A lot of early-stage startup success depends more on who you know than what you know. Over time, you can develop a great network of technology founders, prominent funders, and media influencers simply by attending events.
We’re not talking about shaking hands, which is pretty worthless in and of itself. But if you take the time to follow up in a meaningful way, you’ll see results.
There are lots of different kinds of events. The best ones take place regularly and attract interesting speakers and bring in good panels for group discussions. They always manage to attract a mix of people who might be interested in your product.
Many regular events target a specific group. They usually have a featured speaker on the same topic‑healthcare, for example—and a lot of the same attendees. These are an awesome way to build a consistent and strong network.
You can also do a great job of meeting people by hosting events, and I’m not just talking a party in your 500-square-foot space. At MINR, we host and sponsor a monthly craft beer event. We don’t have speakers or demos or anything directly “entrepreneurship” related, but we invite a lot of creative people and we do have a good time. This single act has helped grow our network and build our product in more ways than I can list.
If you want your events to have an impact, I suggest you try to host them on a regular schedule. For example, our craft beer event is every six weeks. Because we are on a schedule, we don’t need to spend a lot of time promoting our events to get a good crowd. This raises our profile as a company, and I like to think it raises my profile as a founder.
In conclusion, there are lots of events out there. Ask around before attending. Events are a great way to meet new people, get new ideas, and build your network. They also help you to stay inspired.