Spotlight on Next Gen @ West LA Chapter Manager Zach Silverman
Meet the Next Gen @ West LA Chapter Manager Zach Silverman: New to LA himself, Zach recognized that networking events are often ineffective, and is setting out to create events that elevate through discussion and community building in his leadership this term.
What is special about the entrepreneurial scene in West LA?
I think what makes the Los Angeles tech scene here so special is how excited everyone is in various parts of the city, and how much room to grow exists. Obviously we have Silicon Beach in Venice and Santa Monica, but everyone is jumping on the train because they see how fast it’s going. Downtown Los Angeles, which is starting to grow beyond Staples Center and L.A. Live, is integrating the startup community into its expansion; Glendale, just east of the city, is working directly with its local government to create an environment beneficial to tech and startups. It was a surprise to me even to hear how new the tech/startup community was, and so there’s a lot of excitement with a lot of potential given the appeal of Los Angeles as a whole.
What's the most exciting local resource in your Local Resource Guide?
The most exciting local resource in my Local Resource Guide would definitely be the variety and availability of coworking spaces. When people think of coworking spaces, they obviously think of WeWork first and foremost. However, there are a plethora of coworking spaces out there in all areas of Los Angeles that are working to bring together various communities and support entrepreneurs and growing companies. If you’re looking for a coworking space, don’t be afraid to look outside of WeWork, or even some of the more popular ones here in Los Angeles like the ones I’ve listed. At this point, coworking spaces are a serious financial investment, and you should know what you’re paying for beyond just the free coffee and a desk (if you even get that). Many of the coworking spaces in the city are their own entity and so they offer unique and different experiences that the larger ones don’t because of their size. I highly recommend to find a coworking space you can truly make your community.
What can local entrepreneurs expect from your leadership this year?
If you’re looking for a lot of pitch events and happy hours, I’ll apologize ahead of time because that’s not the kind of community I want to build. I attended a lot of networking events when I first moved here, and I’ve never felt satisfied with any of them. What you can expect from me is very simple: Effectively responding to feedback from my community, and elevating events to provide value no one is willing to provide. I’m looking to speak to as many people as possible, and understand what they do and do not enjoy about the community that currently exists, and create experiences around that feedback. That means if there is a large number of people looking for pitch events and happy hours, then I will be happy to provide them for those community members; however, I’m going to work extra hard to provide positive experiences that I know will provide value to high level people here in Los Angeles. I’ll be working to create micro-communities looking to connect frequently; I want to organize smaller and intimate events with guided activities and discussion; eventually, I would love to create a lay leadership team looking to build and foster their own communities all with the institutional support of Next Gen Summit. I want to focus on high level people looking to engage in high level experiences.