Two things to know today…

There are two news items about the Santa Cruz TECH scene out today:

1. An NPR Marketplace NATIONAL broadcast: Sick of the commute, Santa Cruz tries own tech hub
But the local tech ecosystem is growing. Close to 100 people showed up to a recent weeknight tech meet-up downtown, sponsored by the Santa Cruz Office of Economic Development. “Five years ago, we really had to beg to get people here,” says Doug Erickson, a regular on the Santa Cruz tech scene. Afterwards, commuters fill out a survey designed to find out what it would take to make them stay in Santa Cruz. “What percentage of your current compensation would a Santa cruz opportunity have to come up with to get you to forgo your commute?” one question asks. The man behind the survey is venture capitalist Bud Colligan. He’s lived in Santa Cruz for 18 years, but he didn’t always invest here. In December, Colligan started a group called the Central Coast Angels with 20 Silicon Valley veterans who live in Santa Cruz. “It’s people from Google, Symantec, Apple, Palm,” Colligan says. “At our first meeting, we had a discussion, of, well, ‘Should we also do angel investments over the hill?’ And my response was, ‘You know, there’s a thousand angels over the hill. That’s not somewhere where we’re gonna have a dramatic impact.’ Here, we could have a dramatic impact.”
Listen to or read the full broadcast here. 2. A great article in today’s Good Times Santa Cruz: Approaching Critical Mass — Is 2014 the year Santa Cruz lands on the tech map?
Just as the modern computer evolved from the massive, lone calculating machines of days past into a network of sleek, interconnected devices, so too has the tech sector of Santa Cruz County developed from a few large companies (think: Borland, Plantronics, and Santa Cruz Operation) into a sprawling web of freelancers, startups, and beyond. “It seemed like it shifted suddenly,” says Sara Isenberg, publisher of the online tech digest SantaCruzTechBeat.com. “It seemed to me like there was a big bang of tech that wasn’t just based on big companies.” Isenberg points to 2008 as a turning point thanks to the foundation of shared coworking offices like NextSpace and, later, Cruzioworks, and the emergence of groups and events that served as binding agents for techies in the county, including Santa Cruz Geeks (which is now mostly inactive), Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup, and TechRaising.
Read the full article here.