For the last year I have been working on launching an internet start-up in Orange County. This has given me the opportunity to explore the ecosystem and develop relationships with other tech leaders in the OC. Overall I have been very impressed with the efforts being made to both create new companies and support them.
If you’re just getting started I would recommend that you attend some of the monthly events from OCTANe, specializing in TCVN, or TechBiz Connection. Also, there are some good annual events like the Irvine Entrepreneur Forum and VC in the OC.
The best people to network with are the fellow entrepreneurs (even if they are in a different type of business). Collectively they have likely encountered your problems before and can provide guidance or insider tips that can help save you money and accelerate the process of accomplishing your goals. Sometimes, when things are not going very well, they can be great listeners and allow you to vent.
Overall I would say that we’re pretty lucky here in Orange County to have an environment to create innovative tech companies (and we have great beaches too).