MinneBar Spring 2010 Part I from Joel Dahlin on Vimeo.
I’m constantly astounded at how many tech entrepreneurs I meet that are out there cranking away on a service or product but haven’t heard of some of the biggest events in the Twin Cities that should be on their radar.
Let me be clear, tech entrepreneurs:
Nothing will take you from zero to sixty faster than immersing yourself in the right events and hooking up with the right people that will help you in ways you never knew imaginable.
That said, here’s how, in under 10 minutes, you can start finding people just like you. You’re not alone in this world and certainly not if you’re in Minnesota. If you think Minnesota is Siberia and there’s no tech entrepreneurs doing cool things…then you’re dead wrong. You need to step away from your laptop for a bit and get out more.
1. Look at Tech.mn’s calendar every Monday.
Here you’ll find THE master calendar of every event that could possibly be of value for you. On average, there’s about 60 events per month (peaking at far more in May / June) that will be applicable no matter your stage, your role, your space, or how obtuse your social skills are.
Better yet, pump it into your calendar as a feed that you can view on/off with one click.
Best yet, start a meetup that you think the world is dying for and let the Tech.mn folks know. Because this calendar gets mucho views you’ve got yourself an instant promotion vehicle.
2. Use Plancast and follow a few (but not 126) local opinion leaders that do cool things in your space.
You’ll figure out who these people are over time, but you can start with me.
Better yet, pick the categories (“entrepreneurship”) and location you care about and receive notifications for 2 months to get a lay of the land.
Best yet, be the first to list events on there so that you can feel like Robert Scoble at the center of the startup universe.
3. Stay plugged into Minnov8.com.
They’re good at talking about the bigger, once-per-year events before they happen so that if you’ve never heard of it you can catch the deets, usually in one of their podcasts.
Better yet, if you’re too cool for podcasts just grab the RSS feed for their events category.
Best yet, create a brand new event (I’m talking to you Ty) that’s never been done (warning, that’s tough here. MSP has lots of cool events). Minnov8 has a sizeable and passionate audience and they may just talk about you pending you are remarkable, your event is remarkable, or if you’re simply such a lunatic they’ll talk about you just because of your wtf factor.
Your ten minutes is up. Don’t know a single soul here in the area? Irrelevant, I didn’t either 13 months ago, but I’m happy to be your first. Too busy with your day job? Not good enough, there’s too many evening events. Not a good networker? Get real, we’re talking tech events here! Extroverts are outnumbered, so you’re in good company. The expectations aren’t high. Email/message/tweet the organizer beforehand, explain why you’re coming, and ask them if they would be willing to introduce you to a Rails developer / social media person / good startup laywer / whatever. Your success rate will be 100%.
One last enticement to get you into the loop and into the startup community: Memorize my picture and approach me anytime at an event. If you mention that you read this blog post I’ll automatically carve out 10 minutes for you with my undivided attention no matter how socially bogged down I am at the event. Happy to be of assistance.
Hope to meet you soon, playa!