Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Conferences are all about Networking

In my role as co-chair of the TiEConnect program in TiEcon 2012, I posted a guest column on GigaOm. Since there were restrictions on the number of words, etc. I could not include everything that I wanted to say. I am posting a longer version of the blog here. Hope to see many of you in TiEcon next week at Santa Clara Convention Center.

If you were at the Santa Clara Convention Center for TiEcon2011 on May 13th and 14th, 2011, you could not have missed a familiar figure in the registration area for almost the entire duration - talking incessantly to a panoply of people. When I asked Rohit Chandra about his motives, he said, "I registered for the conference to meet people, pitch my idea, find talent, hear other ideas, identify interesting start ups, pick up on the state of the art, etc. I may not get 30 minutes here for a full pitch with Investors. If I can pique their interest to garner a follow up meeting, it was worth it." When I asked him if it was working, he pointed me to a pile of business cards that he had collected.

While Rohit’s case may be an super-charged example of networking at a conference, it goes to show the immense value of meeting a diverse group of people at a single location. TiEcon provides for both structured and unstructured means to connect with leaders who would, otherwise, be unavailable or inaccessible. MentorConnect provides all TiEcon attendees
 provides an opportunity to meet with an industry stalwart in a scheduled session during lunch. Attendees looking to validate their idea, or want to know how to move their ventures forward can avail this program and meet with folks who have been there and done thatInvestorConnect provides access to VCs and Angels on a 1:1 basis to get feedback on your business plan. This program is available to anyone that registers for a TiE Expo booth. This is an unparalleled opportunity to present your business plan to get feedback and/or seek investments. Finally, TiEcon is also offering AttendeeConnect this year to allow for AdHoc interactions at the conference.

Unlike other conferences that cost in excess of $1500, TiEcon costs less than $500. We are able to keep TiEcon prices affordable since it is run entirely by volunteers (yours truly being one of them) in a not-for-profit organization. While the focus of this posting is Networking at TiEcon, there are other benefits to attending this year's conference on May 18th and 19th at Santa Clara Convention Center - outlined in this blog post by Jai Rawat, Convenor, TiEcon 2012. Register now to avoid missing out! You can use the discount code "TIEFOV" to get $75 off the conference price.

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