There was a time when I was marked present in each and every entrepreneurial event and conference which happened in Chandigarh and even at some which happened in Delhi.
At those high teas I used to have a different feeling of highness when I was among other entrepreneurs and it became an antidote to my troubled emotions of running a struggling organization.
I have had my journey from being an audience to a speaker/panelist to a moderator/organizer to someone who has stopped going to most of such invites.
You can read here why I ditched startup events.
No, I am not going to answer you that whether you should attend them or not and I am not even asking you not to attend them like me. I am going to share my perception about these events and leave the decision to you.
At these events what I have observed is there are three types of people, who are present – Seekers, Gyani, Shaaney Log.
Type 1 – Seeker
Initially I was a Seeker at these events because being the first generation entrepreneur I never had anyone to go to ask my questions about business. In fact it was believed that if Kshitij is at a conference then two or three questions are going to come from that chair. My mistake as a seeker was that I was looking for definitive answers and my questions were straight to the situation for example, ‘Should I fire that guy or not? Or Should we sue that client for not paying us on time or not?’ Well I never got answers for them and always got gyan in return from Gyanis. .
Type 2 – Gyanis
Gyanis are those people who have walked a bit more than you on the journey of entrepreneurship. They can be speakers, panelists or even can be some entrepreneurs who have built a stable organization. Interesting thing which I felt as a Gyani was that no matter what, when I was giving advice to seekers my heart always told me that ‘You don’t know all the parameters related to the question but still you are answering it superficially.’ For example if a seeker asked ‘Should I fire this guy in my team who has not performed in sales?’ I don’t know that because how on earth I know –
- Whether your product has some use or not to your clients?
- Are you selling in the right market or not?
- Are you selling at the right time or not?
- Have you even trained this guy or he is a kid who has just passed out from a college?
And there are so many more related parameters which involve this decision. So if you hear an answer from a gyani like me, his advice is not of use to you.
Type 3 – Shaaney Log
Shaaney Log are the ones who have mala fide interest in the event or in being the leader of the community but they will always say it on the face of the community that they are giving back to the entrepreneurship world. They strongly believe in “Tu ek paisa dega toh woh dus laakh dega”. They are shaaney log so you cannot identify them easily, they can be wearing masks of either seekers or gyanis.
I am sharing reasons why you should attend or not attend such events for the seekers only and I hope it helps you in answering the question which the blog addresses to.
Why you should not attend them
- Most of these events happen during working hours so another option you have is to go back to your office or meet clients or potential clients.
- There is a huge probability that you will never be funded at these events so if you are looking for funds you can try chasing investors outside these events.
- If the event is not related to your work then you are wasting your time and no knowledge will be added. Imagine me as an educationist attending an event on robotic engineering.
- Most of the events are gyan sessions and all that gyan is available at google baba.
Why you should attend them
- If at an event you have chances of meeting potential clients then go. Tip is don’t start selling your product there, just make an intro.
- There is a probability that you might click with the ideology of a gyani, request her/him to meet you after the event and then mentor you in your business.
- There are chances that the people available at the event might connect you with someone who can be beneficial for your business like a potential client or an advisor or an expert.
- If you are looking for collaborations with other startups then this is a good platform to look out.
- If it is a free event and you don’t have anything else to do then you can go for free high tea or lunch. 😉 Take your team along.
There is no thumb rule for this but I personally believe that you should calculate the time spend at events and in office with your team and the former should not be more than 20 % of the later. May the force be with you!