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Sterling Lanier is the co-founder and CEO of TurnKey (www.turnkeystaffing.com), which helps venture-backed startups and high growth companies build and scale dedicated offshore software development teams across Eastern Europe and Latin America.
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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending SXSW –the mammoth tech meets entertainment meets culture meets everything conference held in Austin each year – then you know it’s one grand party. Panel sessions take a back seat to the near infinite soirees being held around town, complete with cooler-than-thou DJs and a panoply of craft cocktails (hey, I’m not complaining).
Inside the conference, huge ballrooms set up for well-known speakers garner few attendees; outside the conference, you need to jostle for space on busy sidewalks and cafes. There is a caffeine buzz swirling around the outer SXSW ecosystem that is infectious.
But this year’s SXSW had a metaphorical bomb dropped on its festivities right as the conference opened its doors: Silicon Valley Bank (the venerated bank of choice for startups and their investors) had imploded in spectacular fashion. Was SVB’s failure going to bring down the SXSW fun along with it? Or would SXSW find a way to brush off the news and get back to what matters most (vodka).
I’m happy to report that the latter proved true, which was partly due to tech folks needing to allay their anxiety and partly due to the fact that one half of the conference (entertainment and culture) was largely oblivious to this sector-specific news and was business as usual.
In short, the SXSW party must–and did–go on.
All this fun also included TurnKey’s superduper Pickleball Party for startups and investors. Held at Bouldin Acres – a hip and happening bar and restaurant that just happens to also have pickleball courts – our shindig catered to a sell out crowd of tech founders, angel investors and venture capitalists. It was an evening of good food, great conversation, and lots of awesome play.
And it turned out that pickleball was just what the doctor ordered for most of our attendees. Played with a wiffleball and paddle, pickleball allows you to smash a ball as hard as you can –in other words, vent your frustration – without having to worry about hurting someone on the other side of the net. Though beer helps calm nerves too, there’s nothing like crushing a small piece of plastic to really help you relax. “Take that SVB!” was heard more than a few times on the court as a player obliterated an overhead.
So next time you are in need of a great party – or just want to find a new way to reach your zen – consider heading to SXSW next year. We’ll be right there alongside you!
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