Friday, December 08, 2000

The Cyber Scene in San Diego - by Lilia Phleger Benjamin

            Greetings from San Diego...aka Bandwidth Bay, Telecom Alley, Silicon
            Beach (wait, that doesn't sound right). My name is Lilia Phleger
            Benjamin, and I am going to do my best over the next few months to give
            you an idea of what is hip and happening in San Diego's own Cyber Scene.

            A lot has been happening in the geek-scene lately, so let's start with
            the new groups in town. Last month I got an invitation to join a new
            group called the Internet Strategy SIG. Kind of vague, but I figured hey,
            if they want me, who am I to say no? Rob Gordon, who is coming out of a
            Silicon Valley haze and now wants to establish himself in San Diego,
            started the group in October. The meeting was sponsored by Winstar
            (, and the highlight of the evening was the talk
            by Cliff Numark (president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Technology
            Alliance) on effective business strategies. Cliff is really something by
            the way. If you ever want to feel like you have wasted the last twenty
            years of your life, take a look at his bio at the SDRTA website
            ( And he doesn't look a day over 35...

            On Monday night I went to the second meeting of the SD Chapter of WITI
            (Women in Technology International). The meeting was held at the Silver
            Gate Yacht Club on Shelter Island, and combined a clothing drive for
            underprivileged women with a planning meeting on mentoring programs.
            Carey Storm (SD Chapter Leader) is certainly charismatic (think 6 feet
            tall and bright red hair), and has attracted a lot of baby-boomer,
            established techno-women to join forces to build the chapter. The next
            meeting for the San Diego chapter of WITI ( will take
            place in February 2001.

            I also got a chance this week to tour the Technology Resources Center at
            the SAIC ( What a place. Our guide was John
            Brackett, who is working to build strategic training partnerships between
            SAIC, the world's largest employee owned IT company, and the community at
            large. I didn't realize it, but SAIC is a close second in employee
            population to San Diego's leading tech company, Qualcomm. I have to
            admit, from the Starbucks coffee in the employee cyber cafÈ to the
            classrooms filled with the latest equipment (including removable hard
            drives for students)...I was impressed.

            Tuesday night was the Techniquelle ( Holiday
            Mixer at the Epicentre (, one of San Diego's
            most hip, happening, and WIRED teen centers. Techniquelle is one of three
            new "women in technology" groups to launch in San Diego in the past three
            months, and it is so far the most active one to date. The best part of
            the evening was talking to the geeks-in-training...9th grade boys leaning
            back in their big shoes and baggy pants and talking code. Ah, but where
            were the girls? That's what Techniquelle hopes to change...

            And finally, the end of the week will see me doing the Sprocket dance at
            an event put on by ddstudio and 911Art at the Sushi Performance and
            Visual Art Gallery. Not only do I get to play technogeek, I also get to
            make ornaments for their virtual Christmas tree, listen to jazz, and
            watch Gerardo Nevarra's performance art. Should be an interesting close
            to an interesting week!

            Disclaimer of the week: The writer is co-founder and managing partner of