Geek Dinners in Northeast Wisconsin
Geek dinners are happening in Silicon Valley, Seattle, NYC, Boston, Austin and London...but can is there enough interest in northeast Wisconsin for them to be successful here?
A recent post by Hugh MacLeod, author of the "Gaping Void" cartoon, prompted that question and this resultant blog post.
The purpose of geek dinners (from my point of view) is to build and strengthen the tech community in a community or region by creating or enhancing personal relationships. Additional benefits from the dinners are the interesting conversations, the potential for future collaboration between dinner participants, and geek dinners which will hopefully be initiated by those who want to replicate the experience for more people. The dinners are a way to extend each person's networks, especially in an area lacking a 'critical mass' of geeks and innovators, like northeast Wisconsin.
"Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi is one of the best books for improving the effectiveness of your personal and professional networking. One of the recommendations from Keith is to host a dinner, inviting a few people high up on your list of people with whom you'd like to connect. [If you don't have this type of prioritized list, take some time right now and make a list of ten people that you seriously want to connect with in the next six months.] In addition to the people you don't already know, invite a few people you do know who will make the dinner more enjoyable and interesting. Keith suggests six to ten people as being the optimal size for this type of networking dinner. Another of his suggestions is to develop an "anchor tenant" for your dinners. The key to having an anchor tenant is "...find somebody in your peer set who has a friend who is two levels above...[who is] the anchor tenant. You get them to come and, in all invitations subsequent to that, you use the anchor to pull in people who otherwise wouldn't attend."
The next steps in moving forward with geek dinners in northeast Wisconsin is to find a co-host and/or an anchor tenant, organize the details of the dinner, then schedule the dinner with six to ten geeks committed to participate.