Eat, drink, network

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I’ve met a lot of Brooklyn natives recently, and they all seemed to me really passionate and proud about their home town. I must say, Brooklyn is pretty cool these days. With its signature hipsters, unparalleled diversity, and vibrant tech community, it surely is a magnet for young active adults, be it professionals, entrepreneurs, or simply people in quest for low key coolness.

I am, though, a hardcore Manhattan aficionado. (The tens of Woody Allen movies I’ve seen since I was little must have something to do with it 🙂 ). But I don’t know exactly how, I’m finding myself more and more involved in BK life every day, both from business and leisure point of view. Is, as hipsters put it, Brooklyn “the new Manhattan”? Or are Brooklynites right to call Manhattan “part of the Greater Brooklyn area”?

Anyway 🙂

Last Friday I’ve attended, together with a friend from another company, a casual tech/innovation lunch meeting in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Organized by Charlie O’Donnell from Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, the concept was to bring your own food and gather with fellow tech-ers around the table for a relaxed talk.

Relaxed – yet instructive -, the lunch certainly was. Basically, each guest had its turn to speak about what he was doing, and that was leading to questions, feedback, discussions (and, yes, jokes :-)) from and with the other participants. The host noted that it was the first time the “table tour” stretched over the entire lunch. It seems that every such lunch kind of creates its own format and ends up being different from the others.

It was very interesting to see the variety of projects people around the table were involved with. There were the ones providing an online music network based on YouTube allowing unknown, unsigned artists to build a presence and to monetize their popularity; the fitness specialist building a Web application to enable cost-effective monitoring and customized workouts for everybody; the one helping a startup put together a business of selling customized… chocolate over the Internet; or the ex coffeeshop keeper, reinvented as publisher of an unconventional travel and lifestyle magazine.

As a matter of fact, as my friend noticed, we were the only ones from the Enterprise space that day. New York do have a reputation for having a business community rather consumer-oriented. But don’t be fooled, there’s plenty of B2B startups in NYC – think Return Path, Covestor, or 10gen, to name a few. And growing. And there’s great events in this space, like the newly launched but already popular NY Enterprise Technology Meetup.

Back to our casual lunch, in conclusion, the atmosphere was cosy and friendly, and the talks were quality and instructive. A lot of that was due to the host, Charlie O’Donnell, an excellent group coordinator, and a deep “conoisseur” of the entrepreneurship world. Thanks to his huge tech culture (and, of course, line of work :-)), he was able to understand the businesses people talked about in no time, and to make the right connections and ask the right questions, thus always driving valuable exchanges.

It was definitely a pleasant-meet-useful moment, and I will try to attend other editions.

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