Sept. 27, 2022

Austin Networking Groups We Like

Austin Networking Groups We Like

Lately, we've been talking and writing a lot about networking. Why is it so important to us? People are social animals. And no matter how much we can get done remotely, we need a connection with other people. But just as important networking groups are wh

Lately, we've been talking and writing a lot about networking. Why is it so important to us? People are social animals. And no matter how much we can get done remotely, we need a connection with other people. But just as important networking groups are where the creative collisions happen. These collisions are critical to an innovation culture like Austin's, these collisions are often where we find our business ideas, our collaborators, and sometimes even our employees. So today, we wanted to celebrate three organizations that foster great networking and take a different approach.

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Our music is “Tech Talk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons 4.0 License 




Mon, 9/19 6:30PM • 36:11


austin, people, mastermind groups, person, technology, tech, events, leaders, organizations, companies, networking, med tech, space, groups, connect, podcast, ecosystem, pandemic, semiconductor, innovate


Jason Scharf, Jawad Ali, Jay Boisseau, Michael Scharf, Garrett Mintz


Michael Scharf  00:00

Austin is the new innovation powerhouse not the next Silicon Valley, but the first Austin. We are adapting to the future in real time.


Jason Scharf  00:08

I'm Jason Scharf, a biotech executive and early stage investor.


Michael Scharf  00:11

And I'm Michael Scharf, advisor and board member for multiple private companies.


Jason Scharf  00:15

You can call us optimists, abundance minded, up wing and even solutionist we see a bright future ahead, that can be achieved through innovation and entrepreneurship.


Michael Scharf  00:24

In this podcast, we explore Austin superpowers, the people in companies driving our growth, and the macro and micro trends that come together to create Austin today.


Jason Scharf  00:33

This is Austin next.


Michael Scharf  00:41

Lately, we've been talking in writing a lot about networking. Why is it so important to us? Well, people are social animals. And no matter how much we can get done remotely, we need a connection with other people. But just as important networking groups are where the creative collisions happen. These collisions are critical to an innovation culture like Austin's, these collisions are often where we find our business ideas, our collaborators, and sometimes even our employees. So today, we wanted to celebrate three organizations that foster great networking here in Central Texas. We start with ambition and motion by interviewed Garrett Mintz founder, but how his company builds a culture of trust, and peer to peer learning. We're joined by Garrett Mintz, founder of ambition in motion. Garrett, tell us a little bit about the organization.


Garrett Mintz  01:34

Hey, Michael. So ambition in motion. Our vision is a world where the vast majority of people are excited to go to work, when they're there, their expectations meet reality, when they come home, they feel fulfilled, and everything we do, works towards that outcome. And we believe it starts with leaders because at the end of the day, people don't quit jobs, they quit bosses. And so we have our executive mastermind group to equip leaders with the community to work through their challenges, because being in a leadership role can be a lonely place. And we've got leaders from Fortune 500 companies that tech startups construction, manufacturing, banking, healthcare, real estate, I mean, you name it. And even though technically, the things that we do are very different and unique. The thing that brings us together is our drive to become better people, leaders.


Michael Scharf  02:18

How long have you been doing this?


Garrett Mintz  02:20

We started it in May of 2012. So the program officially originally started studying mentor relationships between college students and alumni. So our backgrounds very much in industrial organizational psychology research. And so we grew up we were doing to a few 100 campuses facilitated 1000s of mentorships. And we started with this traditional model of saying, Hey, you're a senior person, you're a junior person, you're both in the same field connect them, we found that only 18% of those relationships lasted for six months, and were considered productive and quality to both participants. So I partnered with these industrial organizational psychologists, we studied that 18%. And we identified these factors that have you adjusted right before mentor relationship starts that has a pretty profound impact on longevity and quality of those relationships. And when I say mentorship, one of the things we found to be really effective is what we call horizontal mentorship. So not this hierarchical, I'm your mentor. You're my protege. But instead this mutual respect of hey, I'm open to learning from you, you're open to learning from me, that had a profound impact on our mastermind group, because then we could facilitate mental relationships across industries, across fields across sizes of companies, and people were guiding each other based on psychologically the things that drive them and that we know are preconditions for people having really effective mentorships.


