Last Friday night, I attended an SF New Tech event for the first time. I don’t normally pay a high ticket price, but I happen to know the owner of the house where the event was taking place. So to kill two birds with one stone, I took the plunge. The nice thing about the event was that food and drinks were included. Photos from others can be found here and here and here.
When I first arrived, the event was not ready yet. Note to self, don’t arrive when the event starts. I wandered around and attacked the Motorola photo booth (I <3 photo booths!). They had a bunch of out of space toy props so naturally I picked the mechanical robot arm. About 30 minutes later, I found out that the same Motorola booth was giving out Droid X phones for free. All that I had to do was do a 30 second video on what interesting thing that I do outside of work. I hunted down the one guy who was recording the videos, did my pitch and voila! Phone! It was the highlight of my night. Thank you Motorola (@motomobile)!
Some other booths that were there include Dorsey & Whitney LLP law firm and CalInnovates.org. The Dorsey booth as far as I could tell was unmanned all evening. I being a sucker for free schwag raided the booth anyways and got some bottom-lit plastic shot glasses and blinking light keychains. Not sure what the correlation is with party gear and a law firm, but the schwag were cute trinkets. The CalInnovates.org gave away free iPhone skins of the California state flag (it’s on my iPhone now) and a free t-shirt, womens if I may add. They asked how I felt about California legislature affecting high-tech companies. I just commented that California government is doing what the housing real estate market is doing. There is a high demand to live in certain areas (e.g, SF, LA, near the beach), so hike up the house price until buyers stop buying aka companies stop coming to California.
The description of the event described it as a mover and shaker type of event with VCs and entrepreneurs and enthusiasts (like me). It was not apparent to me that there were a lot of VCs at the event. I did notice a bunch of entrepreneurs which was fun to hear their war stories. The number of people were on the lower end from what I expected although I did talk to people longer AND met more of the attendees (higher percentage). Not a total lost cause.
In case you were wondering about the food and drinks. They had Cass winery, Magners Irish Cider, Kicks ice cream sandwiches, a Mexican taco truck, and an Indian/Mexican food truck. There were plenty of food and drinks.
Question, would I go again? If the location is cool, then yes otherwise I’ll pass next time.
Things that I learned
- when working with potential cofounders: 1) before starting, agree to high level plans of the role that person could play and what contribution translate to what equity %, 2) work on small projects and see if working relationship and quality of work are good before moving forward
- you don’t need to be techie to work on a tech idea, in a previous posting, I mentioned the same thing. as a non-techie, you can do mockups (check out MockApps) to show to your potential cofounder or contractors
- money can come from your extended network. i met a founder who got some odd millions of dollars (think $5M) from a shared connection with his company’s lawyer
- demo like a salesperson. one demo booth was uninteresting. they had 4 youngsters hanging out and when i walked up, asked if i wanted to see a demo instead of just pitching and demoing. amateurs! j/k
- don’t eat anything messy because you’ll get dirty and people will talk about “that guy” or “that girl” who spilled all over the place. there was one guy, so I heard, that ate some mexican food and spilled it all over the front of his shirt.
People whom I met:
- Director at Silicon Valley Bank
- Founder of Appfeeds
- Founder of a medical management software system
- Director at Woodside Capital
- Founder of a digital media company
- A lawyer focused on startups
- Founder of SF MusicTech
- Marketing person at a stealth B2C/B2B payment company
- Founder of Chic Meets Geek events