This is a suggestion I posted on 2012-02-27, and I’m still waiting any feedback.
I’ve been to both Speed Dating meetups as a tech guy. The last time I had the chance to listen to more interesting projects. That’s good.
At the last meetup, I think we were like 20 techies and 60 entrepreneurs. This is 20 x 60 x 3 minutes each = 3600 minutes of 2 people chats. Those 60 hours could be run with a parallelism of 20 at a time, so they could boil down to a 3 hours meetup at least. In reality, it lasted less than two hours, still enough to meet (theoretically) around 40 different entrepreneurs, but I only met 7 ! (it’s 10%)
This is not a complain, just a surprise. I know how difficult it is to have people come, so if this group was not successful, there wouldn’t be such an issue. However it looks like there is space for improvement.
If I went to a speed dating to find a partner to ask out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYBo5eS5pW8),
1: men and women are the same number
2: age is a big factor which is taken care of beforehand
3: before actually speaking to anyone, I can see how they look like
4: when we meet at last, we have limited time to understand if we match
In our meetups,
1: parallelism. We should be the same number for each role; if we are not, either (a) move extra people to the next meetup or (b) make them play another role.
2: age. IMO, this is the size of the idea (and maturity of the business, if any). It’s not the same to meet someone who needs a web presence to brand themselves; someone who wants to reach millions of people around the globe; someone who got an idea while having a shower; and someone who is growing the proven business they are expert in.
NOTE that we do not have to filter out members based on this factor, but we should know beforehand the size of their startup effort.
3: likability. This is mostly some details about the idea/team. Who is the leader, who are the other members, what do they do, what are they expert in, what is the idea about, is it selling a product, a service, a software, is there a website to look at, … And finally, it’s not the same to be looking for an associate or an employee.
4: matching. If we get here after knowing all of the above, it’s clear that a lot of time is already saved. This step is not for pitching ! Here we just need to say hello, get a gut feeling about the other and fix any misunderstandings.