Michael Scharf  03:36

That's great. I think it's something I found a lot in my career as well. One of the biggest challenges we're facing in the Austin ecosystem, is networks are becoming more separate and more insular, remote work, divergent sectors, are growing geographic spread all have an impact on whether you can do a three Nametag Day anymore. How do you see these trends playing out here in Austin?


Garrett Mintz  04:01

Well, I mean, I do think we can embrace the remote element of it. I mean, for our Mastermind Group, we've got executives from all over the world and in our mastermind groups. So we bring in people from Europe, the Middle East, Canada, obviously Austin, Texas, and all across the country. But I think what's so cool is that the there's so much power in our shared connection and our ability to actually communicate with each other. But I think what's most critical is that we have an element of vulnerability to all of that and that there's a shared ethos of the thing that we're driving towards. So for us, our niches, people leadership, there's a lot of other mastermind groups where there's different focuses based on maybe demographic data, things that you're trying to achieve things that you're working towards. And I think that's fantastic. But I think if we can focus on whatever shared ethos we all have together, that's the thing that brings us together that allows us to drive forward, but to your point, you know, we may, we still can, I think we're getting back towards the three Nametag Day where we can go to three different networking events and be meeting with people but I believe that connect actions that are built when it comes to these, these mastermind groups are more powerful when we're connecting based on a mission, or a vision that individual we have for ourselves that we all share. And for us, it's this wanting to create a better work environment for our people, because we want to be better leaders ourselves.


Michael Scharf  05:17

It's interesting. My first experience with mastermind groups like this was back when I was doing banking for auto dealers. And the manufacturers would have what they called 20 groups, where they pulled together 20 auto dealers single nameplate, but from all over the country, and you're talking about peer mastermind groups is a perfect example of that. So are you doing yours virtually? Are you doing yours in person?


Garrett Mintz  05:40

So we do a hybrid. So we do our group meetings virtually. So age group is between four to eight executives. And we work through our challenges. Typically, we have a topic that we discussed. So for example, last week, our topic was what is our biggest challenge with creating a culture of innovation. And some leaders would share things like oh, well, we don't have time to innovate, we're so busy. It's so crazy, I gotta have people going, you know, operationally hit this, this, this and this. And then you give other on the total opposite spectrum, because other leaders that say things like oh, well, I, our team is so innovative, we come up with solutions for problems that don't even exist, we come up with innovative ideas, and then we put them out there, we create it. And then we're like, Why aren't these people using this thing? And it's finding that happy medium, but the way our groups work is we vote on who we want to focus on. And the nice element of voting is that if I'm folk voting for you, more likely than not, I'm facing that challenge myself. It's called being put in the spotlight, we ask that person questions to clarify their circumstances and situation. And then we propose, we propose solutions based on things that we've experienced in our life and in our work leading teams and people. But then from the in person element of it, we every quarter hosts an executive symposium. So our next symposium is on December 8, it's an Austin, the topic is how to lead during times of recession, uncertainty. So we bring in three panelists, we've got great networking, great foods and beverages, and it's great connection between a lot of executives that are in town. But for this topic, yeah, it's really relevant because whether or not a recession is coming, our people feel it. And we need to do something to create some clarity and certainty and just some certainty in their mind. So then they don't feel unsafe at work. And when I say unsafe at work, I mean, like, is their job in jeopardy?


Michael Scharf  07:23

Right? Yes. First off, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during some of those discussions. And secondly, although I won't ask you, I'd like a list of those companies that said, they don't have time to innovate, so I know never to invest in them.


Garrett Mintz  07:37

You'd be surprised, you know, there's a here's the thing, I think, it's so easy to it's so hard to describe, because we get so busy in the day to day of what do we think we need to be doing? And then all of a sudden, we become blockbuster we become obsolete. We think like, oh, let's just keep the train run, and everything's going okay. And then all of a sudden, Netflix, bam, comes right up, steals out our, our business right beneath us. And we weren't ready or prepared for that. So I think for a lot of teams that say they struggle to find time to innovate, it's a product of habit. I'm a big believer in atomic habits, I think if we don't set regular time, whether that be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, whatever to innovate, we will never innovate.


Michael Scharf  08:20

You're right. If you don't do it, if you don't measure it, you're not going to get it. We have this huge influx of newcomers into the central Texas region, talent coming from functions, sub sectors, geographic areas, how do you work with your leaders to build trust in these new, not so much hybrid anymore, but are not so much remote anymore, but now hybrid organizations.


