We’re taught from a very young age that there are certain major life events that will have significant importance and deliver at least a modicum of respect. Being born (though you aren’t quite aware of that one), graduating from college, getting married, having children, buying a house, turning 50, etc. These are the Events with a capital ‘E’.
What no one really tells you, however, is the way the other kind of events will impact your life. These events will present the opportunity for learning, fun, and personal growth. Occasionally they will offer you a few hours of complete anonymity, and with it the extraordinary chance to be whoever you want.
When you scan The Fetch each week, deciding which events you’d like to attend, you never know how they will go. You could meet a new friend, make a new connection that leads to a new job, or find the perfect person with whom to start a company. We know this is true because we have experienced it first hand, and we’d like to share our stories with you (first Eliza and then Kate will in a follow-up post). Hopefully these will encourage you to take a chance on something new. Feel free to leave your own stories in the comment section, we’d love to hear them!
The events I have attended in the last year have had a greater impact on my life than I ever could have anticipated. While working as a marketing intern for Lovely last summer, I organized a mini-guerrilla marketing party in Dolores Park. We entitled the party “A Lovely Day In The Park,” and luckily for me, Kate was in attendance.
Two weeks later I had the opportunity to go to one of the monthly Community Manager Breakfasts at SoundCloud. As a verifiable tech newbie, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d only been working for a few weeks and I wasn’t entirely sure what the role of a community manager was. Not only did a conversation contributor (Kate) give me the full scoop of the CM role, I also became friends with Jane, the SoundCloud CM, and had my first pupusa at Balompies (nearby the SC office).
This past fall I became involved with Yelp. It’s a funny story actually. I was studying abroad in London and made the audacious decision to spend a good chunk of October’s living budget on a plane ticket to surprise my boyfriend in California at a later date. I lived off of a few pounds a day supplemented by a lot of quinoa and Hare Krishna for a week before I received a thrilling email inviting me to become a member of the London Yelp Elite. I accepted the invitation and RSVP’d yes to the next Elite event. When the day came I was almost too nervous to go, but emboldened by my +1, memories of images of wild Yelp Elite parties from Ligaya Tichy’s TED talk, and a growing hatred of quinoa, I hopped on the tube and went.
Easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My first Yelp event was followed by dozens more, taking me all over London to places I would have never otherwise gone. I made terrific Yelp friends (shout out to the London Yelp CM Alex Shebar), ate delicious things and drank delicious cocktails for free. (If there was ever a time for a #winning, this would be it).
If there is one nugget of wisdom you can take away from this blog post I hope it is the following truth: the only thing holding you back is yourself. Everyone is intimidated by the thought of conversing with a group of random strangers, but the truth of the matter is people (generally) don’t bite! If you pick an event of interest to you, the chances are you’ll meet some cool people. Plus you’ll already have something to talk about 🙂
Good luck, and happy networking!