Yesterday I went to a meetup next to AT&T park organized by “hackers and founders” with no expectations but was prepared to meet likeminded founders, hackers, angels to bounce the ideas, get feedbacks and make friends.
The meetup was a great success, following is the highlights
1. The name of “hackers and founders” are HOT nowadays, and because of the name and the organizers’ reputation of getting people together, participants are of high quality bunch such as founders, hackers, product guys from top companies, angels, EIR from VC firms etc.
2. People coming to the event brought something to the table other than asking for engineers to help business guys build out the products.
3. Many are founders with product to show but the meetup does not “feature” any demo, making the environment much less intense, much more open.
4. People were very consciously providing the feedbacks for others, while getting feedbacks in return.
5. I would ask questions to other founders who already launched, such as “what would you do if you have your product 90% done?”.
6. Out of 100+ attendees, I spoke to 20+ of them, got their cards, and told them that I would send them a beta invite when we launch soon.
To an early startup founder like me, this likeminded people circle is a very nurturing environment. While I strived to become helpful to them, my goal is clear: to get early feedbacks from my potential audiences (anyone wanting to have an active, outdoorsy and healthy lifestyle is my potential audience), to build interest with them and angels. Put them on my beta launch list. If I can invite 20 people from every event I go, by the time I launch soon, I would have a couple hundred passionate, nurturing people who are open to embrace a new product. That is invaluable to me.
I talked to the Laura Nelson, one of the organizers about the long term goal of this “organization”, or “meetup”. Laura made it clear that organization serves very early startups/founders that are still too early for more established incubators funds such as ycombinator. The meetup serves as a “give-back” AND marketing channel to connect startups in need and build following, the real deal is the funding conference where selected early startups are brought to pitch connected angels.
While chatting, we all agreed the single most important criteria is the crowd. A wrong crowd would turn away the right one. Just like startups, having a clear audience is key to the success of a great meetup.
I want to thank following people I have met for sharing the ideas with me:
Laura Nelson, co founder, hackers and founders meetup
Jordan Kanarek: a rockstar like designer and story teller, from duckduckgo.com, one of kind, very successful search engine
Alessandro Santo: a VC from DPI Xel venture
Akshay Arabolu, founder, getcomparisons.com
JD Leonard, founder CEO, TextbookMadness.com
Laura Rodriguez, staffing consultant, meetup organizer
Andrew Zimmer, Mobile developer of an awesome iPhone app called dog whistle
Chris Mardelli: a law student in process to build his first web product
Suzanne Yada, a dynamic web producer
Bernie Yoo, co founder at Bombfell.com, he even took my measurement to get me join his “female-selected cloths for men, sent every month” startup
Doug Bend: startup attorney (thanks Doug for sharing stories)
Asi Behar from Pandora
Jackson G. from Pandora
Michael Seely, EIR at CMEA Captial
Many more: I hope to meet more of these passionate people to bounce ideas. Onward and upward!