There’s a good feeling that comes with actually following through and completing something. Against all odds and despite massive amounts of self doubt, you execute. Whether or not it’s a side project or a new business, finishing is finishing.
“Done is better than perfect.” — Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
In this particular case, I’m reflecting on completing the first event in a series called Collide Events: Networking That Doesn’t Suck! This series is the first official offering from my new company called Collide, where we are building a future where ideas are shared and pursued freely.
It was amazing going from identifying a need (productive networking based around complementary skills and ideas) to receiving real life feedback from those who attended. Hearing from your audience makes things infinitely more tangible.
Whether the feedback is positive or negative (i.e. constructive), it fuels the process and makes everything worth it.
To give a little more context, I should probably go back and start from the beginning. This all began with a completely innovative and original approach to start a company: an idea for an app (hopefully you caught the sarcasm).
As a designer, I decided to validate this app idea by running a design sprint. In case you aren’t familiar with the process, it is definitely worth taking a closer look.
I had one clear goal for this sprint: to validate whether or not freelancers and entrepreneurs wanted to connect with others over shared ideas using complementary skills. When all was said and done, I had a fully-functional prototype that had been tested with potential users.
Since then, I’ve been continuing to update the prototype using feedback from new users. During this process, I came to the realization that many other entrepreneurs reach: I need a technical cofounder.
After starting my search using existing methods like LinkedIn, FounderDating, Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth, I stumbled across another opportunity. Why not take the in-app experience and create in-person events? Not only would this attempt to solve my own problem, but others had to be in the same boat.
This was definitely an understatement. When I started putting together the format for Collide Events and running it by others in my coworking center, there was an overwhelming sense that this was an actual need.
In many cities, networking tends to turn into one of two scenarios:
- An endless sea of people and unlimited booze without focus. There may be people there with skills you need, but it’s a complete numbers game.
- Smaller Meetups with people who have the same skills and interests. This is a great way to make friends, but not very productive considering everyone has the same skill set.
I decided to try something different and allow people to submit ideas, skills needed, and skills they have in order to provide quality connections.
After putting this format together, launching during a strategic time (St. Louis Design Week), and sharing with people I thought would be interested, the turnout was great.
About 30–35 people from different backgrounds and working situations gave this new format a chance. This number may not sound that impressive in terms of a traditional networking event, but the Collide format promotes quality of connections over quantity.
At the first Collide Event, design students were able to talk with freelancers and agency owners to gain insight into the industry. Developers had the chance to share their projects with designers who could possible help them. People without ideas were able to draw inspiration from others and learn about different methods of pursuing an idea.
This first event was far from perfect. There were plenty of things that could have made it even more productive. Feedback from attendees is already coming in, and there are countless things to improve upon for the future.
But in this moment, thinking back to that night, I realize that done will ALWAYS be better than perfect.
If you are interested in learning more about Collide Events or the company behind them, checkout our website at www.collidewith.us or email us at email@example.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more updates.
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