Garrett Mintz  08:48

I'm a big fan of vulnerability based trust. I believe that at the end of the day, for us to truly build strong bonds and rapport with people, you have to have an element of vulnerability there. Because if we can't be vulnerable with each other, I can't really help you. Because I've got no idea really what your challenges are, because you aren't really sharing with me. So for us to really dive into deep conversations and really come up with solutions. But the challenges that you're facing, you got to be willing to be vulnerable enough to own I'm facing this thing, and I don't necessarily have a solution for it. Sometimes a thing that I'll kind of weed executives out for our mastermind group, or at least I'll ask them a few times is I'll say, oh, what's the biggest challenge that you're facing? And I'll share a challenge that they had a year ago that they came up with a solution for so it's not actually a challenge, but they've come to the to the reconciliation point of I'm okay with admitting I had this challenge. It's like, okay, that's cool and all but what's the challenge you're facing now?


Michael Scharf  09:43

Right? Big difference between the two. What do you see as the future for networking organizations? I think the the 100 person happy hour is going to be a thing of the past, if not now, very soon. What do you see is the future for networking.


Garrett Mintz  09:58

I agree with you, I think The Happy Hour just for the sake of being happy for an hour is going to go away. I do think though that the power of having a topic and learning and education within that I think there's going to be this hybrid education meets networking coming together. So it's not essentially a conference where you're committing for a weekend or for multiple days where you're going to be there all day. I don't think it's it's happy hour where you're just kind of there showing up meeting people shaking hands, saying, Here's my business card, this is what I do. I think there's a hybrid to both of that, I think that there's going to be more of these educational meets networking elements, where you get a little bit of both hand in hand, where people are coming to learn something as well as network because, yeah, I just think there's so much power in the knowledge that we have and can share with each other. I think one of the things that came from this remote evolution was the power of webinars, where so many thought experts and thought leaders could come share their wisdom with the community, and people can learn from them. I think people are craving the in person element of just being able to shake hands and meet with each other in person. But you don't want to just be pitched to you don't want to just go to an event where you're meeting 15 other people that are pitching whatever thing that they're selling, you want to be building deep, intentional bonds, where you can align on something that you all are interested in together. For us. It's all about leadership. So yeah. Thanks for having me, Michael.


Michael Scharf  11:17

Great. Garrett Mintz, Founder, Ambition and otion. Thanks very much for joining us on The Austin next podcast.  Next up, we have our good friend Jay Bousso, from the Austin forum, in Austin form is a unique amongst networking groups, as its focuses on informing Austinites about leading edge technology, as much as it is about networking with others. We've been on the Austin forum upload, and recommend that highly welcome, Jay to the Austin next podcast.


Jay Boisseau  11:47

Thanks for having me.


Michael Scharf  11:49

You were nice enough to have both Jason and I on the Austin forum upload. So we thought we'd return the favor.


Jay Boisseau  11:55

That was a really great episode, by the way. So I hope we can do this crossover more often.


Michael Scharf  12:01

Absolutely. Absolutely. I had a another group talk about wanting to do a podcast. And they said, Well, we're not competing with you guys. I said, No, no, no, you don't understand the more the merrier. We like it. Yeah. So I find Austin form unique. And one of the things that I find unique about it is its focus on education and learning. And really getting into technologies. I know you guys talk about it as part of your, your core definition of yourselves. Why don't you tell us real quickly about Austin forums approach to knowledge?


