Connecting with users: Leverage live events with online communities

I attended the Lunch 2.0 event at Oodle yesterday. It was supposed to be from noon to about 2pm at San Mateo. This was my first Lunch2.0 event BTW. Heard from many folks that they are fun, casual and you make some great connections.

So I show up at 1230 assuming I’d get about 10-20 people and meet some old friends – and oh yes, free lunch.

Getting on the elevator to the 4th floor I entered the office to find 2 guys drinking beer and chatting. Whoa I thought, lot less than I expected. They told me “Everyone’s in the other room”. Ahh

The “other room” had standing room only with the CEO of Ooodle giving his pitch. They help you search and manage classifieds on the web. There were about 100+ people in the room. Really good humus, pita bread and food.

I got a chance to meet the CEO and asked him about why they decided to host Lunch 2.0. His answer was he was looking at it as a recruiting event. Good turnout for a recruiting event for sure.

I did get a chance to meet Randy Corke from Utterz. More on that in a different post. Here’s the top things I re-learned from this event.

1. There’s no substitute for a face-to-face meeting to get your community together. It makes new connections and also reinforces existing ones. Always supplement your online community with live events.

2. There were a few folks looking for a new position. I got a chance to talk to 2 of them and help them make the connections back to my network. Helping your community selflessly gets you great rewards.

3. There was a lot of goodwill for Oodle (who I admit I had not heard of before this event) from this lunch. 3 folks who I talked to off line praised their “nice digs”, “open and friendly employees” and “casual business environment.
 The goodwill from this event will definitely build Oodle’s community even if that was not their intent.

Pictured: Chris Heuer and Scott (Oodle).