For whatever reason, my attempt to message the organisers of Link West via eventbrite failed. I was late, very late – it was due to start at 17:30 and I was going to be there at more like 19:30 – with no idea what to expect from this event, I didn’t know if it was 5 people or 200 people. I didn’t know if I might miss it by being that late.
I arrived to an empty pub. “Damn, I must have missed it”.
Then luckily I heard some murmurings and clinkings coming from the back garden – thank goodness for that, I have the right pub (Smokehouse in Chiswick, a stones throw from where I live) and the networking is in full flow.
I see someone I recognise, feel relieved and wander over, but I can’t quite get them, it’s actually quite packed. Luckily I’m handed a glass of prosecco, that always makes things a little smoother.
Somebody starts talking to me, it’s Stephen from the chamber of commerce. I’ve only recently moved back to Chiswick and one of the things I first did was search for a local chamber of commerce – when I contacted them, it was Stephen who emailed me back. A bit of a coincidence and his charasmatic demeanour put me at ease and I’m ready to meet some people. Nigel from Decipher is one of the first intros I get. Nigel runs Decipher/iBurbia out of the independiente building in Chiswick; a building that is close to my heart – it was the building I was working out of when I first discovered Chiswick 6 or 7 years ago. I was there for a year with the startup iMediacast and spent many-an-evening listening to chilled out tunes on our shared spotify/amp/speaker setup, and drinking a beer or two. I even had a few band jamming sessions in that building, and it wasn’t uncommon for a band associated with one of the labels to drop by, like Travis. There was always a story to hear and i’m interested to see what Nigel had done with the place since moving iBurbiaStudios in.
It’s not long before canapés are before me. Spicy pulled pork in a romaine lettuce leaf – the tastiest canapé I can remember having! This rivals the ones from my Accenture alumni event and there was no expense spared on that event, I can tell you.
But I’m wrong, because the one I’m now holding is the best one I’ve ever had – some kind of beef steak Katsu croquet. Japanese and heavenly!
Prosecco, canapés, a buzz in the air. Even if this event ends now, I’m happy.
I missed the start but I believe there was a brief talk – the invite said a talk from Tech City UK and I would guess that Katie and Minnie from Katchup would also have said a few words. But I wasn’t there, so I honestly don’t know. Everyone was busy having a good time and that was good enough for me.
Apparently this is the 3rd link west event run by the Katchup duo and from speaking to people, the others were a very different type of event. Maybe it was best I didn’t go to the other two then, because this one was fantastic.
The event was organised beautifully, there was a great buzz in the air and although I didn’t really “work the room”, the few people I met were really cool people and I learnt a stack of stuff about business. I offered out tech and software advice where I could, and had some great conversations.
I’m planning a camping trip soon and was so glad to meet Dan from Pitchup. What a fantastic niche site and business he has going on there, impressive – great name too! And a site that I will definitely be using.
It was amazing to speak to real entrepreneurs and real business owners and hear about their recent challenges and visions – I’m all about software so I can’t get enough of talking about their software and business models and how tech can be can used effectively to increase their bottom line.
I’ve been to a few events in the tech startup scene where there is a huge buzz in the air, but at those it was all hot air! Most people there have regular jobs and an just idea for a business (which is great) but they haven’t yet made anything happen.
This was different, most people I spoke to, it was all very real. These are the doers, they have made and are sill making it happen.
I’m thinking to myself:
“This is exactly the type of event I’ve been looking for”
Back to the event….
In the midst of the networking chats – I actually forget I’m here to network and I just start having a good time.
This has to be a sign of a great event and it’s not long before the pub are kicking us out. As a side bonus I notice that Smokehouse allows dogs inside! This is great news, another great venue for a cheaky drink or bite to eat without having to leave Mr B at home.
As the party closes, Uber’s party opens as car after car swings by to take the attendees back to the suburbs. I’m two streets away and it’s still tempting to press the shiny Uber button and be carried home in style by the finest Toyota Prius money can buy.
With a few business cards in my pocket, a few great contacts and evening of great conversation, it’s been a success for me. Making a few business minded friends in the area is all I can ever ask of a networking event – but to actually have had a great time too, that’s the pinnacle of success.
Thanks to the organisers Minnie and Katie for putting on this event! I’m glad to be back in Chiswick, excited to feel the business buzz and I’m excited to see what’s next. West London is a great place to be right now.
Thanks for the prosecco and canapés! Both were delicious. More importantly, just thanks for making something like this happen, I know it’s hard work putting something like this together, so well done!
Looking forward to the next one now.