The Ins and Outs of Startup Culture in LA

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By Jacob Maslow

Los Angeles. One of the most beautifully complex cities in the world. There’s nothing else like it. A sprawling metropolis that more and more people flock to every year. To take a chance on themselves and their dreams. All one has to do is drive horizontally across the city to see every kind of person from every walk of life. Yet, there is a specialness to LA that cannot be replicated. It’s easy then to see why so many companies have started to claim LA as their base of operations. You might be thinking, “Don’t all of these different businesses have different corporate cultures?” And while that may be partially true, we’ve identified some key commonalities that make these startups stick in 2022. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Kevin Miller to shine a light on what it means to be a company starting up in the City of Angels! 

The City Itself 

First, to understand the way a company operates in the city, we need to have an understanding of the city itself. LA is a vibrantly diverse place with different communities for every neighborhood. Now it may be easy to look from afar, and all you see is Hollywood, but ask any Angeleno, and they’ll be the first to tell you that LA is so much more than that though their presence is felt. From having a picnic in echo park to hiking through the Santa Monica mountains, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place as rich with activity. Los Angeles is also known for its contributions to the arts. So many incredible works are presented every year, in every field. One needs to take a walk on Grand from MOCA to the Walt Disney Concert Hall to realize the spectacularness of this city’s cultural cache. Because of this rich history, a company needs to understand and appreciate the complexity of the municipality in which it wants to rise in. 

Making Your Castle in Silicon Beach

One of the most exciting and bustling communities in which startups have found a home in Silicon Beach. This is a section on the westside of Los Angeles home to many technology companies, a fair number of which are startups. This is an incredible location for anyone because it offers incredible views that can energize you and keep you moving. When you’re in a high-stress situation, sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is take a break. Now you may be thinking that this is counter-intuitive but hear me out. Picture this. You’ve just had this phenomenal idea. You’re working on it and working on it. But as you get deeper into forming your plan into action, you realize something. This idea has a great beginning, a fantastic end, and a whole in the middle the size of Iowa! What to do? You pace around your office. Hoping the movement will jog some fundamental pieces of information but to no avail. Finally, you decide. Enough! I need a second to myself. You walk outside. You notice all the little things you’ve been taking for granted. The way the Curb slants up gradually, so it’s harder to trip, the bodega you buy tacos is cooking fresh al-pastor. The sunset is hitting just right. You walk, and you walk, until finally. You see the ocean. The sun is sinking into the wild blue yonder. You are breathless. There is so much beauty in this world and for you right now. A single sunset encapsulates all of it. That’s when it hits you. That fundamental bridge to make your idea a reality. That special piece that’s been missing. That is the specialness of Silicon beach, and that’s what it offers you that almost no other place can. Inspiration.

Finding Your Voice

So now that we’ve been through some of the where’s and the why’s of starting a business in LA, let’s go over a couple of key points in identifying the how’s. If there’s one thing Los Angeles is known for, its style! A company without a clear voice will have a tough time finding a footing in LA. The people of Los Angeles appreciate a company who can convey their messages in a quickly digestible format. In our modern era, we are so inundated with information that it’s difficult to slow down and take the time to consider a product. Therefore, it is up to companies to speak quickly and concisely about their message. Couple that with an appealing stylistic sensibility, and you’ll thrive in Los Angeles!

Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out. 

Our next topic is a bit of an addendum to the previous one, but in a city like Los Angeles. It is important to stand out. If our last topic was about your company’s brains, then this one is about its beauty. A company with a strong visual identity is much more likely to succeed in this city than one whose design is dated. Making sure that someone in your company is keeping up with the latest trends in advertising and design can be paramount to making sure your message is heard! Design is so important that if you do not have anyone on your team who can do it. We heavily suggest hiring an outside design firm to handle some of your visual assets. This is one of the most important parts of the process of any successful startup, and we encourage you to take this opportunity to make sure that that portion is a success!

As Thom Anderson once said, “Los Angeles Plays Itself.” There is no other city on the planet with as many ties to art, architecture, and culture as LA does. When one visits the city for the first time, it is often viewed as a tapestry unfolding in front of the viewer. It’s a rich, vibrant place that people pilgrimage to every year. It is one of the greatest artificial wonders in the world, and this city sits like a canvas just waiting for someone to make their mark! Will that someone be you?


Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos