In summing up my experience leading the revitalization of HKA’s technology practice, an iconic Johnny Cash lyric comes to mind – “I’ve been everywhere, man.” Looking to spread the word about the revival of HKA tech PR, I’ve had the good fortune of attending many top emerging tech events throughout Southern California these past few months.

My stopovers saw me mingling with startup founders at UCI’s The Cove several times, including the 1 Million Cups morning mixers, lunch and learn programs, the Digital Innovators event at the Center for Digital Transformation and the School of Applied Innovation awards program. I also went to Pasadena for a MeetUp on quantum computing, to Playa Vista to hear a panel discussion about in women in spacetech and I got a sneak peek at the plans for the new LA sports and entertainment complex for the Rams, Chargers and others.

I also attended events hosted by Eureka, Google Startups, OCTANe, EvoNexus, OC Startups and more, not to mention holding many coffees and lunches with people I had met along the way who wanted to talk more. Besides affirming my decision to drive a hybrid vehicle, what else did I learn from my constant travels?

I learned that the Southern California technology ecosystem is a healthy and growing network of innovation, energy and entrepreneurship that’s often overshadowed by its better-known Northern California cousin.

I learned that Southern California graduates more engineers and computer scientists than any region in the country. Yes, that’s right. As far as the best university system for technology, Southern California is No. 1, the Bay Area is No. 2.

I learned the average Southern California entrepreneur is a bit older and more experienced than the classic Silicon Valley 20-something wunderkind and seeks to leverage the practical lessons of their industry in starting their own business.

I learned that local entrepreneurs are looking to revolutionize their industries through a variety of digital transformation technologies in inventory and logistics, medical offices, package deliveries, nonprofits and much, much more.

I learned that these entrepreneurs are supported by a broad network of academic and nonprofit organizations ready to counsel, inspire and enable a path to growth and ultimate success.

I also learned that the successful tech entrepreneur can be identified by two traits: conviction and effective storytelling. Demonstrating conviction is required in how entrepreneurs tell their story to investors, customers and partners – with a passion and confidence that produces the same in others. Good storytelling is required to communicate the emotional elements of their value proposition – how it will help people, whether it will save lives or just keep customers from pulling their hair out.

One final lesson I already knew but will share anyway – HKA can help you deliver that story to the people that matter most to your business.