Another great post from Alex Taub on creative ways to network.
An additional one to mention is starting a meetup. It’s a lot more work than the Skillshare route which Alex mentions, but if you can find a niche that is untapped in your focus area, it is an excellent way to simultaneously meet a ton of great people and help them via intros, information you share, etc.
Starting the NY Enterprise Technology Meetup has really shown this to be true for me. It’s so great getting innovative companies some exposure to potential customers while also making intros to people looking for fundings, jobs, partners, etc.
I am a big networker. Over the past three years, I’ve gone to and ran my fair share of networking events. They are a lot of fun and I always meet interesting new people. I enjoy meeting new people. But after a certain amount of time, physical networking can take a toll. Going to three or four events a week can cause you to burn out quickly.
I’ve put together a list of a few alternative ways to network.
Start A Blog
I started a blog almost two years ago and it’s been one of the best decisions of my career. Writing can be very therapeutic, but it can also be a great way to bring your ideas to the masses. By writing four times a week, I am effectively networking with the people who read my blog. More than once a week, complete strangers in the tech space reach out to talk to and connect with me because they’ve read something on my blog. I know that if someone is reaching out because of my blog it is someone I should connect with. It most likely means they like technology, startups, biz dev, or something else that I am passionate about.
Teach A Skillshare
I’ve been teaching Skillshare classes for the past year. I have three courses, Intro I, II, and Practical Business Development & Partnerships at Startups. Not only do I make a pretty penny from teaching, I also get to meet a ton of people interested in the business development world. I’ve taught over 30 hours to over 500+ students (although there are definitely duplicates, as many took all three classes). Many of my “students” end up becoming friends/connections/deals/etc. I teach three times a month instead of going to networking events, because it is a networking event to me.
Get Active On Twitter
I’ve met some great people in the NY tech space on Twitter before meeting them in real life. Twitter, being an interest network, is a great place to connect with like-minded individuals. Get on Twitter, get active, find your people.
Get Active In The Comment Section
There are pretty awesome communities in the comment sections of some of the best blogs on the web. A few great communities are AVC.com, Fred Wilson’s blog, BothSidesOfTheTable.com, Mark Suster’s blog, Uncrunched.com, Michael Arrington’s blog, etc. Comment and contribute something meaningful. You may just find you next co-founder or investor there.
Engage and Use Early Adopting Community Platforms
I’ve had some great success with meeting new people on early stage community platforms. I think I’ve told this story before, but when Turntable was on the rise I met a guy in a music room at midnight who ended up becoming a launch partner for something we were working on at Aviary at the time. One current cool early adopting community is App.net. I’ve already met a few cool people. This is another great way to network.
All of these ideas are just ways to help you amplify everything you are already doing. I’m not advocating stopping attendance at networking events but rather to diversify how you are meeting new people.