LA Uncubed Job Fair/Block Party in Santa Monica
28 Jul 2015
Uncubed returned to Los Angeles, California for another insanely fabulous summer block party in Downtown Santa Monica. The mission: link job seekers in the tech industry with hiring startups. However, Uncubed is not your average boring job fair. LA Uncubed’s day of food trucks, open bar, freebies from every company present, upbeat music, sidewalk art, Pacific Ocean breeze and California sunshine was complemented with presentations and cool demos from some of the leading companies in the tech industry as well as newcomers with remarkable products and services.
Maria Burns Ortiz, co-founder and COO of Evrybit, the app for live mobile storytelling, presented on The Future of News in the Sharing Economy. Ortiz supplied the audience with important information on monetizing and organizing news stories captured by individuals for social media and other venues of online news consumption.
Lukas Sliwka, CTO of Grindr, gave a technologically-intense presentation on Building Secure Mobile Applications. Sliwka’s information was so comprehensive in regard to the Anatomy of a Mobile Attack that I was compelled to take very good notes… notes I will pass on to my mobile web developer for her to translate into less-tech-intensive English for me. Lukas Sliwka was extremely knowledgeable in building mobile applications that are hacker-free and the audience at Uncubed were more than happy to absorb his expertise.
Kelly McSweeny, Lead Partner Product Manager at Red Bull TV, presented on The Changing Landscape of Digital TV. Red Bull TV is on the forefront of digital TV programming, providing high energy content for millennials in thirty-seven countries around the world. Red Bull TV promotes inspirational stories, produces music festivals, live sporting events, films and currently they are in the pilot stage for scripted series. McSweeny’s presentation gave the audience a peek into the future of Red Bull TV and a few valuable ideas on how tech experts will be able to follow Red Bull’s model of providing digital entertainment for the 18 – 34 crowd who are not beholden to traditional appointment TV.
My second favorite presenter was Dante Orpilla, the co-founder and CEO of Dials. Dials is “The calendar for people that absolutely hate calendars,” explains Dante. This amazing app produces a circular clock-like calendar of your events which provides a succinct visual of a start and end time for each event. Orpilla does a lot of community outreach and education about the prison industrial complex as a way of giving back. While serving time in prison, Dante taught a computer class where he taught inmates how to design apps using phones they drew on paper. The years Dante spent in prison taught him the value of time and that he should respect people’s time by never wasting it. This was Dante’s motivation for creating Dials, an ingenious time management solution.
My favorite presenter was Allan Jones, the CMO of ZipRecruiter. Jones’ presentation was on Diversity in Tech, or the lack thereof. According to Jones, “Lack of diversity fosters groupthink.” Jones spoke in-depth about the detriment to companies and societies that do not seek and enforce diversity within the ranks. Why aren’t more companies diverse? Jones explains:
1. Systemic barriers – urban communities lack pathways. Less access to technology and role models in the field.
2. Gender bias from tech interest.
3. Geographic dispersion of jobs.
A baby-boomer in the audience noted that ageism was also another form of discrimination that is rarely talked about. Twenty-eight-year-old Jones apologized for and acknowledged his oversight and even labeled himself a dickhead for not including ageism on the list of barriers to diversity in technology.
Jones said that the best ways to increase diversity in technology are engagement, education and addressing the existing biases. Jones also recommended double-blind recruitment as a way to increase diversity in the workforce. He noted that resumes with black-sounding names are 50% less likely to be acknowledged simply because of the name alone. Double-blind recruitment is also necessary to increase the number of women hired in tech companies as a woman’s resume is also less likely to be acknowledged than her male counterparts.
With 10 of the 18 employees at Uncubed being women, Uncubed surpasses the average tech company by far in having more than 50% of their company operated via women in positions of power. Uncubed’s own Olivia Asiala, spoke with Black Syrup Media to highlight the issues facing women in technology as well as how Uncubed serves as a leader in the solution.
The relaxed atmosphere of LA Uncubed’s tech block party is a striking difference to the corporate world. With pioneers behind and in front of the podium, this block party/job fair attracts startups and jobseekers in the tech industry looking for the perfect fit. I will definitely be attending next year and I hope to recruit one of the amazing tech-savvy attendees to our growing team.