SOCAP11: was it worth going?

I should have uploaded other topics learning from Wagoen, but will skip and put this article first.


SOCAP venue was in the old warehouse in the pier. (it was really cold out there….)

SOCAP was held last months (in the beginning of Sept) and it was the first time to visit this year. I heard so much about SOCAP, and there is both good and bad rumors. I will give my impression here, so that you can examine for the next year round.

First of all, it is surprisingly unknown by other people who never been there, that SOCAP was almost run by HUB people. HUB Bay Area’s founder is also the main person to run SOCAP. So, now you see, SOCAP is very embeded in the contexts of Bay Area, social innovation culture.

HUB SOMA (HUB SOMA is located in different place from SOCAP venue, so we gathered here at just only the pre-event night, not during this event.)

I am not  pure admirer of Bay Area culture, honestly speaking. There is a style. I can understand Bay Area style, but I know it’s not my style. So, my comments here are sometime ironical, or neutral in a way to look at this whole event.


During SOCAP, sessions are too many and of course I cannot attend all of them, and the schedules are packed. Most of the sessions are in some space or room in the warehouse, and it was rather “presentation-Q&A” style, so that the real interaction with each speaker were less than I had expected.

The contents are okay, but not impressive. Too many speakers, short sessions at each time.  (and sometime some of them are unimportant, unmature and they talked too much to spend a lot of time, so that all the discussions sounds like in the air, some of the brightest impressive remarks were made by only a few people.)

But the people gathered were excellent. (I don’t know why this all happen together.) I found some of the presentation really interesting.

Krista from D-rev.

Some of the presentation I heard were impressive. They are advocative and stimulating and making you sounds like “oh” or “hmmm” or “aha!”. This was really good experience that I can say SOCAP is worth coming.

Josh from Innosight. Talking about Mike Tyson?

If you are not familiar with Bay Area Culture or this sort of social innovation atmosphere, you will quickly grab the manner here. How you think, how you can express your self, how people will observe you in Bay Area social innovation manner. (even though you think it’s not your style, you can feel it here.)

It is very tough to find a good presentation. I heard so many people who came for the first time couldn’t find the good presentation, and they found the sessions are not as good as they expected.

But, actually, SOCAP is not for hearing presentation. This is the place you have to move actively to catch the people.

Socap is worth coming. but only if YOU HAVE A PURPOSE TO VISIT. If you have specific projects that you have to find a partner or investors, or you need to find other methodology that makes your work improved, it’s worth coming. But for the people who just start thinking about social innovation or social entrepreneurs, I think, they can find a good friends who also think like you, at the same level of struggle or thoughts, but they are mostly students from Bay Area. If you want to mingle with them, I suggest to apply for the volunteer to SOCAP, so that you don’t have to pay anything and work 18hours during this event and attend some presentation workshops.

But, the best thing in SOCAP is making a appointment to meet up. You should better carefully organize your self and focus to catch the important people that you have to talk. Some of them are not replying you back in advance, so that you should remember their face and meet them in the cafe by accident. But standing and saying Hello is important, and then within 5 mins talk, you will find a good partner for your business for next year.




(The showcase was displayed in the public: social entrepreneur’s design ideas.)

If you are the social entrepreneur, please GO TO SOCAP TO CATCH THE INVESTORS OR BUSINESS PARTNERS!!!!!!

As far as I saw in the showcases or social entrepreneurs’ pitch, there are very few new ideas coming in. I saw the same entrepreneurs in other Bay Area conferences, and there is a lack of new comers, especially from Africa and South Asia (other than India).

For example, I met so many Indian social entrepreneurs this time, and felt that this is typical to Bay Area, since Stanford seemed to nurture and attract investment to Indian social entrepreneurs’ sphere. But the people introduced here as a social entrepreneurs from developing countries are one of the big pool. Very limited number, limited ideas, and there is a lot  of opportunity to explore here.

I suggest to social innovators in other areas (other than Bay Area) should think twice to come over to this event, even though their style is different and maybe uncomfortable. Since you might get to know the logic of the investors from Sillicon Valey social Angels, and also they will notice you here. For them, it’s almost miracle to find you from the sea of many sparkling stars.

If you hesitate, please contact me. I will recommend you anyone to SOCAP related or HUB, and also will update the scholarship program for you to come over to SOCAP.


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