Seattle Lunch 2.0 – Happy Hour @ BlueGecko – Today!

Today is the Anniversary of the Seattle Lunch 2.0 Series!!

These lunches and happy hours started here in Seattle a year ago and have provided a wealth of knowledge, networking, and nourishment for Seattle’s technical community. I have personally met numerous entrepreneurs, developers, consultants, and service providers that have become friends and business partners. To keep up with the events you can follow my blog or register on the Seattle Lunch 2.0 wiki. Of course I’m always looking for sponsors and new people to attend from the community. Don’t hesitate to contact me about how to sponsor, co-sponsor, or just be a part of the great technical community here in Seattle!!

These lunches started with Wetpaint hosting a lunch up in their funky pioneer square loft (I hear they are hiring again too). They were joined by Eyejot & Zumobi (then ZenZui) to help cover the costs (keeping the event free to everyone) and to ensure the event was fun to attend. The event was a lot of run with Ben Elowitz, Wetpaint Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz & Trevor Foucher, Google Webmaster Team all presenting to the group.

After such a successful start last year, Zillow was joined the crowd and hosted the second lunch from their offices towering over the city. We had the pleasure of getting a presentation from Rich Barton, Zillow & John Cook, Seattle PI who talked about startups, funding, and technology in general.

Not to be outdone by the well funded startups, the third lunch was hosted by Wishpot, Snapvine, Zumobi, and nPost. Max over at Wishpot stayed up the night before cooking Lasagna for everyone and the rest of the wishpot team stayed up all night finishing their facebook app…. for the Launch at the Lunch!! Snapvine as you all know was just purchased and of course Zumobi continued their involvement and nPost started to contribute to sponsoring the lunches as well. This evening’s event is going to followed up by a nPost Pub Crawl as well!!

These lunches were now in full swing with a great community turnout. I started to hear all sorts of great things that were a result of attending the events…devs finding new jobs, companies building new partnerships, and companies being discovered through the events. Proud of how things were going and thankful to Terence, Mark, and Joseph in the valley for coming up with the idea in the first place and encouraging me to start these here in Seattle, I blazed on organizing more of these through the rest of the year….

With my newfound hobby, Cardomain.com opened their doors to the community and we got another panel discussion with Rajan Krishnamurty and Brier Dudley talking about building successful social networks. They brought in some great food and kept the nourishment side of things at a difficult level to keep up with.

Now that all sorts of startups were opening their doors to the community, and we (the community) were getting a good chance to meet the devs behind the cool companies around town to share ways of doing things and get new ideas….Adobe decided to jump in and sponsor an event. Now for being a big company, Ryan Stewart sure made adobe feel welcoming and being that we got free food and AIR demos… his job was easy.

With all of these great companies around, some of the service folks in the community wanted to contribute to the events. They had been attending since the start and didn’t want to intrude on the fun we were all having, but when you get a good services company with some interesting geeks behind them… they are more then welcome to host these kind of events. I was lucky enough to partner up with Widemile & Portent Interactive for hosting the next event in October. We got to hear about the cool Marketing things they offer and some demos of what they have done for companies in the past. Ian Lurie and Robert Bergquist ensured we all left a little smarter then when we arrived.

To follow up the October event, I partnered with Google and a my peers in Chicago to host a lunch on the same day, by the same company, in two locations!! At our local event in Kirkland John Blackburn presented and again kept the budding entrepreneurs and devs learning new cool things and enjoying free food and networking…

Heading into December was a lot of fun, F5 sponsored an event at their offices and Scott Berkun came in to talk about innovation. F5 had a huge room that we nearly filled 100+ and Scott kept us all there well after the lunch would normally have been over with his willingness to teach us what he knows. His topic was interesting for everyone and he gave away copies of his Myths of Innovation book.

To keep things on a roll in December, Avvo sponsored a great happy hour event. A few companies (including Avvo) used the holiday season event as a company Christmas party. Of course the Karma of Seattle Lunch 2.0 kicked in and Avvo received the news that their court case was dismissed during the event!!

The first event of the new year was Zumobi, again sponsoring….but this time hosting as well celebrating their successful time at CES…and finally launching their beta! We got to hear from John SanGiovanni who is one of my all time favorite speakers. Added to the great talk and experience of Zumobi….they opened up some of the time to a non-sponsor and Buzz Bruggeman of Activewords gave us a demo of his product!!

Once into the new year, the great companies just kept coming and blist hosted a post-DEMO event at their offices along with co-sponsor Silicon Valley Bank. Kevin Merritt gave an engaging demo and the devs at blist were swarmed by other devs asking for their secrets…

Of course I kept partnering with service providers and Parker Technical sponsored and brought in one of their close client’s Big Fish Games in to talk. We heard from Laurent de Segur (who was recently promoted to CTO). It was great to get some insight into the casual gaming industry and meet more of this Seattle coder sub-culture.

As each month passed, the events got harder and harder to top. I talked to company after company searching for fun companies, that had cool products, great job openings, and of course free food! Now most companies in Seattle fit this mold, so it wasn’t really as hard as I make it sound. My friends at Ontela decided to host a happy hour in April and this time we did something really cool and partnered Ontela, WSGR, and Silicon Valley Bank together to put on a great happy hour 200+ attendees…. two kegs…. two cases of wine…. Hole in the Wall BBQ…. and remote control helicopter giveaways!!

The Happy Hour event at Ontela was difficult to top, but luckily the folks over at Vholdr were up to the challenge. These guys have one of the coolest sports video cameras on the market and the social network to back it up!! They had a keg of beer and a comedian to help demo their product!! It was hilarious and by the time everyone realized what was going on, the comedian had people almost out of their seats laughing!!

Which brings us back to today… A year of events, a year of networking, hiring, partnering, and fun…. and a year of events that will be fun to try and outdo in the coming years!! We’ll be down at BlueGecko today, RSVP Here. I hope to see you there!!

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One Response to “Seattle Lunch 2.0 – Happy Hour @ BlueGecko – Today!”

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