A few weeks ago, two people reached out to me on LinkedIn about The Connect Collaborative. I didn’t know anything about this collaborative, but I asked around. I got wildly different takes. One of my mentors, I have several, had heard about the Hub. So she let me know that it was a well-known networking venue with hundreds of members. A co-worker in one of the startups I work with said he had gone but got bad vibes. But another founder I am working with said that he had been a few times, and found the people lovely. Also that he had worked with people he met at some level. So naturally, I had to go and check things out for myself!
Turns out that the two people who invited me, Doug and Wells, knew each other. Doug had invited Wells. So that worked out. I attended the talk last week, which on personalities. That’s bumped the article I have wanted to write about personality tests near the top of my to-do list. I went back yesterday, but I couldn’t stay for the talk. I touched base with Doug and Wells, and a few others that Doug invited to the Hub. But I am suffering from a weird ear issue and chronic headache, so by the time 7:30 PM rolled around, Tinni.exe was very much shutting down.
So why did my co-worker get “bad vibes”, and why did the other founder think everybody was lovely? Well, Connect Collaborative does use network effect, which can give of multi-level-marketing (MLM) vibes. Indeed, just last night Doug acknowledged that some people do come into the Hub thinking they are about to get an MLM pitch from Amway. Amway being notorious for co-opting entrepreneurial language. Some rules might not make sense on the surface, like waiting to be introduced. But I can see the benefits of slowly meeting people.
Also, I think that whoever the speaker is the first time you attend can make a huge difference as does whoever invites you into the room. Also what you know about the Hub can probably colour your impression. I got such wildly different takes on people who attended that I am more curious than apprehensive. But so far, no one tried to sell me anything, and it seems like a small business version of a lot of startup events I have attended.
There are overlaps, of course. People I know from the startup scene turned out to be regulars at the Hub. So it’s interesting. I’ll try to go a few more times and see where it leads. It should be fun and interesting!