Share the passion for your side-hustle
What are you passionate about? Do you have a side project that you work on after you get home from work? Sharatoga TechTalks is a bi-monthly event created in September 2014 by Capital Region serial-entrepreneur Chris Thompson. The meetup is an opportunity for both current and aspiring tech professionals to network and hear ten minute “tech talks” from others. Topics range from software development, social media strategy, product development, UI/UX graphic design, and marketing and advertising. The twist? These creatives are not presenting on behalf of their companies; instead, they share insights on topics they are pursuing outside of work: their side-hustle.
Sharatoga TechTalks was created to provide a regular meeting opportunity for the creative tech-community in Saratoga and the greater Capital Region. Chris worked remotely for startups in Silicon Valley and New York City. Occasionally he would spend a few days working in New York for his company, which led him to explore different tech talks and meetups in NYC. He started to notice that the same group of tech creatives were attending the same events, and he felt a real sense of community.
Chris wanted to create that same community in his hometown, Saratoga Springs. Originally, he launched the Sharatoga Coworking space where members would work in proximity and regularly gather to discuss their projects and share ideas. Sharatoga TechTalks is the final result of the Sharatoga Coworking space’s evolution; the meetup affords Chris the opportunity to continue fostering the local tech creative ecosystem and provide a forum for its members to confab, network, and collaborate. The TechTalks event consistently grows in attendance each month, making it one of Saratoga’s premier networking events.
“In the past 4-5 years there has been a swell in the number of new startups that have been founded in Saratoga and have chosen to grow their companies here,” said Chris. The serial entrepreneur loosely categorizes these new founders into three : 1) Skidmore College students / alums; 2) entrepreneurs / techies living in Saratoga but working remotely for other established companies; and 3) those arising from natural collisions within the established tech / entrepreneurial ecosystem of Saratoga companies. “The real benefit of the Saratoga tech scene is that it’s small, we see each other all the time,” Chris continues, “It’s a real close-knit community.”
The local entrepreneurial ecosystem is full of regulars including employees from MadGlory, Overit, Fingerpaint, Informz, and Odd Networks. Eric Leander, a founding partner at The Wagner Firm, has been a long time member of the Saratoga tech scene, and first met Chris back in September 2013 when Sharatoga TechTalks started. Eric’s been Chris’ lawyer for multiple companies ever since. “Eric is always just a text message or phone call away whenever I have a question,… which is frequently, but he always makes time to be there for me and our company,” said Chris. “Eric’s support of the community, including his attendance at our events, makes all the difference in really energizing the technology and entrepreneurial community. He is genuinely interested in building relationships for growth, putting in the time and getting to know the entrepreneurs to best help them,” he added.
Chris is currently dedicated full-time to his latest venture DashMetrics, and is working on expanding its team this Fall. He is looking to continue working on Sharatoga TechTalks and growing the event over the next year.