I was just getting back home from a nice #geekball* session with the guys and we decided to hang out a bit at Tista’s office for some drinks and BBQ. We had a long chat about the NBA, Star Trek, and ended up with some collaboration ideas among our companies, sponsorship deal, and creating a CTO Club for sharing technical problems and solutions. How can a random discussion leads to a productive collaboration? No idea but that’s something that can happen when you’re hanging out with like-minded people.
This is not the first time it happened and it sure won’t be the last. Most collaboration and ideas are born outside of formal meetings. Most of the big deals of my life were born over drinks, at an after-play at a basketball court or just hanging out with friends and future partners. Formal meetings are just for the sake of formality and signing documents.
Which is why it is very important to get out there. Make yourself available and be connected outside of your usual circle. Know your peers and connect with them on a routine basis. Deals happen a lot quicker when you’re dealing with friends.
When going to a conference, don’t only attend the sessions but jump in at the after party. That’s where you can really connect with people and talk on a more informal situation. If you’re interested in collaborating with someone, don’t hesitate to ask them if they would like to have lunch with you so that you can connect further with them. Avoid dinner if you can though, that might give them the wrong signal.
When suggesting a collaboration, think about what value can you bring to the table. Don’t be selfish and demand all the benefits for yourself. Help them and they will gladly help you back.
Don’t be an annoying prick though, be reminded that people are busy so be polite and don’t force your way to get to know people. It’s kind of like in high school, hang out with the popular kids so that you can elevate your social status. Only now it’s not about social status but it’s about excelling your business and doing collaborations.
Deals don’t happen in the meeting rooms, they happen outside of it. So good luck, get out of the office and mingle!
*geekball is a basketball pickup play that we do every tuesday at 5-7pm.
Aria Rajasa is the CEO of gantibaju.com, a clothing startup backed by a very strong designer community. His passion in entrepreneurship has gotten him to establish a number of companies in technology and design industries since leaving university.