By Beth Watts
Apr 26, 2017
Last night, the San Antonio Chamber, in partnership with Geekdom and Tech Bloc, hosted the inaugural Fiesta Tech Trek. I was lucky enough to help host over 100 people at Jungle Disk headquarters, and I had to pinch myself a couple of times that I was actually getting paid to drink beer and talk tech with some of the brightest minds and personalities of the San Antonio tech community. The SA Tech Trek was set up similar to a pub crawl but with attendees visiting tech companies and startups in the downtown Tech District. The trek added a completely different type of event to the Fiesta schedule and was meant to bring greater awareness around the growing tech ecosystem in downtown San Antonio.
Obviously, Fiesta in San Antonio is another level of party. So, naturally, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Geekdom and Tech Bloc, with sponsor AT&T, collectively figured, what better way to “party with a purpose” and help the San Antonio community get acquainted with the various startups and technologies than a good old fashioned stroll down historic Houston Street. I also like to think of it as a neighborhood block party, because it really had the feeling of hospitality. I always talk about working in the tech district as feeling like college…you are always going to run into someone you’ve worked with on a project before, and you’re only one Sip Coffee away from getting re-acquainted with a colleague. The SA Tech Trek only solidified that feeling for me, by adding drinks and networking.
One thing I loved about the event is how attendees could start at either the Rand Building (located at Houston and Soledad) and work their way East to the Vogue Building or they could start at the Vogue Building and move West to the Rand Building. Either way, they were going to run into founders, CEO’s, CFO’s, Directors, Consultants, Developers, Techs, Engineers, marketers, you name it! I had some really great conversations with people in all kinds of industries, including interior design, digital marketing, law, commercial real estate and medical community. Everyone had a different motivation for coming out to SA Tech Trek. Some small business owners were looking to make possible connections to vendors who could help them develop custom software for their websites. Others were looking to find customers to use their already developed products. I met a lot of students who were currently enrolled in information systems or cyber security workshops looking to meet people in the industries they study to find mentorships, internships or just to ask questions.
SA Tech Trek participating companies pulled out all of the stops. While I didn’t get to actually do much “trekking,” I spoke with people who had visited with Grok Interactive, companies at Geekdom and Google. Google had sponsored a gelato stand accessible in the lobby of the Rand Building because…of course they did; they’re Google (we love you guys, by the way, and who doesn’t love gelato?!). There was also great representation from tech companies that don’t reside in the Tech District, like Rackspace, who came in to say hello and catch-up with friends. There were fiesta medals flying back and forth and people were excited to end the trek at the Last Word for the Big Bang Party.
All in all, I’d say SA Tech Trek delivered on the “party with a purpose” Fiesta mission, and connected people with a mutual interest in technology to one another within the San Antonio community. It was a fantastic inaugural event, and we can’t wait to participate next year!