There are a lot of networking events in the Bay Area every day of the week. If you wanted to be a professional networker, this is undoubtedly the place to do it. But not all networking events are created equal. The massive gathering at a local bar may result in you rubbing shoulders with lots of like minded individuals but it will be loud and crowded and not particularly conducive to building real relationships. The nighttime panel on the startup topic of your choice is equally dubious when it comes to growing your professional network. While the conversation afterwards will require less shouting, it will probably be with other startup neophytes -- it is hard to attract seasoned professionals to take part in such events. The monthly trade organization gathering may well get you chatting with a number of similarly situated professionals, but it will do little to expand the breadth of contacts you have.
What is the solution to these networking woes? Dodgeball. After contemplating the profound networking opportunities on the dodgeball court, YouTube's Hunter Walk, Mint's Noah Kagan and I went about organizing the "First Annual Labor vs. Capital Dodgeball Tournament." And it was a big success. Lots of smart, fun entrepreneurs and venture capitalist came together to throw balls at each other's heads. And in between games of riotous ball-chucking fun, there were lots of opportunities to get to know each other. When folks headed back to work (or home) on Friday afternoon, there were lots of requests for the next Labor vs. Capital event on the circuit. We are still in planning mode but are contemplating Labor vs. Capital miniature golf, or Labor vs. Capital Paint Ball. Whatever it is that we choose, I think the result will be a pile of fun and some good clean networking on the side.
For those of you who didn't make it to the First Annual Labor vs. Capital Dodgeball Tournament, check out the latest installment of VentureCast. Craig and I recorded it at the dodgeball courts. You can even get the play by play of the finals of the tournament. It may well be our best remote VentureCast yet. And if audio from the dodgeball court isn't scintillating enough, check out the great video the folks at the Mercury News made.
It really was a pile of fun. I look forward to the next in the "Labor vs. Capital" series of networking events. Perhaps Labor vs. Capital curling.