Over the past couple of years we have visited small business and entrepreneur support organizations in LA (the Convergence Technology Council/CTC), OCTANe in Orange County, the San Diego Software Industry Council/SDSIC in San Diego, and the Silicon Valley Product Management Association (SVPMA). Last night I visited the Catalyst for Thought group in Santa Barbara, and attended their November program "Building a Thriving Business: How to avoid the common pitfalls."
CATALYST MISSION: An official event and lecture series promoting entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and philanthropy for entrepreneurs and professionals.
- Invest In Yourself: Get educated and motivated through dynamic speakers and connected with valuable networking opportunities
- Invest In your Community: Net proceeds from Catalyst event ticket sales benefit non-profits
The guest lecturer Tuesday evening (10 Nov 2009), Ms. Susan Urquhart-Brown, is a private consultant from Oakland offering individual coaching for entrepreneurs. She is a former columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, and author of the book "The Accidental Entrepreneur: 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Starting a Business."
SocalTech.Com reported on Friday (22 May) that Bill Snitzer has created a new Twitter robot pushing real-time earthquake information to subscribers. @earthquakesLA is a good utility, providing both text and graphic information using data supplied by the US Geological Survey (USGS), including expanded location information.
Twitter is rapidly gaining interest as not only a social networking tool, but also a utility used for emergency notifications. Recent fires in the Santa Barbara area (Jesusita fires, May 2009) moved so quickly that normal city emergency notifications could not meet the needs of residents and students in the affected areas.
Students took the lead in quickly establishing a notification system through Twitter, giving Twitter users the information they needed to both evacuate and avoid getting caught in the path of a killer wildfire. While it is hard to quantify actual results of "TwitterNet" on personal safety in the Jesusito fires, it is safe to assume immediate information at a minimum served the purpose of alerting many people they were in harm's way, and to get to a safe location or rallying point.