In 2015, Tampa Bay is hosting its very own Startup Week, following the success of several other host cities around the world. And since it’s likely the first of its kind that you’ve ever been to, it might behoove you to prepare so that you make the best possible use of your social time and not waste a single precious character. (140 can be limiting at times.)
The very first thing you’ll wanna do is register on the Tampa Bay Startup Week website. This not only lets us know that you’re coming, but it allows you to see what exactly will be going on. When you look at the schedule of events, you’ll see your icon in the top left corner. Clicking on that will give you the option to edit your Sched profile and connect all your social media profiles to it. Once you’ve done that, Sched will show you which events your friends are going to. Because events are always more fun with friends. Make sure you check off the events you want to attend, too, so your friends can see where you’re going to be. Options for saving your schedule of events to your calendar or accessing it through your mobile web browser can be found by clicking the phone icon on the top right of the schedule.
You might notice as you look through the schedule that many of the events take place in venues that are miles away from each other. Some are even in St. Pete while others are back in Tampa and Ybor. We’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest way to get around is going to be Uber and Lyft, but if you wanna try to drive your car around and find parking, that’s totally up to you. There’s also a trolley system in Tampa and a couple of bus lines (HART in Tampa and PSTA in St. Pete). Note, however, that St. Pete and Tampa have separate lines. It’s possible to get from one place to the other, but be prepared to switch busses halfway through. We recommend looking up bus routes on Google Maps. This will take a lot of the confusion out of trying to match up times with locations. Most buses take exact cash ($2 per ride), or you can purchase daily or weekly passes at places like Amscot or CVS. More information about that can be found at the sites linked above.
Make your net work.
Once you’re at the event, the fun begins. There will be all kinds of real-life networking opportunities, so keep your business cards handy (and maybe put your Twitter handle on them), but perhaps the biggest opportunities for this event will be virtual. Whip out your Twitter app and follow the #TBStartupWeek hashtag and the @TBStartupWeek profile. There’s going to be a whole behind-the-scenes virtual conversation going on while the events proper play out in meat space, and you don’t want to miss out on who says what and who to follow. This is the networking of today.
The consolidation of power.
Unfortunately, not all of us have devices that can handle an all-day barrage of tweets and Facebook comments. The first thing you should do when walking into a new venue is find out where the nearest outlet is. It might be prudent to plug in your device before it gets below 50% because you never really know when you’re going to find your next open outlet. Meanwhile, we’ll try to keep some power strips open at our social media headquarters in the Chase Basecamp at 1920 E 7th Ave. in Ybor. (Although, be advised, we really can’t be responsible for keeping an eye on your device the whole time. Sorry!)
Make a list. Check it twice.
One of the best features of Twitter is its ability to make lists. If you find yourself flooded by irrelevant tweets and you just want to get down to what the Startup Week people are doing, put everyone you meet and all the speakers, sponsors, and even @TBStartupWeek into one list and you can narrow down what you see to just the relevant tweets. This also allows you to go back later and remember who you met and who influenced you during the week.
Look at me when I’m talkin’, son.
Perhaps one of the most important things we could advise is to actually be social. While Twitter and Facebook offer some great tools to connect with other entrepreneurs, remember to look up every now and then and chat with the person right in front of you… with your voice! Remember that everyone you meet at a specific event shares at least two interests with you: a passion for entrepreneurship and a love of Tampa Bay!
Tweet! Post on Facebook! Take Instagram pics! Heck, you can even post on Google+ and Pinterest if you really want! Talk about any and all the things that come to mind throughout the week. As long as you add #TBStartupWeek to it, or post it to our Facebook page, we’ll pick it up and talk back or retweet or Like or whatever’s appropriate. Meanwhile, you can start getting involved right away by interacting with some key players at Startup Week:
- Ryan Sullivan @Sullyvanskikins
- Gracie Leigh Stemmer @GracieLeighz
- Michael Laplante @LaPlanteWebDev
- Nicholas Catania @ncatania
- Allison Barkley @thatgirlallie
- Deborah Neff @deborahcan
- Ashley Mooney @AshleyMooney
- Sean Kennedy @Kennedy_S_M
- Chase @Chase
- Hillsborough County @HillsboroughFL
- Greta Kinsbaugh @gretakishbaugh
- Ryan Swanson @TheUrbanConga
- Kostas Stoilas @Indust_Real_TPA
- Ned Pope @FloridaNEXT
- Christine L Mendonça @chrislmendonca
- Murray Anne Bowers @Murr_Anne
- Mo Delaney @MityMo
- Erica Moulton @ROV_Erica
- Manny Leto @TampaBayHistory
- Eric Ligouri @ericligouri
- Toni Aliberti @ToniAliberti