Jay Boisseau  12:35

Sure. So full name, of course, is the Austin forum on technology and society. And that is a logical and so we want topics that are at the intersection of technology and society. So even when we cover something like AI or blockchain or IoT, we don't cover just the technology aspects of it. We cover the societal implications, how is it advancing business? How is it helping government agencies address their mission? How does it affect education and so on? But But you're right. We believe that we have sort of a three tiered mission in everything we do. Tier one is everybody who consumes our content should learn something, even if they're an expert, they should learn something. But we have to make sure that we open all of our content with information for people who are new to that technology doesn't mean they're new to technology. It might be an AI person coming to learn about blockchain, we're a blockchain person coming to learn about IoT, and so on and so forth. We want to make sure though, that we're covering different technology areas. So whatever you're not expert in, you can figure out do I need to gain some expertise in this? Does my company need to integrate more of this do we, we need to expand what we're doing in terms of diverse technologies that may be complementary together. So that's number one is making sure everybody learned something. And number two, is making sure that not only did they enjoy learning it that night, but that they are motivated to learn some more after the event. And we recognize some people come to our events or consume our podcast, mostly for educational entertainment. But we want to inspire a subset of those to go learn more after we see ourselves as starting the spark for people to broaden their tech understanding, and maybe go deeper into other texts. And we have a number of attendees over the years, who have credited us with making their awareness about something else interesting, inspire them and changing their careers. And that the third level, which is really facilitated at the in person events, is that connection that hopefully inspires collaboration and new innovation. So that's why we were very excited to bring back the in person component to our big money. flatbed so that we could resume some of that in person networking now, we fully embraced online, we stream everything we do, we want a big audience, the more people that learn the better but but that third tier of forming those collaborations happens a little bit better. Currently, at least with our in person activities. So those are the three tiers everybody learn some of them desire to learn more, get engaged with people that are doing it, maybe find mentors, teachers, online resources, etc. And then another subset of that actually form collaborations that lead to new innovation,


Michael Scharf  15:34

When you guys do both those those in person networking events at the library, and then of course, there's the after party, if you will. That's always been fun, as well as the whiskey socials. So that's great. Talk to me about where are you seeing networking in Austin? There's a lot of groups right now that are out there. And they're talking about networking. How do you see Austin forum fitting in as far as these other groups?


Jay Boisseau  15:45

So I think that we attract a certain kind of person, not a not demographically constant, or AGEs range from 20s to 80s of attendees, there might be a little bit of a peak in the 30s 40s and 50s, for the people that are, you know, decision makers, or looking to expand their company and trying to stay on top of the latest emerging technologies. But we're very, very diverse in age diverse and gender diverse in the technical background, what fields of technology people come from, the only place we're probably not very diverse is that virtually everybody has at least one degree that comes to these events. That's not a requirement, we just pitch our content towards people who like to learn. and a high percentage of those people have one or more degrees, although not by all by any means. And a degree is not required for our content. But a smart, curious active mind is. And so we think our content draws those kinds of attendees, the ones that really think that they'll be better off individually, or their company or their organization or their nonprofit, if they are more tech savvy and understand more and sooner how technologies may change the way they live, work, play, etc. So I think that, whereas I've been to other events in town that are more like, we're all part of organization X are all in field, why we bring a lot of very different people together that probably wouldn't have met otherwise. And they come to our events. And then we, as you mentioned, we have the networking event, after the main event is try effect. And it's it's it's probably not surprising that free beer and whiskey and pizza stimulates conversation among people who might otherwise be shy.


Michael Scharf  17:51

Well, creative collisions are what it's all about.


Jay Boisseau  17:54

That's exactly right. I was inspired by South by Southwest Interactive for this. By the way, I always liked things like TEDx that covers many topics, self by interactive, that covers many topics. But there's South by interactive, was not just an inspiration in diversity of tech programming, in how different technologies impact society, but also in the creative collisions that happened when you attended in person.


Michael Scharf  18:20

You started this in 2006. If I have it, right


Jay Boisseau  18:23

Yeah. When I was director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center in 2006,


Michael Scharf  18:28

A lot has changed in 16 years. What do you see in first of all?


Jay Boisseau  18:31

Wow, 16, you're right. I haven't actually done the math. So when I started it forever ago, the goal was always to have it come downtown. And we used to do it up at the research campus of UT in the early days. Then we made it most of the way downtown at the AT and T Center. So when you say the research campus, you're talking about what's now the domain, the pickle campus there, the JJ pickle research campus, okay, the domain is across the street. JJ pickle research campus has been there long before the domain. I'm not sure it'll be there long after the domain seems to be engulfing everything. But the research campus has a number of world class laboratories and facilities there. But it's, you know, it's farther from the center of mass of Austin, especially in those days. And I didn't say far from it. I just said a little farther. But we always wanted to be in the very center and that was downtown. Now, we didn't know of course, there was going to be a pandemic and people were going to stop coming in person. We also didn't anticipate traffic would get so bad in Austin, that it makes people even though we're in the center, it's still an impediment to attend events in person if you're coming from too far away during rush hour. So in a way the silver lining of the pandemic is we can deliver our content streamed to people for whom just traffic and congestion might be inhibitors for it. That's probably been the pandemic and the growth of Austin have both contributed to us now being much more online than we've been. Because we, we always valued the network. And we valued that tier three I mentioned a little while ago. So we always wanted to be in person. But now we're embracing both. We hoped someday we'll be great. At hybrid events, we'd love to be the very best hybrid events, but still challenging. And not all the tools work the way they're supposed to all of the time.


