Good morning, All,
Consider this your annual reminder. We know it’s your year-end crunch and that you need to get your holiday shopping done. Let’s face it, you’re going to be doing the latter online anyway (and here’s a little something for you to make it easier: 5 unconventional places to shop for your holiday gifts: http://tnw.co/TuUznl). This is also the time to get out there and meet people – a mentor, a coach, a potential co-founder and maybe even a technical one: lots of open bars and techies will kick back for a free drink or two, too. Here are the rules, which don’t necessarily apply to just the holiday networking/eggnog circuit season, and we’ve expanded on one or two of them:
Rule #1: Show up! Getting there is easier than you think: just put one foot in front of the other, and go. If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, bring a wingman and work the room together, or divide and conquer. But don’t talk to just each other. That’s not helpful. If having a drink will help to relax you, go for it, but don’t down it: pace yourself. You want to be relaxed, not inebriated. Again, not helpful. To anyone in the room.
Rule #2: Check out who else will be there before you go. Most events list the attendees. Target those people you want to talk to and introduce yourself. If you happen to be at one of those rare events where people are not wearing name badges, find the organizer and ask if he or she can make an introduction, or at least to identify that person to you. Don’t be shy: it’s part of a good host’s – or an assistant’s – job. If the host blows you off, think twice about registering for one of his/her events in future, and make sure your host isn’t busy with someone else at the time.
Rule #3: Bring business cards. Ask for business cards, when appropriate, and follow up. Download the linkedin app that let’s you capture someone’s information and send that person a linkedin invite. Ask first. Make sure they want to connect with you. If you’re low on business cards, don’t give out your last one. Everyone carries a smartphone and they all have cameras. Have them take a picture or if you encounter someone with their last card, do the same. Or make sure you have cardmunch downloaded on your phone. It works.
Rule #4: Don’t just look for investors, be open. You never know who’s in the room – your next cofounder, client, coworker, coach or mentor. Yes, investors are there, too, and usually with an associate or friend. It’ll be much easier to talk to that person, who may just do an introduction for you at a later date, in a much less crowded venue. Like, the investor’s office maybe?
Rule #5: Meet at least one new person at each event. Not just the speakers, but the rank and file as well. You may not get to talk to the CEO, and chances are, one of his or her associates, who is no doubt also there, will be much easier to approach – and will more likely take a follow up meeting.
Rule #6: Meet other attendees as well. They’re there for the same reason you are: to network. And you don’t know whom they might know who could possibly help you. You might know someone/have talked to someone in the room who could possibly help that person, too. Play it forward. Remember: ‘tis also the season for good will. And peace on earth, so of course, no fighting or elbowing to get front and center with someone you want to talk to. Wait your turn.
Rule #7: If it’s an event with a panel discussion and you want to meet one of the speakers, ask a question – the more informed, the better. Do your homework: read some of his/her most recent blog posts before you go. Introduce yourself afterwards. If you didn’t have a question to ask but have something that might interest that speaker, still introduce yourself afterwards; speak to him/her briefly; ask for a business card and offer to follow up. Oh, and follow up. Same holds true if you meet this person at a networking event/party. Speak to him/her – briefly – and offer to follow up. And follow up.
Rule #8: DO NOT STALK. DO NOT ENGAGE IN A MONOLOGUE. You already know what you have to say – listen to what others have to say – and what they might have to offer. If it’s a potential investor, don’t give them your entire pitch: just give them enough to get them intrigued to the point where they’ll want to take a meeting.
Rule #9: Work the room. Don’t sit/stand in one spot all evening. I call it doing a lap.
Rule #10: Follow up with an email in the next day or two. Remind that person where you met – in the subject line – and if you’d like to get together ask when they might be available. If you don’t receive a response immediately, don’t take it personally: that person met a lot of people the day/night before, and he or she may have been swamped with emails. Follow up again, a few days or a week later.
