LAist.com interview

Posted by Kurt Daradics on January 03, 2009
Post in LAist Dec 2008 - News Editor Andy Sternberg contributed to this post

On Thursday night, close to a thousand LA Tech scenesters are expected to join together for the first Digital Family Reunion at the Skirball Center. It's an important event that recognizes that Los Angeles, just like Silicon Valley, is a technology and internet hub.

Veterans of the local tech scene will be happy to know that Digital Family Reunion comes in the tradition of the Venice Interactive Community aka VIC.

"VIC was THE largest interactive web technology networking outfit during the dot com boom that peaked in 2002 with about 80 events that year with over 3,000 paying members and 10,000 on their mailing list," co-producer Kurt Daradics wrote in an e-mail to LAist. "It was founded in the mid 90's by Brad Nye and included board members Tony Winders (current VP. Marketing at Value Click Media) and Mark Jeffrey (CTO at Mahalo.com). Prior to VIC there was an outfit called LawNMoweR (yes that's the spelling) that long time LA tech entrepreneur Jim Jonnason founded...so the DFR is bridging the generations of tech entrepreneurs in Southern California..."

So is that where the "family reunion" comes in?

Kurt Daradics: The 'family' relates to the back story of a very rich and vibrant history of interent entrepreneurs in LA. All the way back to LawNMoweR and VIC. Plus, Brad Nye, VIC Founder, hasn't done a tech event in LA in a long time after having moved up North to the SF Bay. He was a major catalyst during the internet 1.0 in socal.

What motivated you to make it happen all over again?

Kurt Daradics: My motivation was simple curiosity and the desire to not reinvent the wheel. For the past year or so, I have been connecting the dots and following many strings when meeting folks that have been through business cycles and have the capital, experience, and connections. I did this for two reasons, one to build up my Rolodex and meet the right people, and secondly so that I could to help be a significant infomediary (connector) for my peers, all these smart and talented entrepreneurs who have the next new idea and energy to see it through.

What do you hope people get out of this?

Kurt Daradics: I've learned that if you help enough folks get what they want, that I get what I want. To be sure, I've thought about this a lot, and when you distiill it all down, I'm most interested in solving these sort of a questions, like "How do we find ways to collectively inspire and engage our culture to critically think, creatively and quickly, to solve todays critical problems, demonstrating benevolence towards future generations?" Perhaps that sounds utopian or unachievable, but in the contect of the DFR, we're asking the question, "IF we knew how connected we all are, how would that change everything?" I'm excited about the new administration and have faith in the American ideal, yes we can, right?

What we're most looking forward to catalzying new and old relationships and helping set the stage for 2009...seems this sort of thing is very timely and needed.