(Please note, this was written for V-Day LAST year on an old blog. But I am trying to collect all my writings in one place. You can see the original and comments here.)
I’ve talked about how to get and prepare for your first Investor Meeting. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I figured some tips on getting and preparing for a first romantic date would be more helpful for the season. (This post will be very hetero-normative, and aimed primarily at geeky/start-up men. Here are some neat articles for those this will annoy, like it normally would me.)
Through my attendance at SF Beta, I’ve come to notice that there are a lot of single, intelligent, and interested tech boys out there, as well as women who are interested in finding them (yes men, they do exist). Yet somehow, the meeting happens, and its all down hill from there…
So for the start-up men out there that I have come to know and love, here is some advice for chatting up that potential Valentine:
- Approach. Before working on how to approach, you must first start the approach. If you don’t have the confidence to come to me, I’m not going to waste my time going to you. Yes, I noticed you staring at me from the door; I’m just choosing to ignore you till you get some balls.
- Have confidence, not ego. Approach with a smile, head held high, and a willing hand shake. But do not approach with all of your successes and greatness on your lips.
- Have a conversation ready. Do not come up to me, introduce yourself, and then expect me to fall head over heels that instant. Be ready to talk and not stand with an awkward grin.
- A conversation takes two. Do not come up to me and leap into your newest start-up idea, a great technology you developed, or the tech gossip of the minute. If my responses are fewer than 4 words, I either don’t care or you aren’t letting me speak. I might as well just read your blog and leave you talking to the wall.
- Have a question ready. This falls in line with #1 and 2. (“How are you?” doesn’t count). We have Facebook now; do some stalking, and at least pretend you have an interest in my life and want to engage in more than physical intercourse with me.
- Don’t push too hard. Make me want more. If you hang around me for more than 20 minutes at a mixer, our conversation better be damned good. Otherwise, end it BEFORE it winds down and gets dull. “Oh, I’m sorry. My friend just got here. Let’s catch up later (hand me your card).” If, up until this point, things were going well, I will get back to you.
- A Card is not a Call To Action. I take back the “(hand me your card)”, above. Think back to design school: have a Call to Action. As you are leaving, let me know “It’s been great talking to you. Do you have a card? I’d love to catch up more later, ideally somewhere quieter.” If she says no, give her yours, but make it clear you are honestly interested in talking. On the same note, if I just hand you my card, thank you, and walk away, it does not always mean I am interested. Don’t give up, but don’t get your hopes too high.
- Email first. Some girls will disagree with me here, but I hate when a guy calls me out of the blue. I may not remember who you are, where I know you, or why you are calling; and your phone call just makes it uncomfortable. I prefer getting an email or gchat first, and then taking it to the phone.
- A date is NOT a business meeting. Don’t trick me; be clear so I know what I am getting into. I HATE when men ask if we can get dinner to discuss business. Occasionally, people DO want to meet with me to talk business (surprise, surprise). It’s one thing to say “I’d like to take you out to dinner. I’m interested in learning more about what you do.” – That’s clearly a pick-up, thank you. It’s another to say “I’d love to chat with you about a business venture I have. Free for dinner next week?” – Ambiguity sucks.
- Dinner is a date. Lunch is a meeting*. Weekends are always dates. This is good to know whenever you are asking to take a woman out. Be honest about what you want and pick an appropriate time. (*If you have made it clear this is NOT a meeting, than know that Lunch is casual)
- Don’t get let down. You will get rejected, politely turned down, snubbed, ignored, etc. But if you stay positive, hopeful, and strong while you are single, you will get dates as well. The worst thing is the smell of desperation, so just relax and have a good time. 🙂
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(Another old post – trying to get all my writings in one place.)
So we are thinking of raising a round of angel investment in the next few months. While we’ve been reading up on Cap Tables, Executive Summaries, Slide Decks, and things needed for official suit and tie meetings, we aren’t sure how to get that first cup of coffee with potential investors. Here’s some great advice our adviser told me:
You Are The Star:
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Media eagerly awaits each new design
This post is a bit late; I’ve been too busy working on a Halloween costume. But it’s up, all the same
For those of you that missed it, Digital Summer was a party last Wednesday (produced by the lovely Liana Burtsava and Eliane Fiolet, and hosted by Girls in Tech and Ubergizmo) that brought together tech, photography, and fashion for one of the hottest mixers I’ve been to in awhile. When all was said and done, they also raised money to plant nearly 1000 trees in Honduras! Yay for good times and good causes!
But what exactly happened that made it oh so right? While ideally I’d like to sit down with Liana and ask, here are some tips I saw that might help your next event get there.
- Set a high standard. By making their banners beautiful and artistic, by setting a dress code, and by announcing a semi-professional photo shoot area at the event, people came, and looked good. People want to feel pretty, and be surrounded by pretty people, and Liana and Eliane made sure everyone knew this would be an event for that. Man, I saw people in suits that I didn’t know owned anything other than their company tshirts.
- Keep a (pretty) line outside. This related to #1 – a line of people in tshirts and jeans is much less interesting than a line of beautiful women and international men. Sure, people complained about the line, but really not that much. And folks on the street asked what was going on. Have the venue open 5-10 minutes late. Tell the doorman there is no rush to get people in. But be aware, this is a fine line (no pun intended), and keeping people out in the cold or out too long will breed discontent.
- Be liberal with media titles and promotion. Make people feel important. When I knew I’d be able to skip the line as media, it inspired me to write more about the event; to earn that privilege. I pimped this event to numerous friends and colleagues because my logo would be up there, and I wanted people to see.
- Unite sexy genres. A tech mixer comes off as dull to the laymen. Sure, he likes social media and all, but aren’t all techies just geek guys, he asks? My most popular events have been when SFbeta teamed up with Virgance (green tech is sexy) and when we worked with Glam Media (with a name like Glam, what’s to miss?). Liana and Eliane did this beautifully. By working with tech bloggers, Girls in Tech,and local fashion and make-up artists, they were able to make a tech mixer that catered to women, to fashion, and to the media, without anything feeling forced. This increased their audience without decreasing experience.
- Free drinks. Well, media got a free drink, but otherwise, thiey didn’t do this. But they didn’t need to, since they hit the other points so well. Offer a free drink to every attendee at your event, and you’ll draw the crowds.
- Hawt sponsors and partners. Sponsors are most certainly not just for the money. Sponsors promote the event to their clients, they give away schwag, and they get their name on everything. If you can be picky, do it. HP was there, showing off their awesome touch screens and mini-laptops. There were also Coveroo iPhone etched covers going on and eye-lash extensions being added by star artists Bianca Lucescu and Candy Walker. I dont know if either of those were paying sponsors, but that doesn’t matter. They were a perk for attendees, and that will more than pay for itself. Even if you don’t have sponsors as cool as these, work with them to design something engaging they can do or give away; it’ll leave them feeling more pleased with the investment, and will draw more crowds.
So congratulations ladies, on a wonderful evening! And good luck to the rest of you; I’m sure you shall be fabulous!
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