When UT alumnus Kash Shaikh travels around the world, he asks people of all different backgrounds two questions: “What you do for a living? What do you love?” The answers to the two questions, he said, never overlap.
“I realized that your house, car, jewelry or clothes are not your most valuable assets,” Shaikh said. “What you love to do is by far your most valuable asset, and you should be able to monetize it and make a living off it. The purest way of living is to do what you want.”
It took years of traveling for Shaikh to realize this. He founded his organization #besomebody in 2009 when he documented his travels as a social marketer for Proctor and Gamble using the hashtag “#besomebody” on social media. Eventually, he gained a following and created the #besomebody blog. People from all over began sharing their own experiences using the hashtag, inspiring Shaikh’s campaign travels and the development of #besomebody.
On Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, close to 100 people from across the country will participate in the #besomebody event, which will include motivational speeches, a dinner and a series of Austin-oriented activities tailored to each person’s interests.
“There’s nothing more contagious than the energy around you,” Shaikh said. “So I’d love for people just to come into this city, see amazing people, experience what they love and take that back home with them and not lose that feeling. When you follow that feeling, things start to happen.”
Before participants purchase their tickets online, they must choose one of three categories: artist, athlete or adventurer. These categories determine what activities will be included in their weekend.
“Austin is the best city in the world for this,” #besomebody social media manager Alex Dorner said. “There’s such a surplus of awesome people in all those categories that it just makes sense.”
Four motivational speakers, including Shaikh, will speak to the participants Friday. The other speakers include Jen Bricker, a renowned aerialist born without legs, Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist, and Jason Harper, a marathon runner who once weighed over 300 pounds. Afterward, there will be a dinner at the #besomebody headquarters.
The participants will be separated into their groups Saturday. Athletes will attend a boot camp at Zilker Park led by Stronghorn Fitness, rock climb with Summit Guides and bike with Barton Springs Bikes. Adventurers will wakeboard with Quest ATX, zipline at Lake Travis and stand-up paddle board at Lady Bird Lake. Artists will cook at HausBar Farms, dance with a dance-fit professional, Grace Marcum, and paint with SprATX.
“There will be four artists who lead the experience,” said Molly Maroney, UT alumna and co-owner of SprATX. “They’ll all be creating a collaborative piece, showing the positive power that street art has.”
In less than two weeks, #besomebody will launch its app marketed to the community within a hundred miles of Austin. The app will give the businesses and organizations participating in #besomebody Weekend an opportunity to connect with people in Austin who want to pursue their passions.
“It’s not rocket science, but it’s definitely revolutionary,” Shaikh said. “If we could create a single platform that could connect people based on shared passion, we’d be building something that doesn’t exist.”
Shaikh said he and his team plan to expand the #besomebody event to areas throughout the world. He hopes to make #besomebody Weekend a major, annual event in Austin.
“I would love for it to always be here because everything for me really started in Austin,” Shaikh said. “The vision is to learn and prove the passion economy in Austin and scale it around the world.”