2018: Better, Not More

Tech Square ATL + The Garage
Powered by Sandbox ATL

This crazy tribe of misfits and troublemakers has had many names since it arrived on the Tech Square scene in 2014. Whether you first met us as the Hump Day Secret Jam, Sandbox Crew, Sandbox ATL, Tech Square Intern Academy, Sandbox Academy, Tech Square Job Fair, or The Garage, our purpose has remained true: 

We create connections that fuel commerce

As we emerge from our winter hibernation, we are excited to share our plans for 2018, which we’ve already begun to implement. We believe this year’s iteration will be our best yet. 

 

From Many to Two
Saying “Yes, and…” is a tenet of improv comedians and innovative cultures. It’s a way of opening doors to adjacent possibilities you might not have known existed. That’s been one of our hallmark traits and led us to launch an armada of programs, events, and media content series. 

It was a mess of many that gave us a chance to experiment to discover deep pockets of potential that only we are positioned to unearth. Based on what we learned from a year of “Yes, and”, we’ve made the decision to adhere to a new mantra “Better, Not More.” That means some names and programs will fade away, so that we can focus on those deep pockets. 

In 2018, we will operate with two distinct brands:

Tech Square ATL - membership community with a media publication
The Garage at Tech Square - private event venue built for breakthroughs

Both are “Powered by Sandbox ATL”, but the Sandbox name will move to the background to let Tech Square ATL and The Garage become the main stars of the show.

Tech Square ATL
We’re folding all our events, programs, and membership community under the Tech Square ATL umbrella to simplify things. The Sandbox name was a bit confusing for some. Going forward, it’ll be just one voice for the membership community and publication: Tech Square ATL. 

Tech Square ATL community members share the belief that by coming together with people from different fields to learn from, collaborate with, and inspire each other, we can find our respective breakthroughs. 

As a member of the Tech Square ATL community, you will enjoy invitations to community events, access to the largest directory in Tech Square, our weekly newsletter, and come-and-go access to The Garage. All of this will roll over into your new Tech Square ATL membership without you having to do anything.

The Garage at Tech Square
The Garage has proven itself to be a popular and profitable private event rental venue for two years in a row. This revenue helps to provide us with the funds to allow select student and community organizations to use the venue for their important missions. 

You’ll see continued improvements made in The Garage to make even more appealing to our private event clients, which will in turn benefit the Tech Square ATL community. It’ll continue to be there for you as a collaborative workspace when it’s not in use for private events. 

 

Central Themes
If you read all three issues of Tech Square ATL - The Book 2017, you saw for yourself the wide range of events and programs we produced for and with you. Some people might have been satisfied with pulling off in one year what we did in just one four-month season. We chose to do more. 

“More” allowed us to test a number of hypotheses through these experiments. What we learned was important to helping us find where the deeper, untapped opportunities within the Tech Square ATL community. Especially when it comes to how we can better integrate our events and media publication to explore central themes. 

Based on what we know of our 1,300 (and growing) Tech Square ATL community members and the depth of knowledge that naturally exists here, we believe there’s a great opportunity to create connections that fuel commerce by focusing our events and media content on the same central themes this year. 

For the Spring Season (now thru April), our theme is “Talk Data to Me” exploring the deep intersections of data + the rest of our world. We’ll go mainstream with analytics, visualization, and security. Plus, explore ethical, social, and the unexpected. Definitely, we will include emerging trends, like cryptocurrency or protecting the election system. 

In the summer, we’ll explore Artificial Intelligence. In the fall, we finish the year with a focus on Connected Cities. All year long, we’ll gather the insights and learnings around these themes and share them with you in different ways. 


Better Aligned Programs and Events
We’ll start by aligning our Power Meals and Show&Tell events with these central themes. Both will create a bevy of insights for us to collect and share with the rest of the community, especially through The Book 2018. Plus, we’ll use the Coffee Talk gatherings as a way for new members to get started. 

