By Jeff Ketner, CEO, Ketner Group

Ketner Group Communications is no stranger to 36|86 Festival and LaunchTN. Our Nashville office kicked off with a bang at 36|86 last year; Kirsty Goodlett, our Nashville director, was featured on a panel discussion about winning press and influencing customers. That’s why Mariana Fischbach, director of media relations, and I were thrilled to host a session this year to discuss the importance of media relations.

When most people think about PR, they think about getting media coverage, aka, media relations. Not everyone is going to get to the front page of The New York…

Peter Tsai may not be a household name, but odds are you know his work.

By Tickle College of Engineering, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The now-retired, longtime research faculty member of the Department of Material Science and Engineering is the architect behind the essential technology in N95 respirators, the ones in such high demand for use on the front lines in the fight to contain COVID-19.

Tsai recently came out of retirement to work in conjunction with the UT Research Foundation on methods and testing that might provide a way for the masks to be safely reused, greatly improving…

Pushing high-velocity decision making deeper into your organization

By Viraj Parikh, Managing Partner of TechCXO

On a recent 20VC podcast episode, Steve Blank, an early serial tech entrepreneur and academic who helped launch the lean startup movement, listed three things within any company leadership’s control that ultimately determines their survival:

  1. The speed at which one can assess their situation
  2. The actions you take once you make that assessment
  3. The speed of execution

“Speed” is the operative word — growth companies, borne out of the necessity to scale quickly, tend to operate in the fast lane. In Part 1, we introduced…

Investing VS. Operating

By Viraj Parikh, Managing Partner of TechCXO

Having spent over a decade as a Wall Street investment analyst and portfolio manager prior to becoming a CFO, I would often think about the decision-making process of great portfolio managers versus CEOs of the many growing companies that I admired and studied. A common thread that defined success between the two disciplines: do your homework, be decisive, and do not look back.

As a CFO and company-builder that has had the privilege of working closely with a variety of venture-backed growth companies, it is clear that high-velocity decision-making is a hallmark of…

Hear messages from 36|86 Festival friends and notables, from practical insight to messages of hope.

What are you hopeful for as your business tackles what lies ahead? What’s one practical thing you’re doing that will help you thrive in the long run?

Those are the two questions we asked 36|86 Festival friends and notables — entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem builders, speakers, and more — over the past few weeks. We’re eager to share their answers with you as we plan this year’s festival, Aug. 25-27 in Nashville.

We’re all experiencing this time together with shared uncertainty.

But it’s also a time…

Chattanooga entrepreneur Marsha Roberts shares her experience as a 36|86 Fellow, from a new view of PR to speed dating and capital ideas.

Years ago I had a darkroom for developing black and white photos. It was a magical process watching the image emerge from seemingly nothing on the paper. It never ceased to amaze me how the starkness of black and white somehow brings out a clarity not apparent in color.

That’s what 36|86 was like for me. …

Get a taste of Nashville history at these five cultural sites, recommended by Urbaanite’s DeAndre Holland.

The Witness Walls monument honors events of the Civil Rights movement that occurred in Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s. Find it in Public Square Park, on the west side of the Davidson County Courthouse.

As you take your entrepreneurial journey at 36|86 in Nashville this week, Urbaanite offers a few local gems to visit and widen your cultural lens. Post your discoveries along the way, and be sure to tag #urbaanite so we can follow your journey and share with our peeps.

Witness Walls (walking distance)
1 Public Square Park
Witness Walls is a commemorative sculpture celebrating the events of the Civil Rights movement that occurred in Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s. Located in Public Square Park on the…

In town for 36|86? Maximize your Music City downtime with these ideas from our friends at NATIVE, Nashville’s culture magazine.

You’ll find some of Music City’s tastiest restaurants in East Nashville, with plenty of neighborhood faves for dinner, brunch, and late-night eats and cocktails.


1601A Riverside Dr.
Korean-themed late-night bar and restaurant that provides a wonderful alternative to the mundane fried food usually available after 10 p.m. Whether it’s imported light beers, Sake, or Soju, Babo makes you feel like you’re getting a slice of authentic Korean nightlife.

1012 Woodland St.
4100 Charlotte Ave.
Tired of all fancy foods and just need a good slice of pie? …

From work-free weekends to hot yoga, entrepreneurs share their secrets for keeping energy up and stress down.

Our blog series on issues in entrepreneurship features 36|86 insiders exploring topics including innovation as a catalyst for social change, the importance of women’s voices in the startup economy, and why community is critical.

Today’s conversation features self-care insights and tips from Channing Moreland, cofounder of EVAmore; Felicia Jackson, CEO of CPR Wrap; and Doug Speight, founder of AnnexTech Partners.

As entrepreneurs, how do you make sure business stays on track when you need a break?

I feel like we all have anxiety attacks when we’re truly out of reach from our business. I get it! …

How ecosystem-builders are fostering innovation, diversity, and economic growth in emerging startup hubs like Memphis, Louisville, and Tampa.


Our blog series on issues in entrepreneurship features 36|86 insiders exploring topics including innovation as a catalyst for social change, the importance of women’s voices in the startup economy, and how to take care of yourself while you’re taking care of business.

Today’s topic: the challenges and transformative power of entrepreneurship in non-traditional hubs. Meet Louisa Shepherd, director of Epicenter in Memphis; Patrick Henshaw, CEO of Louisville’s LEAP; and Allie Felix, Director of Platform for Embarc Collective in Tampa.

Why are ecosystem builders important to the development of entrepreneurship in non-coastal markets — and in the Southeast, in particular?

The big entrepreneurial…

36|86 Festival

36|86 brings together innovators, pioneers, investors & visionaries to shape the future of business.

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