Just An Online Minute... Humans Interact With Humans Thanks To the IAB!
IAB Networking, Vig 27, New York
August 6, 2008
I never liked the term "networking". It brings to mind uber-adult dinner parties with low talking, crinkled eyebrows of seriousness, calloused palm squeezing, and "business only please!" conversation -- like a mullet without a tail. I'm "that guy" at networking events. You know the one -- that pesky critter who actually wants to get to know you and have a real conversation, which is a waste of time for some hardcoded networkers. Now, imagine networking without social lubricant, which is what I did yesterday at IAB networking at the very low lit Vig 27.
Luke Luckett is a baby-faced, very tall (to me!), slender fellow -- and he nearly made me jump out of my skin when I stepped up to the registration table. The peripheral in my left eye was a little sun-wonky, so I didn't see him standing there against the wall. After I announced myself at the reg table, he literally emerged like a gorilla in the mist and happily introduced himself with his contagious smile. I ordered a ginger ale and he let me know that the crowd would get cooking around 6:30 p.m. I surveyed the room and wondered how 80-90 people would fit into this room.
I walked easily through the emptyish space and perched on a banquette arm to jot down some first impressions, like how dark the room was, how there was another group at the front of Vig clogging the walkway with some smarmy businessmen types. I can accurately judge them as smarmy because when I said "excuse me" they nudged themselves over a barely measurable distance (with major room to spare) so that I still had to squeeze through them with too much bodily contact, blech!
Michael Theodore, VP Member Services, approached me as I was feverishly jotting down my meaningless drivel. We gabbed about the first online revolution and early inclinations to party hardy without really thinking about the cost and staying power. Theodore, in his chunky black architect glasses, offered that now the fresh crops of online businesses are probably a little more hesitant to have huge celebrations. Gotta make sure it's going to stick, right? Theodore also doubled as my foregone glass of vino, he warmly eased me into the evening.
While cramming a hunk of woody-flavored (hmm, is that Minwax?), oily hummus perched on a warm pita into my mouth, I focused on Steak . Much to the dismay of the big boss over here, I tend to gush about the juicy red stuff, but this time it came in the form of Noah Elkin, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, and Mark Schwartz, Vice President of Business Development. The guys at Steak have a big white bull on a purple background as their logo and a Web site that needs a little work. They're a U.K. company who just launched in the U.S. this year and guess what, unlike most companies who try to showcase their social media with-it ness with a blog, they actually keep theirs pretty fresh, not funky - and it sounds real, not just another Steak in the grass.
I had to ask someone what they want out of these networking things. Do they come to close deals and haw-haw with other suits about the price of cigars and Bartholomew's fraternity hazing crisis? Or do they come to meet new people in their industry and find other common bonds to make their careers less myopic and more... well... fun? Kristin Lee Pattuelli, Operative (who had two other operatives at the party) and Chrisanne McCoy, newly employed with Invision, Inc. were there to reconnect - with each other! It's funny how, when everyone gets so busy, sometimes these events are the only way to get together socially (while telling the fam it's for work). And that is what I like about networking.
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