My curiosity is piqued. I love meetup but with my broad range of interests I am flooded with all sorts of meetings to join. It takes something extra to catch my eye and Henry Chuks, author of Gorilla Theory managed to do that by putting together an event with the words Startup + Accelerator + Lab in the happening part of town – Shoreditch in the heart of Silicon Roundabout. A white rabbit moment! Focused as I am on writing and the development of the SatNav4TheSoul app toolbox I can be loathe to venture out of my West London hideaway but the semblance of Spring and a personal note from Andras Tessenyi of JBS Labs who was also signed up for the meetup lured me out on the 23 April 2014 to Shoreditch Town Hall. Quite incicidentally I did encounter my white rabbit on the way, not alive and not in a hurry but indisputably a white rabbit.
Henry is a happy fellow who laid on free copies of his book Gorilla Theory and two tables heaped with refreshments and snacks. Shoreditch Town Hall is an impressive venue and a healthy turn out added to the buzz in the air. Unfortunately the acoustics and the lack of seating proved to be a challenge as the night went on. I am not against the standing in principle but in practise the presentations need to be tighly managed; short sharp and punchy. Suzanne Noble from Frugl started the proceedings well and got the advantage of a fresh and curious crowd. She also presented her proposition for Frugl – an iPhone app to give you the best of your city, on a budget in the form of events that are free or less than £10 – clearly, unambiguously and with the enthusiasm of someone who believe in what she is doing. She had a very clear ask for £150K investment to take Frugl to the next level. For me this was the winning pitch of the evening. It was obvious that it would take alot more money to take Frugl to where she really wants it to go – an app for every city – but what she was asking was anchored in reality, it was a starting point for discussion and she led me to believe that she could be pragmatic and creative with any money she received. Of course it takes more than a gut feel to know if that is true but at least she created the invitation to find out.
I am also intrigued by Meetcha At created by Jodi Humphreys and Rob Slama. It is a free app that allows you to invite friends to vote for time and place meetings and then takes the guilt out of the social choice question by choosing the date and place. I havent downloaded the app yet but I would like to think that it allows the host to do time and place weighting and ideally choose to override the computer decision. Though that could defeat the original purpose of the app I think there is a room for an app that does the analytical leg work involved in the herding cats work of social gatherings.
As a shy extrovert I am not a great fan of pure networking. The pitch focus was a nice distraction that gave me the opportunity to ease into connecting. Henry, our host, was very sociable ensuring that he greeted everyone and nurtured the flow of conversation. Although I could not stay until the end I got to exchange business cards with Suzanne of Frugl, to meet Mel Lewis of Video Labz who design websites and video ‘to put more money on your bottom line’ and dive into a bit more detail with Andras of JBSLabs who could be a potential business partner for the developmemnt of SatNav4TheSoul.
All in all a great night out, just dampened a modicum by the veil of rain that came to meet me on the steps as I left. There is scope to tighten up the pitch concept to be powerful for both the presenters and the audience. I like the idea of a panel of experts to give feedback to help people tweak their pitches and perhaps some more environmental comforts but it does have the potential to be a productive evening of entertainment that serves the heart of Silicon Roundabout.
Anne K. Scott facilitates change; she has over 30 years experiencing delivering leading edge technology and mentoring individuals to start their own businesses or creating change in their lives aligned with their core values and true purpose. If you are interested in the work that Anne does check out Working Together here. She is the creator of FindYourMojo a FREE iPHone productivity app. If you are interested in what intuitive coaching can do for you please do contact me. I support clients all over the world.