Some tips on how to meet Startup Founders (& other fun people) at Tech Events…
I’ve been to my fair share of Tech Events in the last couple of years – Startup Weekends in several countries, big conferences like The Next Web in Amsterdam, Accelerator launches, pitch events, guest talks with the likes of Steve Blank & Ash Maurya & various other smaller networking tech-related events in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Melbourne & San Francisco.
A few notes about Startup Founders – they are normally short on cash (as they are putting everything in to their Startup, living off next to nothing) and usually don’t get out much (unless it’s to ‘get out of the building’ & talk to customers), but not to let their hair down & go for drinks (unless you are like me & working on a Startup which getting out of the building means travelling, meeting & partying with people in bars! hehe).
So when Startup Founders find themselves at a tech event, in a room full of other Founders going through similar struggles, and other people in the industry (succesful entrepreneurs, investors, guest speakers, legends)… it’s time to cut loose a bit, pitch your idea to as many people as possible & drink as many free beers as possible. There’s normally (at least some, sometimes a lot of) free drinks at these events…
Here’s a tip for how to meet Startup Founders and other fun & interesting people at any tech event – hang near the bar where they are serving the free drinks & stay until the end of the event. You are almost guaranteed to meet a) Startup Founders & b) other cool, fun & interesting people who are up for partying & telling you what they really think about your idea (or other people in the industry)! If you’re at a big event, they might only serve free drinks to VIPs like the guest speakers. That’s ok, fake it & talk your way in. We did at TNW Conference – said we were speakers & got in to the private ‘Speaker’s Party’ where the drinks were free & help yourself… that’s all part of being a Startup founder too, right? Fake it til you make it, be scrappy & hustle your way in!
And if you’re a Startup Founder, try to pitch your idea as many ways as possible… sticker responsibly!
By Dan Fennessy, Startup Founder (Party with a Local)