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Tommy Landry: meet one of our favorite #BASHH fellas!

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tommy landry

tommy landry

Make a friend, meet Tommy

Sometimes it’s easier to go to your first BASHH or feel compelled to seek out new people if you have some familiar faces to approach, so in that spirit, meet Tommy Landry, founder of a fast growing internet marketing agency called Return On Now.

The company originally started out as little more than a vision and a blog, but it quickly evolved into a full time venture. Tommy and his team consult with mostly small and medium businesses on online marketing strategies and campaigns. He also provides custom trainings for local companies and at local marketing meetups. After two previous startup ventures, he has finally found his proper niche and doesn’t plan to look back.

We encourage you to connect with Tommy on his blog, on Twitter at @tommy_landry, or on the Return On Now Facebook Page.

The following interview is unfiltered, uncensored, fun, and a great way to meet a BASHHer, so let’s go!

Tell us about your first BASHH

I don’t really remember my first BASHH, but my first BATHH (Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour, the predecessor to BASHH) was way back in 2009, when I was working for a small tech company in Northwest Austin. I had heard about BATHH from several of my contacts on Twitter, so I decided to get out from behind the keyboard and hop over to the Iron Cactus near the Arboretum.

As someone who had, previously, had a fairly negative impression of local networking events, this one changed my opinion! The folks at the greeting table were very engaging and inviting, and they quickly introduced me several other interesting attendees. From there, I met a list of people I had encountered on Twitter, and several others I had not yet found. I am still in touch with most of the great people I met that day. All in all, it was a very positive experience and an enjoyable event.

What keeps you coming back to BASHH?

BASHH remains my single favorite networking event in Austin. There are no presentations, no sales pitches, just real people being themselves around other real people. I’ve met some amazing folks from ATX (and some visitors), many of whom are now friends and business partners. The contacts I made at BASHH over the years have helped with the launch and build up my own small agency, Return On Now, to what it is today. Thanks, Lani and Benn!

What connections have you made at BASHH?

I’ve met all sorts of people at BASHH, some whom I already had met online, some through introductions from others, and countless more that I met through simply striking up a conversation and engaging with them.

The beauty of this crowd is that you can make professional contacts in a low pressure situation, and you can build true personal friendships both online and IRL. Every one of the attendees has a story that is well worth hearing. Seriously, just ask anyone what keeps them going, where their true passion is, and you’re almost certain to learn something new and intriguing. I can’t wait to see who else joins the party in 2014!

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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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