Michael Scharf  20:28

Indeed, it is hard. I have to tell you, your Austin form upload the podcast. Part of the research we did to start this podcast was an episode that you guys did about three years ago on the future of Austin. And it was fun to listen to. Because you described a lot of things that were going to happen. Well, of course, you couldn't realize at the time was the pandemic was on its way. And I remember listening to that podcast, and I just listened to it again, probably about a month ago. And everything that you guys predicted that was going to be 567 years out, has come to fruition in only three years, in large part because of the need to do. First off, we went from in person to totally remote now to hybrid events, and just the rapid influx of folks coming here into the Austin area. So we always ask this question, Jay, what's next, Austin?


Jay Boisseau  21:34

Well, now I feel like there's pressure since we got it right. The last time. But you're, I think that one of the things that I do fully expect in Austin, is continuing diversification of the tech sector where our history is as a semiconductor city, and used to be design and manufacturing of chips out of the manufacturing moved out, not all but a lot. We're starting to see a resurgence of that, though. It's just happening. So semiconductor design, though, has always had a strong presence here since the beginning of our days as a Tech City. So we really have a tremendous expertise in this. I mean, Intel has designers here, Nvidia, AMD arm, IBM, that's five tremendous companies that are designing, in part, their next Silicon here. And we're starting to see interest from Samsung, and others in Austin as well. So, you know, I project that, whereas it for a time, it seemed like maybe we wouldn't retain our semiconductor crown when Sematech moved to New York or whatever. I think it's really clear that MCC and cemetech built a solid foundation for us, and we're going to be as strong or stronger in semiconductor as we've ever been. Well, I should say, definitely stronger. And I think of us as the leading silicon tech city in the country. Now, even on par with Silicon Valley in that area of tech, nowhere, we're not on par with them as software, we have a number of great software companies here. Many are small, we don't have too many of the large ones based here. Although in the last several years, we've seen Google and Amazon and Facebook now meta, populate skyscrapers here and then populate second skyscrapers here. So we're starting to see a lot more of the software industry grow. And I think that's where a lot of the growth will be. And then the third area and we covered in the Austin forum recently is the HealthTech, medtech. biotech area, that has not happened as fast as I would have predicted, I thought it would happen even faster. And that was probably a bit naive. There's so many regulations. It's not like inventing a smartphone game, right? There's just so many hurdles to cross to deliver a great new health technology. And I think we're doing great and organizations like bio Austin are helping with that. And you mentioned one to me before we began recording med tech connect, and I'm certainly happy to see these I do think it will happen. I think it's inevitable, that are having a medical school finally, and having a tremendous biological sciences, set of departments at the University of Texas, plus this creative culture and the strong tech community all that comes together. And I think maybe it's 510 years, but I think we really do become one of the leaders in biotech going forward. And then of course, the last thing I never would have imagined was that Tesla would move here and SpaceX would move here, but we're clearly becoming a leader in space technology with Firefly here and SpaceX here and some others in and around Austin. So space tech, it looks like is surprise Austin is going to be a leader in space tech going forward to probably so that's that's is pretty impressive


Michael Scharf  25:01

TVs based tech 3d printed homes. We're lucky enough to have a real diverse base here in Austin. I think it says nothing but good things for us in the future. Jay Boisseau And let's see CEO and founder president and founder I forget what your title is.


Jay Boisseau  25:18

Founder and executive director of Austin Forum.


Michael Scharf  25:20

Thank you so much for being on the Austin next podcast.


Jay Boisseau  25:23

Thank you for having me.


Michael Scharf  25:25

Finally, Jason talks to med tech Connect. Their slogan is breaking silos to advance the med tech ecosystem here in Central Texas. Jawad Ali leads this new group as they work to strengthen our nascent healthcare innovation ecosystem.


Jason Scharf  25:40

So Jawad, tell us about your organization, what is really the mission and vision of Austin med tech Connect?


