New Tech Meetup – Don’t be shy!


I was at the Boulder New Tech Meetup last night, what a zoo!  It’s the most crowded I’ve ever seen it, but the room was abuzz with energy.  One notable difference in the meeting (aside from lack of butt space) was the sheer number of people looking for work.  Usually the forums rage with startups seeking employees.  This time it was the other way around.

As I was sitting there watching Andrew Hyde mispell “startup” on his preso (procrastinator!), it got me thinking.  He’s a shy guy that gets out of his skin to put himself out there and be heard.  Next up was Eric Marcoullier of Gnip.  Ditto for him; a tad on the shy side, but gets out there and talks about what he’s doing.  Later, I got a tweet from a ‘follower’ I don’t know well saying he saw me there but didn’t want to interrupt a conversation I was having.

I’m the worst about this too, I’m not shy at ALL but am incredibly tongue tied when it comes to asking for things like an opinion, a job, a favor, some help, or even interrupting a conversation.  The great thing about this Meetup and Boulder in general is that people, for the most part, are welcoming, kind, and forgiving.  Most of the top tech leaders I know in Boulder will take a meeting if asked nicely.  So I write this more for my own head-pounding-against-the-wall reminder than for yours – but get out there!  Come introduce yourself.  Stand up in a room full of people and say what’s on your mind!  Whether it be needing a job, wanting feedback on your startup idea, or just to start networking and making new friends.  You’ll never get to where you want to be by just wishing things would happen around you.

So check out the events calendar, register for the next New Tech Meetup or Ignite Boulder, whatever it takes.  I promise we don’t bite (hard)  – (insert maniacal cackle).

About the Author:
With a couple of startups of my own (all in the meh category), I switched sides and have been supporting entrepreneurs for over 8 years now. I currently work for TechStars, love to travel, bike, and hang with friends and family.

7 Comments:

  1. Ben Jeavons January 07, 2009

    I’ve been meaning to do the same for awhile and am slowly starting to. I’ve missed so many of the events like Ignite Boulder. I’m looking forward to HackSpace next week!

  2. Dan Moore January 08, 2009

    I think saying “check out the events calendar, register for the next New Tech Meetup or Ignite Boulder, whatever it takes” is easy to say, but harder to do.

    I attended last night as well, and one thing I was noticing as I talked with the friend I came with is that networking is easier if you just have some shared context (at a dinner party, where you know you are at least friends of friends or at a java user’s group where the technology is a common bond).

    Part of what makes the new tech meetup so great is a huge diversity of experiences and expertise, but that same diversity can make it hard to start up a conversation. You simply don’t know what you have in common with the other person.

    In my experience, all most people (at least, the ones motiviated enough to attend a meetup) need to start a conversation is some kind of hook. I wonder if there’s any way to help provide one.

    I suggested nametags last night–perhaps we need ‘interest tags’ which would show others one thing you were interested in talking about.

  3. Ryan January 12, 2009

    Hopefully that was a case of a person just being overly polite, and not one where they were afraid to approach someone in person, preferring to hide behind technology.

    It’s something we have to be careful of! Let’s use technology to facilitate real world connections, rather than keeping things entirely digital. Right?

  4. Nicole Glaros January 15, 2009

    It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone, I know. I mentioned before I’m not a shy person at all, but I hate walking into a room where I don’t know anyone. I’d rather hide in the corner. I usually take a deep breath, put on my biggest smile, and walk up to a group of people that look like they’re having fun and say something stupid like “You guys look like you’re having more fun than anyone else here and I’d rather hang out with the fun crowd. Hi, my name is Nicole”. Usually people are warm and welcoming, and a few questions in you’ll find someone in a group you can connect with on some level. Every now and then I get stares like I just interrupted the thought process leading to cold fusion, but that’s rare.

    It helps to go with a friend too, but then if you’re like me, you’ll only talk to your friend and no one else.

    So I say have a drink, and just come introduce yourself. I’ve made some great friends and connections in Boulder by doing it. It’s kind of like skiing – the initial drop into the bowl is terrifying, but once you get going you’ll have the time of your life.

  5. Andrew Hyde January 22, 2009

    Great post Nicole!

  6. Nicole Glaros January 23, 2009

    Thanks Andrew 🙂

  7. Steve Stewart February 05, 2009

    I had total strangers randomly introducing themselves to me at the last Tech MeetUp and of course I was fine with that ! That’s the whole point. Otherwise stay home – right !

    Also, Don’t be shy about being unemployed. Everyone has been there.

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