Fast Company

Playing Games With Networking

Sports may be the ultimate networking tool, but golf is so Business 1.0.

Segway Polo

Segway Polo

You guessed it: Polo on Segways

Who's playing:
Steve Wozniak (cofounder, Apple), Paul Costa (hardware engineering manager, Apple), and Alex Ko (engineering manager, Kateeva) are part of a California league.

Game appeal:
"Tech people were the ones willing to first spend $5,000 on a Segway. Then we started saying, 'What could we do with these things?' And we wanted to socialize," says Wozniak.

Ultimate Frisbee

Soccer, but with frisbees

Who's playing:
Warren Packard (venture partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Peter Nieh (cofounder, Lightspeed Venture Partners), Dave Mcclure (founding partner, 500 Startups), and others are regulars at Palo Alto's Greer Park.

Game appeal:
"The sport started with a group of high schoolers who went on to Ivy League schools, so it's always been a game for the geeks and techie people. My team in 1991 was the first team in ultimate--and probably any sport--that all had email addresses," says Mcclure.

Kiteboarding

Surfing with a 15-foot sail

Who's playing:
Richard Branson (chairman, Virgin Group), Ken Howery (managing partner, Founders Fund), and Larry Page (CEO, Google) are regulars at Third Avenue beach in San Mateo, California, among other spots.

Game appeal:
"Adventurers and entrepreneurs are quite similar: you're pushing yourself to the limits, trying to see what you're capable of, but equally trying not to damage yourself too badly," says Branson.

Kiteboarding

Snow-kiting

Snowboarders attached to kites

Who's playing:
Bill Tai (partner, Charles River Ventures) organizes an annual Utah event, which includes guys like Othman Laraki (director of growth, Twitter) and Drew Houston (CEO, Dropbox).

Game appeal:
"It's a lot more fun, and infinitely safer, to do it with a group," Tai says. "That creates a feeling of community that facilitates networking on multiple levels."

Dodgeball

Dodgeball

Same as PE class: throw ball, don't get hit

Who's playing:
Katherine Barr (partner, Mohr Davidow), Ann Miura-Ko (cofounding partner, Floodgate), Hunter Walk (director of product management, YouTube), and David Hornik (general partner, August Capital) play in the annual Labor vs. Capital game in Santa Clara.

Game appeal:
"Players can get to know each other without the formal barriers of a networking event," Barr says. "And dodgeball's inclusive style is much more effective than something like golf, where the number of people you can interact with is limited."

Illustrations by Jason Lee

Related:
Green Sports Alliance: Go Green Or Go Home

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