Jamie Montgomery couldn't sleep for several nights as he weighed whether to move ahead with his annual two-day venture capital-fest in Santa Monica. This week's conference is billed as an all-star lineup of business leaders that includes the likes of bond king Michael Milken.

But, Montgomery — the founder and managing director of Los Angeles-based March Capital Partners — found himself slammed by reports of other major conferences shuttering due to concerns about coronavirus. Facebook yanked its annual F8 developer meeting in May, the Game Developers Conference scheduled in San Francisco for later this month was canceled, and the YPO Edge summit planned for March was dropped.

Ultimately, he gave it a green light.

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From the moment the Silicon Beach moniker first appeared, it has been disliked and even despised by those in the place it's supposed to describe as too derivative, too playful, and too limiting for a tech scene that now stretches well beyond the sand and rarely involves silicon.

Just as Los Angeles writ large is still mocked as a vapid wasteland of botox, juice cleanses, and influencers, Silicon Beach conjures up images of flip flop-wearing tech bros playing ping pong at The Bungalow and bronzing at the Little Beach House Malibu.

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In 2018, Brian Garrett, burned out from a decade running Crosscut Ventures, embarked on a month-long summer road trip. He packed up his old minivan with nothing but a mattress, some golf clubs and a fly fishing pole. He had just turned 45 years old and felt he was halfway through life. This was his vision quest.

It was the first time Garrett had stopped to contemplate his own mortality and the seed fund's future, and he decided he needed to make drastic changes to improve himself and his company.

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