Previously, I spoke about the generosity I’ve encountered through networking and connecting. Since the foundation of my business is built on working with start-ups, when Craig Delsack asked if I wanted to join him at a pitch event being held at Microsoft – I jumped at the chance.
A pitch event is where start-ups are given the chance to showcase (pitch) to an audience how their new product or platform will change the world, be wildly successful and hopefully be worth a lot of money someday. Think “Shark Tank.”
What the audience is usually filled with are other startups who want to see how to pitch, some investors plus people from different industries who can help/assist these new companies.
It ends up that the event was being held in the Microsoft building but not hosted by them. The evening’s host was a large commercial real estate company and I felt like I shouldn’t be there, trying not to approach people on my competitor’s home turf.
Spending the evening with Craig made me a huge fan and I affectionately dubbed him a “wall talker.” He will introduce himself and speak to anyone, an amazing gift in my estimation.
One of the first people he said hello to was John Bonini of Toro Labs. John works for a company that develops mobile apps, bringing ideas to life for entrepreneurs and they also have a series of bootcamp programs called StartUp Essentials.
We exchanged business cards and talked for just a minute before the event started. The following day I thanked Craig for being so helpful to me and how much I enjoyed the evening. I reached out to John and he told me his company was starting a series of talks and perhaps I’d be interested in participating as a sponsor. Of course I said yes, what an opportunity!
I am now one of their sponsors for the entire year-long series. You may want to go to the next event featuring Joe Meyer, CEO of HopStop (acquired by Apple) which is being held at WeWork on June 10, 2014 at 7pm.
When I attended their first event last year, I sat in the audience before being asked to speak about my website, SpacesNY, which is the social media hub of my business. I said hello to the person on each side of me and the young woman next to me asked what I did. I said, “I find office space for small businesses and start-ups.” She said, “That’s funny, I work for a company that makes office furniture for small businesses and start-ups.” That was how I met Marissa Olexa of turnstone, a furniture company owned by Steelcase. Unbelievable.
As we spoke, Marissa told me about turnstone, their line of inspired furniture (including the bouy seat and their bivi line of desks) and the events they hold around the country called Small Talks (they’re free and the next one is June 4th ). She thought I would be perfect to be on their next panel in NYC and invited me to participate. Of course I said yes, what an opportunity! Here’s the link to the actual event (sorry you missed it.)
After the event, several people in the audience came up to meet me, where I learned more about their businesses and how we could work together. My first introduction was to Hope Fulgham, who has a fascinating background and created a unique second career. Then I met Ronan Kenny who offered to help my start-up clients to envision and plan their office space layout.
As a result of this initial introduction to the person sitting next to me, Marissa has become an indispensable part of my referral network and she continues to amaze me with her generosity of friendship, time and resources.
When the program information for the Small Talk was sent to the turnstone graphic designer, I received a message via LinkedIn. It ends up that I sold her home when she left Las Vegas and now works for turnstone. She couldn’t believe when she saw my picture and bio for the event. Talk about a small world.
You just can’t make this stuff up and it just keeps getting better.
Until next time…
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(Here’s a hint for following this blog easily. ”Previously” is always hyperlinked to the next article after it’s been posted. ”Next time” will take you back to the previous post. Make sure to click on each person’s name when they’re mentioned and see if they aren’t a possible connection for you. I’d be happy to make the introduction.)
Mark Karten is a connector in New York City. If you’re ready to expand your network of meaningful, relevant relationships, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.