Silicon Valley to Silicon Beach

Connecting one more dot.

Uzair Hussain

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It’s spring of ‘09 in Los Angeles as I’m pulled over off Beverly Glen and Mulholland. I had spent the last 3 weeks flying back and forth from Chicago. Cruising around after my final interview at CAA earlier in the day for an IT executive assistant role, the phone rings with the decision. It was not what I wanted to hear and I was devastated.

Today, I want to share a ‘how-to-guide’ for all of us to enjoy my next journey. This journey takes me right back to SoCal, in the heart of Silicon Beach and the LA startup community.

‘Silicon Beach’ is the appointed term for Santa Monica, LA because of the recent growth in technology companies located within.

What did I learn from Silicon Valley?

Collaborate.

As an entrepreneur at heart, its innate to attempt tackling everything by yourself. Along the way, you realize you can’t do everything alone and when you need the help, it’s not immediately available on a silver platter. You must build community around your product and that doesn’t come easy without collaborating with others around you. As more hands dive in to the problem you are attempting to solve, vested emotions also become a part of the product. These vested feelings fight for you when you can’t speak on behalf of the product and in turn, create your earliest promoters.

Always collaborate. You will only get better at your own craft.

Why am I moving?

Disrupt Education.

Raised in the States, I was fortunate enough to attend schools that challenged me, both, intellectually & socially. In fact, my family immigrated from Karachi, Pakistan right before I started Kindergarten so I got an in-depth experience all the way through college.

Majority of the time, the teachers were great. It was the organization that wasn’t to my favor. Being a kinesthetic learner, I absorbed best hands-on so inevitably, if you place me in a 300 person lecture hall, chances are you don’t have my full attention. In turn, I would satisfy my curiosity for answers via search engines and a maniacal obsession to online communities.

“General Assembly is an educational institution that transforms thinkers into creators through education in technology, business and design at nine campuses across four continents.” (GA Press Page)

Long story short, General Assembly has been killing it in the education realm as of late. Technology students are not only completing immersive programs, but professionals are also realizing benefits to add to their skill sets and extended networks via evening course programs. So you mean to tell me, this is an environment where I can obtain core skills to become a ‘unicorn’ and be taught by professionals in the same field I want to work in? Hm.

I am excited to share that I am joining the Santa Monica team to help grow the Business & Design side of the School in its earliest stages. This is where I get to be quite creative and collaborate with industry professionals in the community. I will engage with technology, business, & design students to create an entirely fresh take on learning while jumpstarting a brand new ecosystem for professionals looking to grow their network. (This goes back to earlier about building communities around a product launch. You would empower students excited to learn about what you are working on.)

What about Cleu?

It only gets better with Cleu.

When I was a publicity intern at Allied, I was exposed to the entertainment & film industry in Chicago. Although I was merely an intern, I was able to cross paths with LA executives to A-list talent and red carpet events. These experiences sparked an entirely new respect for the industry and the power it holds in influence and social change. More importantly, I believe the LA tech arm has so much potential and I’m all about the underdog.

When you use a tool such as an alarm clock, that is seen every night and first in the morning, the experience also allows for influence and social change right in the beginning of the day. This is the intersection I am most excited about.

So work will continue with Cleu. In fact, we’re working on our next version and we could use some help with the deeper iOS development. Being a distributed team, we’ve had great success working from different locations. If you think you can help, shoot us a note.

“To create ideas is a gift, but to choose wisely is a skill.” — Ryan Morgan

How can we collaborate?

Talk to me.

Up in the San Francisco/Bay area, I feel like I’m living in the future. The intellect here and the fuel for innovation is on another level. I would almost say, it’s irreplaceable.

That being said, I have been able to live in the trenches of Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur launching a mobile product. Not only has this refined me in to a Product-focused founder but I’ve also managed to make some really cool and super intelligent friends.

This year I look forward to a ‘50 collaborations’ project. I will share my skills and collaborate on 50 projects throughout the year. Being in a creative space, such as LA, should make this goal quite fun.

Peace.

That’s all I know for now. God-willing, until the next dot.

:::salute:::

-Uzair

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