Local Tech Startups Share Knowledge at Santa Cruz Works – Santa Cruz Sentinel Event
SANTA CRUZ — The sixth annual Titans of Tech was a who’s who of Santa Cruz technology, business and local influence.
Local tech startups showed up on Wednesday to showcase their own innovations while 10 local technologists were honored by Santa Cruz Works on the Casablanca Inn’s back patio. But it was more than a prize for these 10 winners. They used their time to pass the torch to the next generation and offer guidance on becoming a local tech giant.
For many winners, it was about starting with nothing and working towards something. They all had their humble beginnings and are now considered tech titans in Santa Cruz.
Interestingly, a few of the evening’s winners didn’t even start their working lives in tech.
Becca Fenwick earned her doctorate in marine geology and geophysics before directing drone technology at UC Santa Cruz. Additionally, Chris Miller, the president of Cloud Brigade, started out as an auto mechanic before getting into computers in the early days of the internet.
“Where you start definitely doesn’t control where you end up,” Fenwick told budding technologists.
Other themes of the evening centered around sticking to your idea, even if it doesn’t seem to be going as planned.
Our Future’s Michael Sikand, whom Santa Cruz Works has dubbed Santa Cruz’s next media mogul, urged people on the ground to keep working for progress, especially if others refuse.
Sikand taught a lesson that could be learned from Hint founder Kara Goldin. She was looking for a flavored water drink as a solution to her Coca Cola addiction, he shared. She even met the CEO of the soft drink company for advice, who told her the idea wasn’t great. She took that as a sign to push harder, he noted.
Philippe Kahn with Fullpower Technologies hammered home the idea of perseverance. His mantra is to be resilient and to keep working towards a goal, regardless of the challenges ahead.
“The most important thing you can do is never give up,” he said. “There are going to be all kinds of challenges.”
Other winners included Alexander Wolf from UCSC Baskin School of Engineering, Hilary Bryant from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, James Hackett and Chris Frost from Equal Access Santa Cruz, Nicole Beck from 2NDNATURE Software, and Roya Pakzad from Taraaz Research. .
The evening ended with a small animation, as is the tradition of the Titans of Tech. Speakers lost track of time as they proudly shared their perspective on the industry, making the event last over an hour. As per tradition, Santa Cruz program director Mathew Swinnerton had to entertain the crowd, this time allowing attendees to pour buckets of ice water over him as the ocean air chilled overnight.