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Get to know a BASHH gal: Kerissa Bearce

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“My first BASHH was when it was still called BATHH.

Tell us about your first BASHH – how did you hear about it, end up there, and how did it go?”

“My first BASHH was when it was still called BATHH. It was at Union Park I think, and I’m pretty sure there’s an Annie Ray picture by myself depicting it. I was terrified, but I had seen online you and some others talking about it. So I signed up to be a person that walks around and tries to interact with other people.

So for my first BASHH, I had already given myself a job so that I wouldn’t stand around awkwardly not knowing what to say. It was still awkward but at least it gave me a reason to walk up to people and see what they were about.”

“A good way to force yourself to adventure out of your comfort zone.”

Since you volunteer at BASHH and are so well ingrained in the community now, what keeps you coming back?

“About 3 years ago, I found myself in a situation in Austin where I had about one friend. I wasn’t sure whether to leave the town and never look back or throw myself into finding friends. What ended up happening was that through Twitter, I met my entire new friend group. We even have a hashtag for ourselves (#htm).

So I was so excited to meet all these new friends, but the problem was we kept on hanging out with each other and no one else! So I really keep coming to BASHH to meet new folks. I really see the power of Twitter not in just business, but to enhance your personal life. I wouldn’t still be in Austin, this city I love so very much, if I didn’t meet that original group.

I continue meeting people through Twitter at BASHH and just around, “oh we follow each other!” and I don’t find it weird. I love how BASHH does that. It’s so many different kinds of people with different agendas, but a good way to force yourself to adventure out of your comfort zone.”

A BASHH connection that kept a cool project alive

What connections have you made at BASHH that has been the most meaningful and successful to you?

“For the past 6 years, a friend and I have kept an online Google doc of all the free and rsvp parties for SXSW and it started to get really out of control. Too unorganized, too many people, not really searchable or usable. So this past year, we launched SxShhh which is a more organized way to list the parties. We really wanted to focus on music – the list of parties is searchable by band, so you can see every free or rsvp party your favorite band is playing. You could also create a customizable schedule and it kept track of what you RSVP’d to.

We paid someone to build this site and very quickly after launch, we realized the site was breaking. I don’t know much about websites, but my business partners did. The site was poorly coded and was falling apart. I had met Stacey (@staceykface) through BASHH and she had an account. Her boyfriend Karl (@ktiedt) saw the site and had the skills and understanding of what was happening to fix it.

So he contacted me and worked with my business partners and fixed the site. Just because he wanted to. Just because he liked a challenge and saw some local Austin kids trying to make something cool and he could help fix it. We couldn’t have done it without him and are super proud of what he helped us create and fix.”

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BASHH

BASHH will be back, please stand by

We’ll be back… here’s why it might take longer for us to gather than other networking events.

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Many folks were angry with us for canceling BASHH in January for COVID-19, and we were wildly reluctant to host an event in February. We insisted no one hug or touch each other, and that was long before many had even heard of the coronavirus.

We didn’t even schedule an event in March, because by then, we were all on the same page across the nation. Here we are in April, wondering when it will be safe to get “back go normal,” but the truth is that we’ll probably be last to get back out into public.

Several of us are immunocompromised, and we’re going to be a little trigger shy, so please be patient with us.

We will keep you updated here and via email, and appreciate your understanding.

We miss you too, pals. I mean it.

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BASHH

Why did we partner with Pressable for the rest of 2018?

We don’t just partner with any company to introduce you to and offer our social capital to, so why have we bet big on Pressable? We promise you’ll deeply respect them by the end of this story.

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pressable team

BASHH has been partnered with Pressable for months now, and if you haven’t made it out to an event yet, (1) change that immediately, and (2) we want to tell you about them even if you can’t come be with us in person.

They offer Managed WordPress Hosting for agencies, developers, and you. They say “It’s Where #WordPress Works Best.” We can vouch for that. Why?

Because BASHH is actually owned by a national news organization that has long used Pressable. Don’t get me wrong, we used another company before them, but continually got the equivalent of “did you try unplugging it and plugging back in?” with annoyance that we existed.

Not at Pressable.