Jawad Ali  25:46

 Thanks, Jason. So Austin med tech connect was formed to break the silos in the Central Texas region to create a digital med tech superpower. There was a recent quote by Jim Breyer, who said that the application of computation and healthcare and life sciences will be the financial impact opportunity of this decade. And we see that this region has so many of the ingredients that are needed in this space, you know, we not only have a lot of the engineers, software developers, investors, clinicians, you know, small med tech companies, and lot and you know, a lot of CEOs, and C suite people from larger med tech companies, we also have a lot of the large tech companies. So we see Google Mehta, Amazon here. And we really feel like this creates a really amazing combination of capabilities. And what's missing is that interconnectedness. During COVID. I met with probably 35 People across sectors. And I felt like they should all be connected with each other, but they really weren't. And so that's her goal is to really catalyze this region's potential in the area of medical technology, focusing on the, you know, high level technology and the software side.


Jason Scharf  26:58

So, I mean, you've I've connected a lot offline. And you know, we're definitely exploring the ecosystem here. There are already before you formed, you know, med tech connect a lot of other life science, bio sector, med device oriented networking groups. Really Why Why build another one? Why Why not just kind of go inside? And, you know, help out there?


Jawad Ali  27:21

For sure. Yeah. And that's a great question. And I asked myself that question a lot. You know, when I first started exploring the space, you know, I do, I do consulting in the medtech field, and I wanted to be more connected. And I joined all the organizations, I met all the leaders, and I think they're all doing an amazing job. And we're not trying to compete with anybody, I don't think anybody has a specific mission that we have, which is to really connect all the different sectors for the digital med tech space, they all have a certain focus, whether it's on the academic side, whether it's on, you know, more of the bio side, are there specifically for the industry side, I kind of wanted to play devil's advocate. And I wanted someone to tell me actually, like, why don't you work with us to do this, or we're already doing this, you just didn't know about it. And as I went about meeting with all these people, joining all the organizations going to the events, you know, I really felt like this need wasn't being addressed. I'm a full time surgeon, I've got two little kids, I wasn't necessarily looking for something to do that wasn't going to be meaningful. But I really felt like, you know, the potential of this region was being held back by all the siloing. And, and so that that's why, you know, we formed the organization.


Jason Scharf  28:33

Yeah, those side gigs can become all encompassing and all consuming. So I definitely, yeah, that, yeah, you know, yeah, in something else, you know, want to get it on air, because you and I had debate this all the time. So you sick but you know, looking at connections in the digital med tech space? How are you defining that? And where are the boundary lines that you're putting in place.


Jawad Ali  28:53

I mean, also digital med tech, I don't know if people are using that term, I kind of came up with it. So what I'm defining it as is what people classically think of as metal technology, like orthopedic implants, surgical instruments, and then kind of the next generation of tech enabled technology. I had a meeting with someone from Syncron today about their you know, stent show device, which is a implantable brain device and, and then all the way over to the pure


Jason Scharf  29:19

They actually beat Elon Musk into humans.


Jawad Ali  29:22

Yeah, ya know, pretty, pretty cool. And then all the way to the pure software device, you know, like, things like or optimization and, you know, digital patient engagement. And, you know, that's just the beginning of it. So that's kind of how I define it. I know it's open to interpretation. And I'm happy to talk to other people about it. You know, there's also the stuff more in the bio side, like using AI to generate like novel small molecules and stuff like that. So it's not a super cleanly defined, but you gotta gotta start somewhere.


Jason Scharf  29:50

Yeah, and I think as as the tool sets grow, they start to have the ability, but line becomes really blurred, right, as you said, you know, synthetic biology tech BIOS starts to kind of look the same as this kind of platform technology in the clinical space as well. So how are you trying? You said the mission is something different, right? Trying to connect people in getting rid of the silos in the space? How are you trying to drive these unique creative collisions that you weren't seeing are happening?


