Part New Tech, part Tech Set, all Southern California, the Twiistup events are a product of the rampantly blossoming Los Angeles tech scene. They combine an admixture of micro- and mainstream celebrity with Hollywood production values in over-the-top glam settings for photo opportunities any tech hipster would die for.
Mike Macadaan started Twiistup two years ago when he was a UX/design creative executive at AOL. When he moved from NorCal to SoCal, he started the event to make friends and networking connections, not planning on growing the event beyond the initial two instances. Instead of just concocting another mixer, he added a few twists, and Twiistup gained popularity and a hundred or so attendees with each occurrence.
“With Twiistup 4, he said ‘Screw it. I’m gonna go big.’ He bought out the whole pool at the Viceroy he had a room full of 80s arcade games – it was a technology carnival,” said newly hired event producer Francisco Dao.
Photo by Mike Macadaan.
“Conferences are boring as sh*t, but Twiistup was just this party. He sold 600 tickets and had 600 people on the waiting list. At at that point, Twiistup became L.A.’s flagship event. Twiistup 5 this February was held in a hangar in the Santa Monica airport, all decked out in this cyberpunk, Blade Runner kind of thing. Mike had 1,000 people with a 400-person waiting list. He really never planned for it to be this big. It’s too big and valuable to just stop, but it also became too big for Mike to take it to the next level.”
Enter Dao, a “funemployed” SoCal entrepreneur, author, and blogger.
“Tired of having to make a scene at other people’s events, Francisco started to arrange his own unique series of fun-inspired get-togethers. Rumor has it he may even make a career out of it, bringing you a new type of tech event, with a twist.”
So when silent investors bought the brand, Dao was brought on board. He is raising the stakes by making Twiistup 6 a two-day event. He’s thinking of it as “a mini-TED” with an evening party and a all-day stage event the following day. Already, Dao has secured several tech and mainstream persons of note as speakers.
Photo by Mike Macadaan.
Twiistup is already known for its New Tech-esque “Showoff” competition and signature evening event; the addition of a full conference agenda and the seeding of similar event models in other cities are two immediate enhancements announced with the influx of new capital.
“The groundswell of community support for Twiistup in other states, let alone Los Angeles, has been incredible to watch and it’s the driving reason Twiistup’s reputation has spread so far and wide,” said Macadaan. “People from New York, Colorado, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, and even Switzerland have reached out wanting to create a similar experience to help bring their communities together. I’m thrilled that Twiistup will get the dedicated time and focus it needs to become bigger and even better.”
There have also been suggestions that Twiistup should be a regional event with national reach, such as South by Southwest. “It should be on the level of Blogwold, TechCrunch 50, a young and hip tech show,” said Dao. “The one thing I’m sure about is that Twiistup is going to be a lot bigger.”
The next Twiistup will take place July 30-31 at the Universal Hilton in Universal City, Los Angeles.