Rule #11: We’re all exhausted, and your point is? We all put in long hours, there are a number of industry events/parties every single night this time of year, and we know you’d much rather meet up with friends. Networking is part of your job, if you’re working on launching a business. If you only meet that one person who can help to get you to the next level: job well done! Your friends will be there in January, when there is usually very little else going on. As for using the exhaustion excuse: things quiet down that last week or two in December: gather ye poinsettia while ye may and catch up on sleep over the holidays.
If you do see us at one of the events, say hello and introduce yourself. We’re always happy to meet you. And while we know that being there is part of your job, it’s also a party. Do remember to smile and show some holiday cheer. Onward and forward.
The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events
The Awesome Foundation wants to give you $1000 for your best idea – almost anywhere in the world. We give micro-grants each month to projects that are inspiring, delightful, and elegant: in a word, Awesome. To apply in NYC: http://bit.ly/NWueRO For more information and the complete list of chapters all over the world: http://www.awesomefoundation.org/
DEADLINE THIS WEEK AWS Global Startup Challenge, deadline, December 5th. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Global Start-Up Challenge is a way for promising start-ups to get noticed and compete for an opportunity to win some great rewards. This year’s challenge offers prizes such as $100K in combined cash and credits for multiple winners, VC introductions, PR support, and more. If your start-up is built using AWS, we want you to apply!
Meet Tier One Investors: Finalists will be flown to San Francisco where they will meet 1:1 with top VCs
More Winners, More Prizes: This year we will award winners in four categories, and award each of the four winners $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in AWS credits
Press and Attention for Your Start-Up: Past winners have been covered by top tech news outlets, and AWS offers other free promotion to top teams as part of the contest. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/OwE8ny
NEW The 6th Annual Crunchie Awards, deadline for nominations: December 6th. The 2012 Crunchies will be our sixth annual competition and award ceremony to recognize and celebrate the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year. For more information and to submit your nominations: http://techcrunch.com/events/crunchies-2012/
DEMO Mobile: The Future Is In Your Hands. Scholarship deadline: January 17th. Standard deadline, February 15th. Apply to launch or pitch: http://bit.ly/QjQQvE
NEW Techstars NYC, deadline January 18th. We invest $118K in each company we fund through $18K in seed funding and an optional $100K convertible debt note. TechStars itself is backed by over 75 different venture capital firms and angel investors. We also provide three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, incredible perks, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. Our companies average over $1M in outside venture capital raised after leaving TechStars. To more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/TNP5Cz
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For you edification this week:
What happens after you win a big startup competition? We asked 7 champions from major events. And not everyone had the same answers: http://tnw.co/WAzd8X
Cracking the Code: How Successful Entrepreneurs Build High-Growth Companies. Ernst & Young and the Kauffman Foundation looked at the cadre of 636 E&Y Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists from 2012 to see what makes them tick: http://bit.ly/SmKdad
If you hate trying to get press, read this. Now. This company’s launch ended up being covered by over 20 major tech publications, including TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Cult of Mac: http://bit.ly/SzWrO8
Plan well, execute the plan. A new market entrant. A competitor that gets a bunch of great press. The external environment presents myriad distractions that can cause founders and their teams to “freak out” and deviate from their established game plans. In IA Ventures’ Roger Ehrenberg’s experience, when plans and behaviors are quickly adjusted in response to short-term exogenous events, bad things happen. Well-conceived strategies and plans get tossed on the trash heap. So how can founders steel themselves against the noise and focus on executing their own plans with confidence and consistency? Ehrenberg suggest a very straight-forward 10-step process: http://bit.ly/TajmMR
How to lose at meetings. And how to win, too: http://bit.ly/SzXTQK
Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!
Congratulations this week go to our friends (and ER Accelerator alums) StrayBoots.com, who just raised their Series A and way to go! Location-Based Tour Guide App Stray Boots Raises $2M As It Looks To Expand Mobile Reach: http://tcrn.ch/SzVrtB
That’s it from us this week. Hope to see you around town at some of the events this week and remember: pace yourself, bring lots of business cards – and make sure you get out there. And now, as always, help is on the way…