My friend Julien Smith has one of the most popular podcasts around, and he’s an opinionated fellow when it comes to doing good and connecting.
Julien feels there’s not enough community-driven things going on in Montreal. He unleashed a hailstorm of comments from people with opinions across the board. Many people disagreed, saying that the community is strong, vibrant and active.
Here’s my take – Montreal has a lot going on. But, there is a disconnect. That disconnect lies between the various groups of people in the technology space doing things for different reasons. Some are working exclusively on non-profit projects, others are more business-focused. Some do it for the art, others do it for the money. And, with a smaller city, you do get pockets of expertise – programmers in their Linux User Group meetings, artists collecting at art galleries, entrepreneurs…well…
I have been around the world, and Montreal has something very particular, but also less cash and less alpha attack (maybe because of that). For me that’s a good thing: rents are cheap, people do art for art, and not to make a name for themselves (see what it’s like in NYC). (on the downside, no one can sell anything here).
A few things stand out there:
- less alpha attack – that’s bad.
- people do art for art – that’s good, but when art and business come together it’s even better.
- no one can sell anything – that’s bad.
The problem doesn’t lie with artists, technologists, a lack of resources, people too spread out (although it wouldn’t hurt to be geographically focused), etc. The problem is a lack of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial spirit.
We need more entrepreneurs.
We need to bring them together on a regular basis, to share ideas, goals, contacts, leads, etc.
With that in mind, I’m proposing a weekly (or regularly scheduled) breakfast meeting for every entrepreneur out there doing something in the technology space. That’s a broad swath; from social media experts to hardcore geeks to business people in the Web world…If you’re an entrepreneur in the technology space in Montreal, you should attend.
Breakfast is easier for me (I got a young kid at home!) and meeting up with everyone would be a great way to start any day. How about Wednesday? Thursday? (I’m flexible on location.)
If others are interested, I’d also propose we think about ways of connecting at the breakfast. I don’t think we need to play musical chairs or introduce each other in a kumbaya circle, but what if each of us asked everyone else casually in conversation, “Is there any way I can help you out?”
I wonder what kinds of connections we’d create then.
So, anyone interested? Fellow entrepreneurs…you folks out there?
(PS. If you’re counting, I’m going to use this effort to cross off one of Ron McDaniel’s buzz marketing challenges. Ron suggests that you arrange a networking lunch. He recommends inviting 2 or 3 people together that don’t know each other. To help kickstart the idea, meet with 1 person and ask them who they’d like to meet. Then call up the 2nd person and bring ’em together. I think this is insanely cool and powerful. My networking breakfast isn’t quite the same, but it should still bring people together that don’t know each other!)