Networking sucks. We all know it.
And so we decided to do something about it.
What happens when you know that you need to meet other talented people but find most networking events, with the standard business-card roulette & 5 minute conversations, to be a waste of time?
I had exactly this problem in 2014.
My natural first step was to bitch about it to my best friend Momo Estrella over a beer.
In that conversation, we realized that we could solve a few key problems just by having a couple more people at the table.
The big problems with networking were…
1) You don’t spend enough time with people
In a typical meetup, you have a name badge, randomly introduce yourself to strangers and then have the same brief “what do you do” conversation over and over again. But you don’t get to know people well enough to be able to help, or even know if you want to.
2) There are too many people
In a group or 50 or 100 people, you don’t know who you want to talk with and unless you’re THAT annoying sales person we all know, you never get a chance to meet everyone. Therefore it’s a roll of the dice if you end up talking to a few interesting people.
3) It sucks for introverts
Because it’s a large group of strangers, introverted people like myself struggle to make the most of these events. Without knowing who to talk to, I tended to just talk to one person I already knew or wander around awkwardly before leaving, feeling that it was a waste of time.
The big realization then was very simple – let’s just invite a small group of smart people out and have beers together around a table for a few hours. Over Skype, Momo joked that we should call it “Beertelligence” then to escalate the joke, I bought the domain name and off we went.
Flash forward 3 years and the Beertelligence community is now 500 strong, based on friends referring other people. It primarily attracts people working in Tech, Design & Entrepreneurship. We host events about once every 3 weeks, with about 15-20 people per event.
Every person who attends introduces themselves by saying who they are, interests, what they can help with and what they need help with.
The structure of …
+ small group
+ 3 hours
…means that attendees can learn what everyone else is doing and then meet, and spend time with, the people they are most interested in.
Since the group has grown by referrals, focuses on helping others and each event is small, it tends to discourage some of worst “power networkers” who are just out for themselves.
In April of 2017, we then decided to launch The Beertelligence Podcast to scale up our conversations and highlight the interesting people in our network, many of whom we met as a direct result of launching Beertelligence. Plus, this allowed us to broaden our reach from Shanghai to Silicon Valley, connecting tech, product & design using long-form interview podcasts.
– Brandon Owens, May 2017, cofounder of Beertelligence