A Mississippi Tech Retro- + Propective
“It’s the People”.
That was the tag line for the first Sandbox Live, our attempt to seed a South by Southwest type technology, music, and film conference in Fondren. Now after the curtain has fallen, we can say with gusto that it was indeed the people!
For us at Mantle., it is always the people. The people are the ones that come to work everyday in our coworking spaces. The people are the ones that are spinning ideas into businesses in Mantle.’s incubator. The people make us tick.
The base element of the next big thing is always the founder and the team, not the idea or many of other considerations. Ideas are dime a dozen. A driven founder is gold!
The biggest take away from the first Sandbox Live is this: Mississippi has the people!
Other than our two stellar speakers, Nick Moran (Chicago) and Rachael Qualls (Kansas City), everyone else that presented or took the stage at Sandbox Live was from Mississippi. Person after person took the stage and told great stories and dropped knowledge about what is happening around our state in tech, music, and film. Following the event we know we have not arrived, but all the people were excited about where we are headed. Every speaker and many of the attendees told their inspiring stories to even more people who showed up because they want to make the future here in Mississippi.
We have a lot stacked against us, but Mississippi has always had the creativity. We celebrated that by featuring jazz — America’s official music, thanks to Mississippi. Our writers have penned some of the greatest stories ever published, now we are starting to tell those stories in film. We are no Silicon Valley or even Austin, but CSpire has built the nations largest privately held cell phone company, eighth nationally with the publicly traded competition, and has continued to innovate into fiber data delivery too.
It can be done!
We are encouraged by the helping hands that showed up to be entertained and ended up pitching in to production. People like Hunter Gardner of the Delta Film Institute who came over excited to lob questions and make connections. People like Raphael Semmes who just one week after playing Sandbox Live hosted his tenth annual Township Jazz Festival (and it was 🔥). People like Nader Dabit and JC Hiatt who run two of Jackson’s top tech meetups and who both participated on our Developer Panel.
We are encouraged by the conversations we had in the hours and days following Sandbox Live from people like Eric who helped produced Sandbox Live. Eric thought that it was so cool what all of our startup showcase companies were doing. He simply didn’t know that things like that were happening in Mississippi. He was not the only one.
We are stoked. We hope y’all are stoked! But, we have to keep up the momentum. The gospel is not spread though just one revival weekend.
So here are some more things that you can get into if you were inspired by Sandbox Live:
CTX — Oxford + Ole Miss — April 27
If you liked Sandbox Live, you will not want to miss CTX in Oxford on April 27th! CTX is another tech and music focused event driven by the folks at CSpire that will showcase the cool, building tech wave that is swelling in Mississippi.
CTX’s technology focus will help kick-off the 22nd annual Double Decker Festival, set for April 28–29. The two-day Double Decker attracts thousands of visitors and features nearly 200 arts, crafts and food vendors, along with live music and other entertainment. CTX will lead off the weekend on Thursday featuring three nationally renowned speakers: Brian Uzzi, a Northwestern University professor and artificial intelligence expert; Michelle McKenna-Doyle, chief information officer for the National Football League; and Randi Zuckerberg, founder of Zuckerberg Media and former chief marketing officer of Facebook.
There will also be demonstrations for some of the leading technology innovations in the U.S., including virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and a “sneak peek” of C Spire’s forthcoming streaming digital television product are also planned. The VR demonstrations will feature advanced work by faculty and students in the UM School of Engineering and the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Entrepreneurial partners for the event include the UM schools of Business Administrationand Engineering, Associated Student Body, the CME and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
In addition, CTX 2017 includes a music concert that evening at The Lyric Oxford, near the Square. Featured performers include Passion Pit, an alternative indietronic band from Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Weeks and the Lonely Biscuits, both from Nashville, Tennessee.
We will be there and will fill you in on how you can connect with us soon. We hope to see y’all there!
Learn More and get tickets: www.cspire.com/ctx
JAWAD — Jackson — Monthly
The Jackson Area Web and App Developers meetup is for professional web designers and developers looking to network with others in the industry, learn about new or emerging technologies, and for anyone looking to learn web development (beginner to advanced). Meetup discussions center around design for the web, shared experiences with use of different tools & languages, web sites critiques and industry talk, as well as business and employment news, and motivations and inspirations. This group is intended to become a hub for all today’s technologies that make up the Internet.
JAWAD meets monthly in informal settings (usually over coffee, drink and food) to network and socialize with other fellow web development professionals and enthusiasts.
Join the meetup: https://www.meetup.com/Jackson-Area-Web-And-App-Developers/
JXNtech — Jackson — Monthly
The Jackson Tech Entrepreneurs is a monthly Meetup group made up of nearly 500 local entrepreneurs, creatives, and other professionals involved in the tech industry. The purpose of the group is to foster a more tech-driven and creative community in central Mississippi. After a several year hiatus, the group is back meeting monthly featuring companies and speakers as well as beer and food.
Join the meetup: https://www.meetup.com/jxntech/
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