One of Southern California's biggest tech conferences is telling Silicon Valley to shut down for a couple of days and take a stroll on Silicon Beach.
Last week, the Montgomery Summit unveiled a road-sign-like billboard in San Francisco that says Silicon Valley will be closed March 10 and 11 and that travelers should flip around 380 miles south to Santa Monica for the conference those days. Snapchat Chief Executive Evan Spiegel and Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong are among top speakers at the summit.
The jab at Silicon Valley's lack of easy access to energizing surfing breaks or calming walks on the beach came from the summit's marketing team, said Jamie Montgomery, the investment banker and venture capitalist who founded the conference over a decade ago. One of his clients had offered the billboard space, which is off the U.S. 101 near San Francisco International Airport. The summit plans to award a conference pass and a private flight to whoever comes up with the funniest Twitter or LinkedIn post about the billboard by this weekend.
"The billboard recognizes our close relationship with the Silicon Valley tech community," Montgomery said. "We need each other and benefit from opportunities to work together."
The conference sees a spike in registrations in the days right before the conference, and the hope is that the billboard produces a larger lift than usual.
"I think everyone wants to spend some time on the beach," Montgomery said.