I started this Thursdays Unplugged session by accidentally dropping the closed bottle, and then proceeding to absent-mindedly open it.
The result was an explosion of cola and pride, mostly on my shirt (which, incredibly, looks the same in the picture).
It was all uphill from there though!
With the third participant calling that he couldn’t make it the last minute, this became a 3-person session. Of course, I loved the result, as Jode, Gerome, and I not only got into the technicalities of the their startup ideas, but more importantly, we got to talk about their journey, and the softer parts of the startup life.
The thing I love about these sessions is that they’re discussions. Even if Gerome and Jode had very different concepts (one design, and one more IT-logistics) and were in very different stages of the startup journey, the exchange proved to be quite open, honest, and everyone was more than helpful to one another.
Can’t wait for the 14th. Seeya Mike, JC, and Michelle!
Slots still open for the 21st (1 more slot) and the 28th (2 slots free), so if you wan’t to secure a seat, do email me.
Last week, we held our very first Thursdays Unplugged in the STORM office in Ortigas.
I was with John, Gelo, and Ethel. We were supposed to be 5 people but the last participant couldn’t make it at the last minute. In retrospect, it was better suited for 4 people – more on this later.
So what happened?
I had no idea what was going to happen, so it was a bit awkward to start – it seemed too intimate at first. Then I laid the rules – 15 minutes per person, with an ideal 5-minute pitch, and then everyone can supply ideas and advice.
And just like that, we started.
It was pretty cool. Everyone had a very different idea, with each at different stages of the startup process. One was entirely in the idea stage, one had its initial meeting with a potential client scheduled in a few days, and one idea was already contracting employees. I cannot disclose the ideas thrown in the meeting – but it was a fun discussion.
Again, Fate intervened a bit because one person’s other business was in the same value chain as one of the ideas presented – so there was a lot of very concrete advice rendered.
Of course, the discussions went far beyond 15 minutes per person. I guess this was natural, because the startup ideas represented true passions of these individuals. Also, everyone else was eager to help out and suggest stuff, which was pretty nice. I was reminded a bit of the spirit of JGL’s Open Coffee.
What could be improved?
Some adjustments have to made for this week’s version though:
1) 5 people in the room would have pushed the meeting to 8pm. Last Thursday, we ended at around 7:00 pm already, and I barely made it to dinner. With some rules, I think this could be managed though. This Thursday, we’ll limit the participants to 3.
2) There needs to be some pre-work done so the conversation during the actual session can go deeper. Just 3 questions:
a) What is your idea or problem? Explain in 2-3 short paragraphs.
b) What help or advice would you need?
c) Is there a website or deck we can view? Kindly attach/link.
3) We need to make sure we do not have coffee and chips. They do not mix.
4) There needs to be a timer on the table for guidance.
5) There needs to be an FB group page for follow-ups/updating/further sharing.
Who’s got next?
JC, Jode, and Jerome (ohmigosh!), see you this Thursday! It’s going to be fun!
I can’t make it on August 7, but we’ll have the next one on August 14. All 3 slots still open. Do email me to reserve!
In the bigger events or in some of the speaking events I’ve done, I may be able to impart knowledge and help out, but obviously, the learning cannot be customized to the individual. Sure, after the event there can be informal networking and getting to know people, but I don’t really get to KNOW people that much.
More than just the startup idea, I get to know the entrepreneur’s story. I get to know his motivations. I get to read body language. I don’t just shoot from the hip and comment on just the idea. I can comment and help out on the journey, which I think is far more valuable. True enough, I’ve had a number of memorable one-on-ones with certain people.
The problem is, over the past few years, doing these random one-on-one meetings has gotten to be quite challenging, given my schedule and where I live (Antipolo).
So here’s my proposed solution.
I know 2 posts ago I set a 10-man meeting next thursday. It’s pretty evident that it won’t be as intimate as I would like it to be.
Hence, I am reducing it to 4 people (so total in the meeting of 5 including me). I’ll also endeavor to this weeklyand make it part of my workweek.
Here are some of the rules:
RULES FOR THURSDAYS UNPLUGGED
1) Venue and time
The venue will always be at the STORM Offices (Ortigas Center), at 5:30 pm. I would schedule it later to accommodate those coming from work, but I do want to go home in time for dinner. It would end approximately 6:30-645. There’s ample parking beside our building.
No powerpoint decks or demos. Let’s keep it simple and just talk.
3) Send me material
Do email me the idea or the problem at least 3 days before the meeting takes place. Be as concrete and concise as possible. If you have a deck or a website, this is where you should send it.
4) Transparency and Non-disclosure
You will be sharing your idea/situation both with me and the three other people in the room. (Honestly, this should be okay with you. Stealth doesn’t work) However, this doesn’t mean you should go around spreading what the other guy just shared with you – so we will agree that whatever was mentioned in the room, stays in the room.
5) 5 and 10
We have an hour. Let’s do approximately 15 minutes per person. In the first 5 minutes, do tell us about your idea or your problem, and also your journey. Then let’s spend the next 10-15 minutes discussing.
6) Reserving a slot
Let’s do this very simply. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a slot for a specific Thursday. First-come, first served.
7) Yep, it’s free
Nope, there’s no need for any sort payment. I just really want to help out in my own way (it’s not even sure if I will be able to be relevant and helpful to you). That said, if you feel obliged to bring some snacks for a group of 5, no one’s stopping you 🙂 (coffee will be on me, though). Just tell me what you’re bringing so there won’t be any duplication.
First one is on July 24. This is already fully-booked.
Next one will be on July 31. Two slots left.
Not yet sure if I can arrange one on August 7. I’ll confirm here in the blog.