In response to a discussion about events and what value they have for people, I wanted to post my thoughts on the experience of attending and hosting a Seattle Lunch 2.0 event….
I can’t speak for the “Think Tanks” or WTIA events, but the Seattle Lunch 2.0 events are Mingling events and they contain great startup-relevant information.
Over the few years that I have been leading/attending these Mingling events I have participated in numerous group discussions about how companies grew their startups. When I say discussion, I mean an active audience participation in discussions about what is most interesting to the group at large. The CEO/Founder contributions to the conversations have ranged from “started in college”, to “spun out of Microsoft or other BigCo”, to “had a bright idea coding one day”, to… well, you tell me what situation a company might be spawned in and we’ve pretty much had those kind of founders talking about it – if not let’s have one.
The great thing is that the intention of these events includes mingling and participating in discussions (a little presentation, demo, or Q&A to get things going) and then discussion and a lot of time to Mingle.
What do I mean by Mingle you might ask… well at a recent one of these events the Founder gave a demo and talked a little about the company (10min), followed by another 10-20min discussion/Q&A, then there was the hour of talking to the Developers, Marketers, Founders, and everyone else on the team that is actually required to make a startup function. So I guess it’s a little more then Mingling :)
Come by the next Seattle Lunch 2.0 to see what I’m talking about…
These are not – here a couple people reflecting on the different about the tipping point for their company. These are – meet the team, founders, business model and ask any question you want.
Admittedly, the events are usually a little less formal. Presentation Zen is not required – Demos are fun, panel discussions are fun, heck just having the whole team around to hang out with for an hour or two is fun!! I will also admit that these are not held in nice conference halls or venues – they are usually in trendy facilities – like the offices where these companies spend their time (yes that means co-working spaces, shared offices, lofts in pioneer square – all w/o AC).
In addition to CEOs/Founders we’ve had speakers at these Mingling events that include authors, investors, lawyers, developers, architects, and well… we are open to just about anyone who has something relevant and is interesting to talk about. Keep in mind – the hoster of the event has their whole team there so you are never stuck talking to the CEO, when you really want to talk to the guy/gal that wrote the feature!!
These events also have the free food/beer model – if the speaker sucks (at least the food & drink were worth the time). I didn’t say corporate catered – I said YUMM!
A good analogy is a written letter in comparison with… Twitter. The letter is great, has it’s place, it’s norms, it’s value. Twitter – well it’s great too, but in a different way, for different reasons, and it has a different value. Both can get your point across, both can be valuable, but sometimes you need to choose between writing a letter or tweeting and sometimes you need to choose between reading a letter or reading twitter. The value in your message when you write and the value in your information acquisition when you read will vary. Plus we all know which one is more fun…
Of course if you are interested in hosting, sponsoring, donating or want to chat – don’t hesitate to reach out!!
See you at the next event…