We will be joining Geelong Silicon Beacherson the beach at the beautiful Eastern Waterfront in Geelong. Come join us. Let’s celebrate!
100+ members in 7 months is something to celebrate. Besides, this is the last GSB meetup for 2015.
We will catch the Vline and join the Geelong Silicon Beachers on the Eastern Beach Reserve Geelong Waterfront for an awesome time. We’ll aim for the 5:06 train. Check the train times here, in case you miss it, there is a train 9 mins later. It’s a short 15-20 mins walk to the waterfront from Geelong station.
Keep an eye on the comments section below. In case of bad weather, we will retreat to our usual venue, Beav’s Bar 77-79 Little Malop Street.
Geelong, a place that used to be an industrial town – with a rich heritage in wool, auto and aluminium industries is transforming slowly but surely into a beautiful city by the bay with new, clean technology at the forefront. The energy, vibrancy and the hope for the future around this city is palpable.
This despite the fact that Ford car plant and Alcoa are closing next year, putting hundreds of people out of their jobs. The remarkable resilience of Geelong siders is a testimony to the pioneering spirit of us, Aussies. We never say die, do we? I suppose that’s one reason this startup culture of living on the edge suit us so well.
Geelong already leads the nation in sports technology with the Australian Sport Technology Network based there. The local ICT industry association, ICT Geelong has strong links to the Silicon Valley. Together with ASTN, they regularly bring out valley luminaries like Steve Blank and Jerry Engel to Geelong.
In fact Steve Blank wrote this article after his last visit to Geelong, pointing out the need for a “startup playbook” for each region of the world. That we should stop trying to imitate Silicon Valley in every aspect and write our own playbooks.
But I digress. Let’s get back to how GSB came about. Alison and Todd, founders of Startup Cloud (co-working space in Geelong), used to catch the train to our meetups regularly and pitch Startup Cloud to the Melbourne Silicon Beachers. I went there couple of times and liked what they do there. More importantly, how they go about it. They ‘get’ startups. So few in the service industries that support startups actually understand startups and appreciate the difficulties startup founders and wannabe founders face.
In April this year, I told them to heck with it, let’s do it. We opened a Silicon Beach meetup in Geelong. There were no feasibility studies, no strategy, no plans, no idea if it will ever workout. We didn’t even do a survey monkey 😉
What about that all familiar feeling, the fear of failure? The inner voice that tells you “oh, this mightn’t work, you would end up with egg on your face. How would you cope… etc” I let those thoughts go. Something I learnt when I started practising meditation. Besides, isn’t failure a good thing? It teaches you so much.
What about the external voices? Those people who instinctively say “no” to anything new and innovative? Yeah, there were a few of them. It’s important to listen to them and ask them why they say no. We ignored those who couldn’t give a valid reason for saying no. We assumed it was based on fear – fear of change or fear of failure or whatever. Those who had what seemed valid concerns, we addressed them over time. Today they are our biggest supporters.
We took the cue from the founders of original Silicon Beach in Sydney. They started a bulletin board, which became a Google group called Silicon Beach Australia (which is still very active). Out of this initiative grew the network of Silicon Beach communities on meetup.com.
In starting GSB, we were in fact testing the water. Looking back, it was a pilot project to see if we could rekindle that pioneering spirit – although it wasn’t started with that intention – that’s what it became. The experience in Geelong has proven to us that we can do it – provided there is “buy-in” from the locals in the area. There was tremendous support from the small but very committed startup & ICT community in Geelong and surrounding areas. It was heartening for us, the few Melbournians there, to see people travelling from Torquay, Anglesea, Lara etc. to be there at Beav’s Bar, our regular venue.
In 2016 we hope to collaborate with Startup Victoria in taking the spirit of Melbourne Silicon Beach to the regional cities of Victoria. Geelong has shown us it works. And then with Startup Tasmania to Hobart and maybe to Launceston. And perhaps even resurrect Adelaide Silicon Beach with some TLC. They have only around 250 members and haven’t had a meetup since October 2013.
But I digress, again! Next Thursday we will catch the Vline and join the Geelong Silicon Beachers on the Eastern Beach Reserve Geelong Waterfront for an awesome time. We’ll aim for the 5:06 train. Check the train times here, in case you miss it, there is a train 9 mins later. It’s a short 15-20 mins walk to the waterfront from Geelong station.
In case of rain (which is a possibility, Geelong is not that far from Melbourne, you know). Keep an eye on the comments section below for updates. Alison’s got contingency plans in place – we have a booking at the usual venue, Beav’s Bar, just in case. Alison took over from me as the Lead Organiser of GSB last month – becoming the first female to a head a Silicon Beach community. She is a co-organiser of the local Entrepreneurs Geelong meetup, so the Silicon Beach tradition of collaboration NOT competition is alive and well in Geelong.
As always, it will be pretty informal – just like MSB, just like a startup. There will be no nametags, use LinkedIn to connect (why do people still print business cards?), mingle, get to know some new people to help you on your journey. But more importantly look for someone you can lend a helping hand to. Bring some of that Silicon Valley culture of “Paying it Forward” to the Silicon Beach. Without that culture, our dream of becoming something even remotely like the Silicon Valley will remain just that – a dream.
You are most welcome to pitch your startup, startup idea, small business, marketing agency, professional service etc during the night. You know the form.
Since our community consists of startup founders, wannabe founders, app/web developers, creatives etc in the startup space, please keep the pitches relevant to them. We might take photographs, make some audio recordings for SB Radio and might even live stream via Periscope for SB TV. So come prepared!
See you on the tracks.
Let’s collaborate – it needs more than one community to grow an eco-system