The London Networking Scene

I got back from half-term holiday with the family on Sunday. The week previous to that had been hectic with a London web/entrepreneurs event on every night of the week, each of which demonstrated that London has a vibrant community of people in this sphere, bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm.

NMK's event attracted over 100 people to hear four speakers engage in lively debate. And the post event drinks & networking was a great success - people genuinely were there to mix and meet as many people as possible. Deidre Molloy has done wonders with this event, and in some respects its a shame to see her move onto Chinwag. That said, she'll undoubtedly do great things there too and stimulate the London scene.

RichMix drew over 350 people to its event north of Bishopsgate, primarily drawn from the TMT sector. I went with a colleague and we were both impressed how many good ideas/businesses were being pursued. That's not to say that all of the people were necessarily the best people to execute those ideas nor that they had considered all of the angles we felt that should have done as part of their basic setup. But they were having a go and many people fall away at this first hurdle.

I was also fortunate enough to get an invite to Techcrunch UK launch party, held at Olswang's office nr Holborn. With about 100 people on the guest list, it read very much like a who's who's of the London web scene. Aside from the opportunity to meet with many friends, it was great to meet some familiar names (people & companies) that I knew of either through their blogs or businesses such as Phil Wilkinson of Crowdstorm who was a co-founder of Kilkoo.

Consequently the break was was most welcome. But having returned its straight back into the same hectic schedule of events.

This week for instance, I've already been along to Londongirlgeekdinner, which is superbly organised by Sarah Blow. Tuesday was open-mike night and drew a full-house of 80 people, two thirds of which were women. It was such a stark contrast to many of the events which tend to draw very few females and indeed this is why Sarah started this event - to encourage women to attend events with the resultant benefits.

Amongst the small group of men in attendance and who had to have been invited along by a female, was Hugh McCloud of gapingvoid.com fame and reportedly the most influential blogger in the UK based on links to his famous "cartoons on the back of a business card". We'd met at Techcrunch briefly and had a good chat about the two businesses he's involved with, one of which is a tailors and the second which is a winery ("Stormhoek"). In the midst of discussing the latter and my observations on how a similar niche winery ("Banrock Station" of Australia who offer a superb sparking shiraz best drunk chilled) was promoting itself, Hugh suddenly launched into a cartoon which he brandished after about a minute of frenzied scribbling - I'm looking forward to seeing it make it onto the blogosphere. Moments later, Katie Ledger who was formerly the newspresenter on Channel 5 for 8 years and who is now at the BBC came over to introduce herself to Hugh & I (confess it was probably him that was the attraction) to reveal that her business cards features one of Hugh's cartoons!

On the same night, another central figure of the London web scene, Ian Forrestor organised a "Werewolf" night as a spin-off from geekdinner. This is a great game and when I arrived late on it was evident how "heated" emotions can run during the playing of the game.

On Thursday, its the second event of Imperial Entrepreneurs, organised by Sumon Sadhu. The first event had clashed with the Techcrunch UK event but reports from my colleagues who did attend indicated it was well organised and well attended.

Its very rewarding to attend these events and have the opportunity to meet lots of new people and hear their ideas, opinions and experiences. And make no mistake, business gets done off the back of them. So if you've a burning passion about an idea, these events are a great place to go along and expose it to an audience who will be happy to engage with you.

posted by John Wilson @ 1:38 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit



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