Thursday, January 13, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Los Angeles ~ by Suzanne Hornwood

VIC@The Victorian January 13, 2000
The first VIC of 2000 was an explosion of an event. I got a call on my cell at about 8pm from a friend.  "Abort your mission, there are 200 people squeezed onto the patio, the house is full, more lined up waiting to get in and people standing on the stairway." What a VIC! This month was an experimental member drive with free admission and the closest deifintion of 'rubbing elbows' that has ever occurred here. I delayed about an hour and then headed up stream toward the action to dive in.

The house was buzzing and from the outside seemed to sway with activity. Scanning the crowd I saw some power VICsters but mostly newbies. Leah Cohen from Shandwick International, a major PR firm in town, made this her first VIC in a while. Roger Lai and Arif Aaron Suwandi, both MBA students at USC's Marshall School, were initiated to VIC life and, I'm sure, did their share of fending off employment offers.

Robert Hyry, a channel and alliance manager for Intel, waited on line down the block to get in, and met up with me in the front room. He's recently moved from Seattle and glows when he says he lives near the beach.  Robert built two ISP's from the ground up and sold them, turned around and moved here to help Intel extend their reach around the county.

As I made my way around I kept hearing the same thing from people considering new opportunities. Companies have to create the right work environment, benefits and, most importantly, values. Employees with a year or more experience in this business are highly sought after and can name what they want. Shari Bare (, a freelance art director, is considering finding a full time home with a local developer. Being her own boss for years, she is looking for solid projects, freedom to maneuver within business goals, a company that is accountable to their clients and flexible to change.

Traffic Station's Richard Kerrill was on hand to give demos of their technology as frequent sponsors of the VIC. Traffic Station reports on accidents, slow downs and clear routes for your commute. The great part is that they can notify you by pager, phone or online and update you as often as you wish. Richard noted that they are already in twenty cities and are adding five more by the end of January. I bet the screen is always blipping 'traffic jam' at Cloverfield and Olympic by the Water Garden, what a zoo.

And just when I thought the evening was over, I was lured to an afterparty at La Vecchia next door to wrap up an exciting evening with Tony Greenberg of DEN (, David Conlan from CTP (, Darren Hereford, and Darren Eng, Lindsay O'Hara, Kelly Dwyer and John Gabree of VIC ( David Loomstein, a Group Product Manager at Symantec, sat across from me and told me the story about how he started his five years there.  When he was deciding where to go after earning his MBA, he said that he picked the best product out there (Norton Antivirus), researched the company, and pursued.

About the Author - Suzanne Hornwood has recently joined the Los Angeles team of Arc eConsultancy after spending nearly three years with AppNet Los Angeles. Her new role leads her to a firm dedicated to digital strategy, information achitecture and project stewardship. Born and raised in Los Angeles, her hobbies include ham radio performance art, power schmoozing, and petting small animals. Suzanne can be reached at