San Diego Tech Hub (SDTH) was founded in December 2018 as the result of a movement that brought IT professionals together to create a tech community in the city. Stylers Co-Founder, Péter Tiszavölgyi, who is also one of the Tech Hub’s founding members, reflects on their past year below:
Can you discuss the group’s beginnings? Why did you want to be a part of it?
Before SDTH, there wasn’t a large tech community in this area, particularly in the northern part of San Diego. Instead, there were smaller, separate groups. This is because, among other things, San Diego’s tech scene grew rapidly. In the last few years, many companies moved or opened new offices here.
Claude Jones, the SDTH founder, expressed the idea of starting a local tech community. At our first meeting, only 20 people attended. By the next year, however, we had almost 3,000 active members.
I became involved in SDTH because I could easily identify with the movement’s vision. I resonated with their goal of creating a strong and cohesive IT community – one where members could truly help one another. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your nationality, or what you do – at SDTH you can just be a good person, share your knowledge, and try to help others.
How does it feel to see this community evolve so quickly?
It’s good to see the success. Our monthly SDTH meetings have 200+ attendees and our Tech Talks (another regular event) has 100+ participants. It feels good to do something that is really useful – people clearly have a need for a community with like-minded people.
Can you discuss the San Diego Tech Hub’s mission? Do you have specific goals?
I feel that each individual has a slightly different goal, but overall our main goal is to help each other. There is a good saying for this, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” This means that, if we help each other, then all individuals in the community will benefit, including ourselves. That’s the mission of SDTH – to push each other forward and use each other’s local services, because it will make all the companies and people stronger.
In addition to this, our community also focuses on giving back – we make a point to support those who are disadvantaged in some way. For example, many middle-aged and older workers lose jobs because they’re replaced by automation. We help them by organizing adult education courses. Currently, new jobs are being created in administration and data entry, which they can learn.
For young people, we provide tech training where they can learn programming. We also provide programs for jobseekers, startups, and SMEs. Through these programs, they can request free consultations if they need guidance. We recently had a week-long event for kids (ages 13-15) where they could create imaginary startups and showcase how they would hypothetically work. This included writing a one-pager and presenting how they would communicate with investors.
These programs and events are all about helping each other and creating a cohesive and inclusive tech community that anyone could turn to for help and advice. I definitely see that it works.
What is your role in San Diego Tech Hub?
I’m one of the founding members. Our leadership team has six people and my role is technology consulting. I make sure that our events are tech-focused and use the best technology possible, such as running a website or shrinking a database.
Aside from this, I do anything we need. At a startup, it’s difficult to completely divide responsibilities. All six of us handle everything that is needed to keep San Diego Tech Hub together. Fortunately, this is very easy because the community itself is good. Many people offer their help, so now it’s more difficult to figure out how to get people involved in the most useful way.
On the website, it shows that you work with many volunteers. How does that work?
Our community is full of self-starters. So many people devote their time and resources to help us set up events. For example, one of our participants had a market lab which he could offer as a venue. And, with that, our Open Source Saturday event was born. Since its inception, this event has occurred on a weekly basis for a total of ten months.
Another program, the Mentorship Connect, is more structured. Volunteers apply to share knowledge and time with other members – even if it’s just 2 hours a month. Then, we connect them with the right mentees.
Have you made any recent improvements to the group?
Our events are much more organized now. Last year, our regular SDTH meetings were essentially status updates community developments. This year, we have an entire program plan with specific event topics. This includes presentations and workshops, followed by networking at a brewery.
For the group’s leadership team, our most important tasks are to get publicize these programs and find sponsors to financially support the development of our community.