Just went to the last TECH cocktail in Chicago. I’ve been to a couple before and although I have a good time and meet great people, my time there is not optimized. It’s insanely crowded nowadays. It’s become the “it” party for IT – no pun intended. I feel like I’m getting less and less out of it each time I go. I’m guessing it won’t be for long before I stop showing up all together and pick other events that are more conducive to meeting people and networking with the kind of people I want to meet.

Here’s 5 easy ways:

  • Kill the music. This isn’t a club. Well it is, but it’s not a club setting. If I wanted to scream over someone while trying to have an intelligent conversation w/ them I’d go to a club on a Saturday night. I don’t need it here.
  • End the free booze. I understand sponsors pay money and they want it spent, but what’s wrong with using it for other purposes – like making money. Here’s why I don’t like the free booze. It invites the unwanted element. I don’t mind paying for my drink. More than once I’ve met people there with no real interest in TECH cocktail – they don’t belong there – they are just there for the free booze. This also solves another issue.
  • Set a reasonable max capacity and stick to it. It’s so overcrowded now I feel like I’m in Mardi Gras. Use the eventbrite registration for what it’s for. If you “sell out” those who haven’t registered should not be let in. Squeezing and pushing my way through a sea of people is not a great experience. I’m too old for it. If you kill the free booze, I suspect attendance might drop anyways so this issue might be moot.
  • Spot light the demos. A big part of the reason why I go to TECH cocktail is to see the local startups and their demos. I would like to give these startups centerstage and have them do a show and tell at set times over a large projector w/ a microphone. This way we don’t have to be screaming at each other while they try to explain to me their exciting idea.
  • Give me a way to quickly identify the types of people. I believe people go to these events with a specific goal whether it’s to meet local entrepreneurs, recruit, or find jobs. I never really know who I am talking to and/or if I am wasting my time. What I’d really like is a color coded badge so I can identify myself as entrepreneur, recruiter, job hunter, vc, etc.