Nearly 200 at the April ExitEvent RTP Startup Social - 1

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Nearly 200 at the April ExitEvent RTP Startup Social - 1
There are several reasons why the ExitEvent Startup Social is taking July off.

#1: Monday night's Social was, without question, a high point. We broke 200 entrepreneurs and investors for the first time, you could literally taste the energy in the room, and we had what could be called a perfect mix of veteran startups and newly-minted-but-gaining-traction startups talking to one another.

#2: There's just way too much going on between now and August. Seriously.

#3: There needs to be something more. I think you, the collective group of entrepreneurs who are making the Social what it is each month, have found the perfect pitch for the event. To coin a phrase: We got event nailed.

It just seems crazy to try to up the ante again in July. It'd be like successfully plunging naked 100 feet off a cliff into a vat of mayonaise and walking away unscathed and then being like "OK! Now let's do 200 feet!"

There's your visual for the week. You're welcome.

Luckily enough I know what "more" is in this case. Funny things always happen to me at the Social. Not clown funny (OK, some clown funny), but here's how it went down:

Late in the afternoon, just before the Social kicked off, I got an email from a kid just out of UNC who, and I'm paraphrasing, would sell his left arm to work at a startup. I asked if he had signed up as a job seeker.

He had not.

We have at least a dozen job seekers in the network - and they're perfectly welcome at the Social provided they're looking to work for a startup, not "a startup and/or anyone else who will hire me for the most money." A lot of people don't know this. But I know we've made at least three connections at the Social that led to hires.

About ten minutes into the Social, a very cool guy I know asked me if he could put up a flyer. I actually get one to two flyer requests per Social. We don't do that. I wish I could, but I can't. So I created the Services area (you have to be logged in) where anyone could do that very thing. Without shouting.

My very cool friend didn't know about the Services area.

Then twenty minutes after that, a woman asked me if I knew how to locate talented people who wanted to work specifically for a startup because they had positions to fill and couldn't find the right people.

I swore audibly as I looked around for the kid from UNC -- in vain, I might add, because I had no idea what he looked like and, due to the volume of people, I hadn't yet introduced myself to half of them.

Fifteen minutes after that, a friend asked me if I knew a solid technical co-founder.

I did. He wasn't there. The opportunity for them to meet and socialize over Mystery Brewing's new Fantine would have been perfect.

Right around 8:00, someone told me they would advertise on ExitEvent if we allowed it.

"But... but... we do... and there's a link under each ad that says Advertise with ExitEvent... and yes it's very hard to read."

Oh yeah, at about 8:30 or so the kid from UNC worked up the nerve to find me and introduce himself. The woman from the startup was gone.

So I slapped him.

DON'T GET ME WRONG

Plenty of awesome connections got made at the Social and projects found their initial spark. People continued to tweet each other the following morning. And I will make sure I follow up all the loose ends I described above with emails and stuff.

But my point is this. When the event was small, it was easy to know who was going to be there, who was there, who needed what, and then walk one person over to the other. This can be and still is done, but it's like rock-concert loud and crowded now.

Gotta evolve.

So the time between now and August will be spent on (vacation -- and then on) expanding the web and digital presence of ExitEvent and making people aware of the tools on the site, going deeper into other locations (looking at you, Raleigh), building on the talents of this world-class writing team, and giving you more of what you told me you need.

It's time to get serious about the value of this startup hub and expose that value via the site. That way, the Social can say social, and I can spend my time enjoying it.

I know. How selfish is that! But have you tasted the Fantine?