Cheryl is the Media Relations Manager at TechPoint in Indianapolis. She’s an accredited Public Relations professional, an Indiana native, and a freelance writer. She played basketball (badly) in her youth.
7 Ways Working in the Tech Industry is Like Playing Basketball
With all eyes on Indiana for the 2021 March Madness Tournament, it seems like every Hoosier is looking to get involved with the NCAA’s fabled basketball championship. For Indiana’s tech sector, it’s an easy connection to make. The NCAA is a member of TechPoint, an organization that grows and accelerates Indiana’s tech ecosystem. In partnership with TechPoint, the NCAA has fully embraced technology as a necessary part of its operations, especially now.
Organizing an event the size of the Men’s Basketball Tournament could easily drive a person to madness in normal times. Traditionally, it involves more than 60 teams, thousands of support staff, nearly three weeks of events, and millions of fans both in person and via global broadcast.
An event this large typically takes a year of planning, significantly more than the three months Indy had to prepare. Add in the need to safely distance everyone because of COVID-19, and it’s a nearly impossible task. But not here in Indianapolis. Basing the tournament entirely in Indiana gives the NCAA access to serious experience and reliable technology.
As Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball, told the Indianapolis Business Journal: “When you condense 14 sites into one and bring 68 teams together to play 67 games in three weeks, it’s a logistical challenge. But it’s an exciting one, and one that we’ve embraced.”
This historic tournament is bound to be an event like no other—and a true marvel in technological innovation. But beyond the role tech plays in the tournament, both TechPoint and the tech industry actually have a lot in common with basketball.
1. Tech is a team sport.
Sure, you might have a few star players, but even Michael Jordan needed someone to throw him the ball! Whether you’re a startup or an enterprise-level business, every organization needs people who are dedicated to working as a team. That means combining “soft skills” like marketing, finance, and human resources with “hard skills” like coding, designing, and engineering. TechPoint addresses both those talent needs by filling the job pipeline as well as connecting people to great companies.
2. Tech requires perseverance and skill.
Every Hoosier knows how Larry Bird became a legend. He practiced—even on crutches—to hone his free throw skills, and he had a career-long habit of playing even through pain. Hoosiers across all business sectors and industries are renowned for a similar, determined work ethic. And our tech industry is a community where failure is a sign of strength and a reason to keep going. TechPoint’s network of member companies provides a safety net of support as well as a wealth of entrepreneurs who are willing to coach others along that same path.
3. Tech switches between offense and defense quickly.
Many people have stories about someone who got confused on the court and scored a basket for the other team. And just like that player can laugh about it now, the tech industry also celebrates failures. When something goes wrong, people in tech need to quickly pivot and apply unanticipated learnings to new remedies.
Like everyone during this past year of COVID-19 challenges, TechPoint had to quickly adapt programs that most people thought were reliant on in-person gatherings. In this digital world, the virtual Mira Gala shattered attendance records and stands as a model for virtual events. TechPoint also created the SOS Challenge basically on the fly to help interns who lost their summer gigs. The program was so successful that it’s getting extra innings this year. Interested college students can apply to participate here.
4. Tech requires good coaching.
Indiana’s been a major influence on some of basketball’s most legendary coaches—from Brad Stevens to John Wooden. The same is true for Indiana’s tech industry. There are a litany of tech trailblazers who came from our innovative ecosystem, including Scott Jones, Scott Dorsey, Don Brown, Angie Hicks, Sherry Aholm, and Jo Ann Gora. Meanwhile, TechPoint leads from the stands, the bench, and sometimes the coaches corner with initiatives designed to move the sector forward and ensure it’s open and welcoming to all.
5. Tech needs its sixth man.
Some basketball players will tell you that when they’re in the zone, the noise of the crowds fades away. Then, it’s just the player, the ball, and the net. But often, you can see players raising their hands to hype up the crowd and thriving on their fans’ cheers. In tech, our fan base is our customers. And our tech sector’s efforts to win, keep, and grow our market share has positioned Indiana as the nation’s next breakout tech hub. In Indiana, TechPoint isn’t just a cheerleader. No one works harder to elevate Indy’s tech ecosystem and advance the industry.
6. Tech is a contact sport.
Just like basketball, the tech industry is made for human interaction. E-sports may be less sweaty and physical, but tech is all about connecting with people to create solutions for problems. And for that, you need a good team of people in your corner. TechPoint works hard to attract and recruit new people to Indiana’s ever-growing community of tech talent and innovative entrepreneurs. We focus on reaching out to the people outside of our state and sharing why Indianapolis is the place to be.
7. Tech is always advancing.
Basketball has changed since it was first played with two peach baskets, 13 rules, and a soccer ball. Each year, players come up with new skills and strategies to get the ball into the net. But the tech industry advances even faster, constantly evolving and innovating. That’s why Indiana is proud to lead the way in marketing technology, edge computing, sports tech, and edtech. And TechPoint is here to champion every advance and help connect Indy with a world of progress.
Indiana’s tech sector is built for a successful March Madness.
Through the collaboration of countless people, the 2021 March Madness Tournament will be an unforgettable moment in history. But you can’t inspire a nation to dance the Big Dance unless you’re at the top of your game. From our spot in the stands, we see how Indiana’s tech ecosystem advances high-speed innovation and do our part to make every venture a success.
And we’re every bit as excited about the opportunities and possibilities of this Digital Age as we are for the big championship game!