Power Meals
We’re excited about the topics our hosts have selected for Spring and can’t wait to announce them. Each takes a different, creative angle to tie back to the Talk Data to Me theme. Our goal for Power Meals is to host 52 of them in 2018. This year, we have added a new component at the end of the meal for participants to record their insights for us to share. 

Show&Tell
We’re seeking to make Show&Tell better and bigger. It’s demonstrated itself as a program that allows for elbow-to-elbow conversations between corporate innovators, academics, and startups. It sparks thought provoking dialogues about how the featured technologies will shape our lives five years from now. 

Coffee Talk
Newcomers and OGs alike love this approachable half-hour gathering held every couple weeks. Get caffeinated and connected at the same time with a table full of other Tech Square ATL community members as you answer the light-hearted Question of the Day. 

 

Better New Membership Experience
Over pure first two years of operating a membership community, we’ve learned the importance of giving new members specific ways they can get involved. With that in mind, we’re excited to roll out the Badgeholder program as a sibling to the Keyholder program. You can choose to enroll in both, one, or neither. It’s up to you. 

Access to The Garage
The Keyholder program is open to all Tech Square ATL members. Once you complete the 30-minute training, you’ll have come-and-go access to The Garage Monday-Friday from 7am-8pm when there is no private events scheduled. 

Keyholder status means you have accepted the responsibility of helping those in The Garage feel welcome and included. Plus, you can enjoy use of the first come, first serve conference rooms and huddle rooms. 

Access to the Community
The Badgeholder program gives everyone who believes in the importance of coming together a very specific pathway to do so. To achieve Badgeholder status, you need to have a 100% completed profile and attend at least one Coffee Talk and at least one Power Meal. This is true for newcomers and OGs alike, since this is a new program.

Badgeholder status means you have demonstrated your commitment to our shared belief through your actions. To recognize your achievement, we’ll present you with the newly created TSQATL badge and invite you to special Badgeholder events and experiences.  

 

Better Tech Square Job Fair
In the Tech Square Job Fair’s first two years, we have held four Big Shows and enrolled 1,350 active job seekers in our resume database. Going into our third year, we’re excited to add a series of intimate, more focused events leading up to the Big Show, all of which will happen over four Tuesdays in March. 

These focused events, aka Mentor Circles, will each feature different job types and include speed mentoring with people who work in those jobs. One of them will allow those with 5 years or more of experience a chance to meet with hiring companies away from the college crowd. 

Weaving this all together will be featured stories and a weekly newsletter just for Tech Square Job Fair job seekers. Be sure to go to TechSquareJobFair.com for more details as they become available. 

 

Better Media Content
As a membership community with a media publication, we have created quite the library of content telling the stories of Tech Square. Videos, photos, podcasts, our own printed magazine, and a steady stream of social media posts. For 2018, we’re focusing our efforts on three initiatives.

THEA Video Stories
We are proud to have one of the first channels on THEA.NETWORK, the first city-focused video streaming platform launched by our partners at ChooseATL. To prepare for the world premiere at SXSW 2018 in March, we’re launching two new, longer form video series. 

Hot Seat Podcast
We have experimented with podcasts since our earliest days and published 10 episodes of our main podcast, Hump Day Exchange, in 2017. This year, we’re repackaging HDE into the Hot Seat podcast with a similar format that gives us more flexibility when and how we record the show. 

The Book 2018
Published in print and digitally, The Book has become a signature part of our media publication efforts. Volume I included issues for Spring, Summer, and Fall, chronicling the events and people. In 2018, we’re adding a new featured section that will explore community’s insights and ideas harvested from the three central themes. 

 

Phew, that’s quite the game plan for 2018. We look forward to bringing these ideas to life with your help and involvement. If you have ideas to share with us, please send them our way. Our biggest successes have come by listening to you. 

Thank you for reading all the way through this announcement. Send an email (hello@sandboxatl.com) with the subject line “I read it all!” and we’ll give you a free high five for your time and attention.