The Startup Games Blog

Start me up.

Startup Games: Level Up 2016

Startup Games: Level Up 2016

The field is set for the 2nd annual Startup Games: Level Up. Those companies with 250+ employees, yet still keep that startup vibe will be clashing on April 23rd. Join us at levelup16.splashthat.com

read more

Fierce Competition at Startup Games: Austin 2016

Fierce Competition at Startup Games: Austin 2016

Startup Games: Austin 2016 is in the books, and what a tale.

With an attendance of 1400 people, Fair Market was packed with athletes and supporters alike to cheer on 14 companies in the one-day, 12-event competition. Early favorites and 3-time champions, SpareFoot were in the field with long-time veterans, Boundless and Capital Factory. While 2 newcomers, LawnStarter and OwnLocal, joined the pack which included returners, OneSpot, RideScout, theCHIVE, and TrendKite.

read more

Startup Games 2016

Startup Games 2016 It’s here! Startup Games 2016 is going down January 23rd at Fair Market. The annual clash of the startup titans will meet on the grounds at Fair Market to compete for TROPHY, CHARITY, and GLORY. Join the fun, philanthrophy, and networking. $10 suggested donation contribute donation here at startupgames2016.splashthat.com or at the door. Come watch. Doors open at... read more

Breakthrough Austin and the Pros

Breakthrough Austin and the Pros Way back in middle school, once a year our school counselor would come by our class to discuss possible careers. I remember a whole list of jobs based on the kind of interest you had. Doctor, Engineer, Technician, Real Estate Agent, etc. I vaguely knew what some of them were at the time, like obviously a doctor were those terrible people who stuck me with needles. Or pilots, who wore clear shield helmets and shot down the guys in dark shields. But, I didn’t really know people in these specialized jobs so I had no frame of reference for what they did, how they got there, or why I should pursue it. Without understanding the jobs, I had no path to reach them. Luckily, I got to see the very opportunity I missed for a group of middle schoolers. Breakthrough Austin (whom I volunteered with over the summer) has a program where they help the kids research different careers they’re interested in pursuing, then they bring in actual professionals to talk with them. This program meets three times, once a month on Saturday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School which sit atop the gorgeous hills of west Austin. I wanted to see the program in action, so I volunteered to help with one of their groups. Split into fields of study, I spent the second Saturday with the Technology/Engineering group. These kids wanted to become engineers, video game designers, architects, and such. I was already impressed with them based on their ambitions. I mean my career choice during middle school was professional baseball player (though my counselor always made me put down something more “realistic”). They used the first part of the day deciding what questions to ask the professionals when they visited. Reviewing terms to use, like ‘degree’, ‘license’, and ‘salary’. Vocabulary that I of course understand now, but have no recollection of knowing back then. The group was led by a couple of St. Stephen’s high schoolers and aided by Breakthrough staff, so the kids had several mentors to bounce ideas off of and help answer questions. After that,... read more

Volunteering with Meals on Wheels and More

Volunteering with Meals on Wheels and More Before last week the only context I had for Meals on Wheels was of Marla stealing food trays in Fight Club. Of course not the only reason, but it was definitely time to update that impression, so we signed up to volunteer on a route. If you’re unfamiliar with them, Meals on Wheels and More (their full name) has a main function of delivering food to various homebound people in the community. On the day of, we rolled up to Meals on Wheels HQ around 10:30. They had us fill out some simple paperwork, then watch an informative training video that threw you back to high school movie days (aka best days of school). Afterward, we got to check out the food trays that we’d be using. I was fairly certain I’d botch the distribution job, but they use an easy color-coding system. Once training finished, we grabbed our coolers (the only thing we had to bring, though I’m pretty sure they had some in case we didn’t pay attention to the email explaining we needed bring two) and went to the pickup area. They have a quick check-in system, then we received a route sheet with a map, addresses, names, the color-coding system for the food, and even notes to help once you got to the house. One cooler held the hot food, and the other the cold. Then we were off. Our delivery routes were set in east Austin, but they have pickup sites and routes throughout the city. We followed the map to the first house which wasn’t far away from HQ. Then, we got one hot food tray and one cold food bag based on the route sheet. A knock on the door and a friendly greeting, then we were off to the next spot. That’s it. It was very easy and everyone we met was very nice. We visited around 12 houses on two routes, and it took less than an hour. By the time we were finished, I felt like we were just getting warmed up. We’ll definitely be back to help again.... read more

Volunteering with Breakthrough Austin

Volunteering with Breakthrough Austin   When the group of 6th grade kids before me said they wanted to be pediatricians, engineers, and veterinarians, I knew something was going right. These fledgling, sciency people were just beginning a program that would help them achieve those goals.   The program runners, Breakthrough Austin, have a mission to help low-income students in Central Texas find their way through the second half of their school career to become a first-generation college grad. I spent two afternoons seeing the results of Breakthrough’s summer course in presentations from two different groups of students. As a product of Central Texas public education, I was interested to find out what they do.   Central Texas has a staggering number of low-income kids not graduating from college or even high school. Beginning in the early Aughts, Breakthrough has already seen success in their first groups, and they take the summer as an opportunity to continue these kids’ education.   I served as a volunteer with 20+ others to see the students present their work. First, a group of high school Juniors spent the summer tasked with doing something productive, then reflect on that experience. It was great to hear about a young woman overcome her shyness to step up as a leader. Or, after working with his father, a young man was able to break a stilted relationship.   I returned another day to see presentations from a small class of middle schoolers. A group of 6th graders showed off what they’d been working on with their teachers. They began timidly reading works they’d written or explaining exchange rates of various countries. Then, they opened up and wanted to present all of the projects they’d completed. We listened to poetry and watched marbles race down a roller coaster of paper towel rolls and cardboard boxes.   One girl knew more about kinetic energy and velocity than I do. One boy told us about his love of chess and growing eggplants. They were proud of their work and wanted to share it.   With the help of Breakthrough Austin, they all have the potential... read more