It’s a summer afternoon workday at SPiN NYC. A ping-pong social club recommended to me by a client with offices in the same building on 5th Avenue and East 23rd street. When it comes to finding a place to work I enjoy setting up a mobile office in a fun atmosphere. Not sure why but it helps me focus. Also, I thrive on incentives. The reward for completing my task list is a pick-up game of table tennis.
An hour or so later, a train pulls into the subway and as the crowd exits, many curiously peek through SPiN’s glass wall that divides the Subway station and the club. “Hey, would you like another drink?” the waitress asks, “Yes, please.” The place begins to fill with a happy hour crowd. I finish my final task for the day and join a game of doubles with a few guys.
It turns out that my fellow players are also techies. They work out of General Assembly – a collaborative workspace for tech entrepreneurs similar to many of the co-working spaces in my hometown of San Francisco. Many of the startups and tech companies I’ve worked with in the past have in-office ping pong tables and regular players. I wonder, it seems like tech and pong go together like peas and carrots so why not organize something back home? Why don’t we have an open space for recreational table tennis like this in San Francisco? I’m sure Mayor Lee would be interested, he’s a huge fan of tech innovation and table tennis.
When I returned to San Francisco from my trip to NY, I started inquiring about the local table tennis scene. I was invited to a get together with the good folks from the Dolores-Mission Ping Pong Association at “House of Pong.” The venue is above the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf on Jefferson street. They are currently experimenting with the space by hosting invitational events. Two outdoor balconies overlook the bay with plenty of space to mingle and play.
It seems like all the variables are in place so today I’m proud to announce that I’ve teamed up with the House of Pong to launch — PingSF @pingsf. A series of invitational recreational table tennis events for the San Francisco tech community. Who’s in? Many of us already collaborate on open source projects and hackathons, etc.. why not table tennis? Let’s play tribute to a little thousand-line hack written by the late Mike Muuss. A place for the local tech community to play once a month after work and engage in friendly competition. We’re planning to host our first series of events starting this Summer. If you work in the SF tech scene and are interested in an invite please let me know; we’d love to hear from you.