Many people ask me why and how I started doing Startup Grind. I thought I would just post this since it is likely one of the most asked questions I get at each event. In June of 2012, I sent an email to Derek Anderson, founder of Startup Grind because I wanted to help whoever was doing the events in Seattle. I was wanting to get more involved in the Seattle Startup ecosystem and I thought would be a good way.
Well there was no one doing events in Seattle yet but Derek quickly assumed I would be great a doing them. So I committed to doing my first event in August of 2012. I had never done any event planning of any size, sure I had put on a group discussion or two but never an event where you sell tickets and have people that you don’t know show up expecting something good.
Putting on an event is not has hard as you might think, you just ask for help from everyone you know that has already done it and they will tell you what to do and what not to do. Red Russak was that friend for me. He told me what to look out for and what to focus on. My first event with Rahul Sood was a success thanks in a large part to Red Russak and his growing network. After the first one it gets easier and easier to organize and you just have to keep promoting your event to anyone that will listen. Also you need to get your email list as large as possible and as quickly as possible.
In my opinion you only need to focus on three things. Finding great people to come to your event and finding a great speaker to share their experiences and finally giving the audience something that will help them in their lives. It is this last thing that is what I have spent the most time on and continue to look for ways to bring more value to our monthly events to our guests.
The “why” I do Startup Grind is a personal thing for me. I love to meet people. I truly enjoying hearing other people’s stories and challenges. The challenges I like to hear about because I am a problem solver, I enjoy looking for solutions or more likely introducing someone who can help solve a problem for someone else. I like to hear why people start a company or why they are doing what they do. I am always looking for new ways to learn and I listen a lot which allows me to learn from others. Many people I meet have done some extraordinary things in their lives or overcome some large obstacles. If you are around me you will see that I continually ask questions about others, this is a very natural thing for me. I truly want to “know” what you do and why you do what you do, it is how I connect with others. It allows me to share common stories about me or about others I may know. This leads to my second part.
The other part of the “why”, I enjoy helping people meet other people. You “must” have relationships with people if you are going to be successful at anything. This is a FACT, not an option. And most people, not everyone, but most people enjoy meeting others if there is a purpose to meet. That is what I try to create, purposeful meetings. Not let’s just grab a coffee, but lets grab a coffee (although I don’t drink coffee) and discuss X. It might be that you are trying to build your network, meet an investor or you are looking for some development help. If you reach out to me on LinkedIn you will see I almost always ask, “why are you reaching out to me, how can I help”. You would be surprised how many people don’t respond when I ask that question. But the fun is helping others create meaningful meetings with others. These meetings create companies, they create new opportunities and they create friendships.
Startup Grind is all about connecting, educating and inspiring entrepreneurs. If you go to any of our events in 170 cities around the globe you will get quality people sharing and creating quality companies. The Startup Grind community is a strong and helpful group. Go experience an event in another place and you will see what I mean when you talk to one of the directors in that city. I believe Startup Grind is creating an ecosystem that is creating positive change around the globe. Check it out.