I was reminded of never turning a blind eye to opportunity this week. I realized that one event, which in hindsight never received much attention from me, ended up being so lucrative. It deserved a note here again.
Way back when (ok, a couple years ago), I originally started the Open Coffe Club ("OCC") meet-ups in Hamburg. Thankfully Tobias from Hamburg Start-Ups took over fairly quickly to keep this event running. I just didn't have the time to do the necessary advertising and marketing for it. Good thing he did as it remains a great local event in Hamburg. Had it not been for this event, a bunch of things wouldn't of happened.
A couple nights ago I was at the office opening party for apprupt. I have to admit there was a sense of accomplishment circling through my head as I hung out in their new offices. I think they're at 30+ employees now and in the new space will quickly be at 50 or more. Yet, I remember meeting the founders, Jascha and Kjell, originally at the OCC meet-ups. Initially they just said hello but were persistent in building a relationship. Good thing they were ankle-biters. Otherwise, I would of never seeed invested in Jupidi which ended up becoming apprupt. Score 1 for OCC.
Not surprisingly, many of the Americans who showed up in Hamburg were introduced to me at OCC. Expats are always looking for ways to meet people and at the same time, I was always happy to meet Americans showing up in town. I figured they had to be "my kind of crazy". Kevin Dykes was one of these guys. He's become a good friend and is making his mark now on the Berlin start-up scene. Further, I met Michael Backes there and guess what, we just launched Liquid Labs together. Score 2 for OCC.
Without going into the detail of every connection that happened via OCC (and there are a couple more), you get the point that even small, local events can work wonders. Further, if you don't show up to the field, you won't be part of the game. LeWeb, TheNextWeb, Founders and so forth are great events. Don't get me wrong, I go too. But you have to be networking all the time. You never know whom you are going to meet where. Further, you have to be open to meeting new people and seeing whether something may come of it. Maybe not today or tomorrow but eventually. This is what the smart founder, out on the "playing field" whenever possible, always has in the back of their mind.