunk arses” around to various W2.0 parties around town from 10pm to 3am on Wednesday. Just shoot them an email at: Wagon (at) You know they’ll all have their blackberries and iPhones on them to get those requests.

So, say “Hello!” and donate and give them thanks when they pick you up and drop you off at your hotel after one too many dirty martini’s and who knows what other dirty things you’ll get into. Schwaggin’ Wagon to the rescue! Saving show schwag from the trash and you from wandering SF streets looking for a cab.

Schwagineers in action!

By Nicole Jordan

I attended more events this past month than ever before. At each one I’ve met new interesting people, almost all working on some new stealth company that’s not launching for 3-6 months or is just getting off the ground. Thursday, March 27th was DealMaker LA’s first mixer. Held at the Clearstone Venture Partners office in downtown Santa Monica, 250 people packed their swank office, complete with wrap around balcony (which made for a nice shortcut through the crowd from the bar to the food.) A private VC speed date was held the hour before the event started. That Debbie Landa is a firecracker with a bell when those 5 minutes are up. When she says time’s up, she means it. It was pretty entertaining to watch. Some were nervous others clearly used to the routine. Receiving end VC’s: Clearstone, GRP Partners, Mike Jones,

CNBC made an appearance for a story about the startup scene and interviewed a number of people before things got too crazy. The flow of people was constant as was the chatter and I’m pretty sure it lasted longer than scheduled. I wouldn’t know. By 8pm my voice was hoarse, my feet were killing me and I still had work to do so I cut out. All in all a really strong kick-off.

Friday night was met with a big bear-hug to welcome CommunityNext to LA in the form of a pre-party at Air Conditioned in Venice, famed Twiistup stomping grounds (but not anymore.) It was a combination of Twiistup attendees and CommunityNext-goers, a recipe for a perfect cocktail. There was a great energy. Everyone was excited for the conference the next day and eager to chat and meet new people. I saw more than one laptop pulled out to show a website or demo, not to mention the constant poking at those things, what are they called? Oh right. iPhones. Everywhere.

Saturday was a full day of CommunityNext-ing. Noah Kagan and Karen Hartline are gracious hosts and throw a very worthwhile event. There were some pretty impressive speakers talking quite candidly with the audience. At least from what I could tell because, quite honestly, I couldn’t seem to tear myself away from the loungy back rooms at the venue (Level 3) where there was serious industry talk going on. Cameras interviewing new start-ups. Scoble on the, gasp, iPhone. Rafat Ali breaking some story. @mashable coming and going. Bloggers capturing it live. Entrepreneurs gathering impromptu talking about their business, technologies, anything and everything. One would get up, two more would sit down. It was a constant churn of enthusiasm and interesting people. I sat down on a couch and didn’t move for at least two hours, just absorbing it all. Talking to whomever was around. Got into a very enlightening conversation with Jon Bischke about start-up investment trends, the fracturing of the VC market, working with VC’s, current attitudes toward vs. angel investors and most entertaining to me the naming of hottest area of VC growth: the Sweet Spot. It’s that $500,00-1.5M range that’s fueling a ridiculous amount of start-up growth. It led to questions around how traditional VC’s are adjusting their investments to compete with private entrepreneur investors who have the start-up capital and the experience running and building companies inside and out. Fascinating and one I’m planning on exploring a lot more. Here’s some Flickr action from attendees.

Interested in checking out Community Next? Noah and Kagan are bringing “Game On” to Sunnyvale on June 21st. See their website for details.

Following CommunityNext it was time to head over to Seven for MashMeet LA 2. They knew it was going to be crowded but I think the Mashable guys under estimated their popularity. It was packed. As in: excuse me, excuse me, excuse me packed. A few times I just found a corner and sat down to get out of the crush. Stickam was there doing live videocasting with attendees. The TechZulu guys were at it again. There were so many people to catch up with and new people to meet it was hard to have a conversation for very long. I felt like I was doing laps the entire time, with each new turn running into someone else I hadn’t seen the last go round.

And how can I forget the FlashMashMeet sponsored by Causecast, in part to say thanks-for-visiting to Pete and to see him to his new home in San Francisco. Notice went out a few hours beforehand and a good 50 or so people popped in and grabbed some drinks, conversation and cards.

It was a lot in such a short period of time but it was totally invigorating. I recently heard from a venture reporter for a reputable venture-focused magazine that she’d heard from VC’s in SV that what we’re doing down here is a bunch of “wannabe mixers.” Anyone who takes the time to come here and meet the people I meet will be converted in an evening. The sheer force of of all these interested people working to build something is incredible. We’re not saying it’s there yet or even close but we’re working on it and everyone is enthused and ready for action. And that’s what matters. No TV crew or online article is going to capture it if you’re not here to experience it in person.

Check out Brian’s re-caps of’ trip to LA for TechSet/PopCrunch recap from April 9th and 10th.

Until next time…

Thanks to Andy Sternberg of LAist and Andrew Warner of Mixergy for letting me “borrow” their photos. Click their names to see the full sets.

By Nicole Jordan

Our community down here is growing up very fast. Last week saw four different events: DealMaker LA’s first mixer; Twiistup/CommunityNext pre-party; then the CommunityNext conference followed by the second MashMeet LA which was a really incredible time, not to mention totally packed. A re-cap on all of this is coming soon.

To hold you over until then I wanted to get a quick post up about Twiistup 4 since tickets *just* went on sale. Because awareness in the community is spreading so quickly the Twiistup crew ( is a media sponsor) is going bigger and better than ever.

Happening July 17th in Santa Monica at the Viceroy, at least 500 people are expected to turn out to have some drinks, make connections, do some deals and discover the best and brightest “Showoff” companies SoCal has to offer. If you have what it takes to be a Showoff, apply!

To check out what you missed at Twiistup 3, enjoy this CBS clip.

Connect with me on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

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