Navigating meetup groups

Having moved to Amsterdam, I’ve gone about settling in and trying to expand my network. I’ve been getting up to speed with the tech community and have been attending different meetups. This post continues on the theme of the support structure to enable success and some thoughts on meetups.

I think new entrepreneurs initially attend meetups in hope of it magically generating business. This is a bit short-sighted and too hopeful of an outcome. Speaking to people, most do not see meetups as a place to directly attract business. But there are several other plusses that may not be quite so transparent.

My first observation is the meetup community is quite active in Amsterdam. You can browse through the meetup site and find groups that align with your interests. More importantly, there are events taking place every week ensuring you stay entertained. I’d suggest signing up for a whole bunch and attend a variety to get a feel of the crowd.

In general I’ve found the individuals I’ve met at all events to be open for some good conversation. I’ve not been to one thus far where I’ve thought it was a waste of time. Yes there are some that have been a wee bit poorly organised, but the attendees have been the saving grace.

As you can imagine, most are fairly like minded – by this is I mean people who are budding to learn and enhance their knowledge as well as the networking opportunities that may arise. People attend from various walks in life, not just entrepreneurs. And it’s important this diversity exists, having just one specific type of person would mean the points of views remain very limited.

One interesting and pleasant observation is the community seem very open to helping each other out. You may not get business directly, but if someone can point you in the right direction, that is pretty damn useful. Now I’m not sure if this is Amsterdam specific, but this is the biggest gains one can attain from the meetups (as well as making some friends along the way). I reckon the reason for this is people subconsciously (or consciously) understand that it is the best way for mutual success. It also furthers the ambition to make Amsterdam a more internationally recognised centre for tech in comparison to its more illustrious European capital city cousins.

Over time I can see becoming integrated into the tech scene becoming a valuable support structure. You can bounce ideas off people, when in a rut look for some motivation and of course learn from other experiences.

On a personal note it’s been a refreshing change to big oil. I found the oil industry a bit obsessed on singular aspects (i.e. money and oil price) and this can be a bit tiresome and one dimensional. Here we have a far more diverse points of view and and also maybe open your mind to something different. Let me know about your meetup experiences!



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