They’re one of the only companies that still believes in doing the right thing to help their clients, and they’re based right here in Central Texas, so we want you to reconsider who you’re currently using.

And if you’re not convinced, here’s a personal story about why we want the world to know about them:

Pressable is so special to us, professionally and personally – they’re sponsoring BASHH for the rest of the year because I very sincerely want you to get to know them as we have.

It was exactly four years ago today that my husband, and the co-founder of BASHH was in a hospital bed.

His chest had been sawed open, his heart removed and poked, and sewn back in. #quadruplebypass

He founded the company I work for, and is a brilliant leader. But bypass surgery is completely debilitating, so I had to take over for a bit.

And I did.

And then I broke our website. Websites. All of them.

I’m not sure to this day what I did, but I was sitting in a hospital, and trying to work in between hollering at nurses because the most precious person in my life was having massive complications (like guys, there was a suction hose INSIDE his body that was suctioned to the bottom of his heart, literally bruising and damaging it – that’s just for starters).

I was in tears.

I just wanted him to be okay, and for our company to run itself.

But I broke our websites, they went completely down, and the entire company came to an abrupt stop. The entire team was messaging me that they couldn’t work. Readers were emailing in anger.

It was the last thing we all needed. What the hell was I going to do?

I put in a customer support ticket to Pressable, our web host, who is just up the road from us, hoping to God that they knew what I broke.

Our last WordPress host would typically put problems back on us, and always condescended us, and while in tears, I expected the same.

And one hour later, they emailed that they just fixed it. FOR me.

WHAT!? THEY… JUST….. FIXED IT.

They didn’t ask questions, they KNEW what I was going through, and they simply fixed it because they could. It wasn’t part of any package we had paid for, they just did the right thing.

Imagine sitting in a hospital room with a laptop trying to hold a company together that your beloved founded, and they’re in extreme pain and confusion and need your focus, and you’re split in a trillion directions and crying your eyes out.

Pressable didn’t worry about a ticket time, they just helped.

They bailed me out of an impossible situation.

If you have a WordPress site or have clients that do, I want to personally invite you to come meet their team in person at the next BASHH. We’ve been with them for so many years now, and are sincerely proud to introduce YOU to them.

And then, we want you to choose them for everything WordPress in your life.

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BASHH

How did BASHH get started?

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Did you know BASHH is 10 years old?

Yep! BASHH is now old enough to be in fourth grade, be addicted to Fortnite, and incorporating our first cuss words (graduating from “dang” to “damn” in front of friends because we’re cool as heck).

As we celebrate our ten year anniversary, many don’t know how this all got started. But it’s actually a lovely story. Ready?

Ten years ago, people still didn’t use the internet to meet each other. It was weird. So Twitter launched, and a handful of us in Austin used it regularly, and we got to know each other quickly (back then, you were expected to read all of your friends’ tweets every day).

Most of us were in the tech or marketing field, and we had a lot in common – that handful of us were professionals, curious by nature, and of course, geeky by nature as early adopters.

So two of us decided we should all meet up. Maybe just do BBQ at Waterloo. And so we did.

Confession time

It felt really natural since we all knew so much about each other already – we already felt connected. But it was the first “Tweet Up” in Austin, and we knew we were all on to something special.

But the truth is, I just wanted to gauge people in person to make sure I wasn’t befriending serial killers or whatever. Not that meeting people in person helps knowing that, but doing a gut check is much easier.

After that fun little meetup, everyone kept asking me when we were going to do it again.

I had somehow been appointed the ring leader.

Okay, fine. I always was one to do the entire class project alone anyhow, because of a weird mixture of overachievement and being overbearingly controlling.

So we did another meetup the next month, and grew from five to 10 people. It was all people connected to the startup world.

And then the next month, we did it again, and we’ve done it nearly every single month since. Startups have been born by connecting at BASHH, jobs have been found, marriages and babies (some on purpose, some on accident) have resulted, but most importantly, it was this town’s first way of getting offline to meet the people you knew online. Easy peasy.

And I’m honored to have been thrust into organizing it, and wouldn’t change that for the world. Love you all!!!

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