Jawad Ali  30:15

Yeah, that's a good question. I know, you and Tom singer talked a little bit about it in your last episode. So, you know, there's different kinds of events that happen. One is kind of the big, you know, happy hour, everyone comes, you kind of hang out. And I think there's a role for that. What it's not addressing is, you know, having a density of the relevant people at the event write for to lead to meaningful, not just conversations, but relationships that further people's business and professional objectives. And so we're doing combination of events. One is that smaller in person dinner event, which you went to last time, by 16, people in white only kind of really thoughtfully put together guest list. Other one is a 75 person, larger event with a panel, and then more of the networking side of it still in might only still kind of, you know, with a focus guest list, and they're going to alternate between the two. And then in addition to that, because in this day and age, I think in person definitely has a role. But you have to have some kind of continuity online. And so we're building our online community, that's going to be kind of a bespoke place that people can have conversations, and then take those conversations into other areas. And we're going to have staff that will help moderate and direct those online conversations. So that's something we're thinking about how to do and looking for feedback on you know, what that could look like?


Jason Scharf  31:40

Well, one of the things that I've seen recently, and what I really enjoyed about the discussion group that I attended through you guys, it was very much focused on ideas. Now, I'm not saying the transactional nature of like, hey, I need this, I'm looking for a job, or I need this kind of help, or this kind of resource. But it was one of the few times where it really I know for us the topic was what does the ecosystem need? Right? And I think the same thing, when as you're building out that digital sphere, there's a place for the I need I have I want there's also a place for the how do we drive that discussion of ideas? What was fascinating by having that I think idea driven, it was the most unique group that I had ever been to in terms of in the life science, right? You had actual clinicians there, you had sales reps from, you know, large pharma and medtech companies. So it's very different than the like, well, I have services I want to sell. He was like, oh, no, but their perspective was something unique that kind of brought to the table. And so I kind of appreciated very well. So what do networking and industry groups need to do differently to kind of better serve the members, both individuals and companies?


Jawad Ali  32:47

I think I think two things, I think one is really knowing all the people involved. And I think at some sense, like being a clinician, who's working in med tech is helpful in that, because I'll work pretty directly with a bunch of different categories of people, right, whether it's healthcare leaders, or salespeople and things like that people that a lot of the other industry folks might not interact with. I think that's one thing is really knowing your audience, in a deep level, like knowing, like, what their needs are, what they're trying to do. So that's that's the first thing. I think, second, secondly, I think, is having a goal, that's not transactional, like you mentioned, you know, like, I think a lot of organizations, their goal is to whether it's to drive membership, or whether it's to, you know, make money through a conference, or whether it's through creating deals for themselves, or whether it's to, you know, furthering the academic institutions mission, right, which is, which is similar but not exactly aligned. So I think those two things I would say are the things that we're hoping will lend to our strength is really knowing the different members of the of the ecosystem, and understanding you know, what they want to do, and then serving that and hopefully not a self focused way or not, not a transactional way.


Jason Scharf  34:02

I think the more people that we get to be thinking from a second order perspective of if the Austin ecosystem thrives, I don't care whether it's the life science, whichever one we're talking about, then I will thrive. And give it that kind of it's a little more, there's little more faith behind it, there's a little more that this is going to happen. I think the better you know, the better off we all end up being in these kinds of collaborative and connection type of groups. So million dollar question. What's next Austin?


Jawad Ali  34:30

Yeah, you know, I've been waiting for this question my whole life. Yes. And


Jason Scharf  34:36

I'm glad I could pose it to you then.


Jawad Ali  34:38

Yeah. So I mean, I think I think for us, I really see a huge opportunity in this digital med tech space. I really think we have a lot of the key ingredients. I think that you know, we're at a unique point in time and unique point in space. And cspm kind of alluded to this as well. You know, I think you'll see all the awesome things that have happened in Austin. Over the last, you know, 30 years, but I think you look forward, like to the next 10 years. And I think there's a potential here to be a real force and changing not just, you know, the medical nology space, but also providing solutions for patients and for clinicians to really impact how care is delivered the modalities we have to deliver it, and what else we have to measure that, you know, I really think that Central Texas has has a large role to play in that.


Jason Scharf  35:25

I love it and agree with it. Thanks for joining us.


Jawad Ali  35:29

My pleasure. Thank you.


Michael Scharf  35:31

Sometimes it's hard to figure out which networking groups are the right ones for you. Today, we've taken a look at three groups with very different goals and tactics. If we left out your favorite, please let us know on our website,


Jason Scharf  35:47

So what's next Austin, we're glad you've joined us on this journey. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast catcher. Leave us a review and let your colleagues know about us. This will help us grow the podcast and continue bringing you unique interviews and insights. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you soon.