I think it was almost five years ago that I started attending a Meetup that everyone was talking about. “What was this Boulder Denver New Tech meeting?”, I’ve got to check it out, I thought. When I arrived, it was JAMMED with people. Standing room only, but everyone was welcoming and friendly- immediately someone said, “this seat isn’t taken if you’re looking…” Nice.
The format, for those of you that aren’t familiar, is it’s an uber-networking event to begin with, perhaps a few beers and some munchables for an hour- and then everyone (400+ people, standing room only) sits and listens to announcements about what’s going on in the community, events, conferences, and then comes the heckling. At least back then, it was commonplace for folks to give their “honest feedback” after companies would give their technical presentation. Most of the time is was good clean fun, but there were plenty of WTF moments, but I got the feeling that those “challenges” posed by the audience resulted in some good pivots for the organizations being questioned
I was also afforded talks by local VC legends Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, who’s No Bullshit approach to business was critical to the formation of our philosophy of brutal honesty, at all turns. They also made sure that you (the audience) understood that a core tenant of their success was “giving before you take” and that really resonated with me. It’s part of the reason we donate a portion of our profits to charitable organizations and take an active role in the community on a daily basis. We took similarly important lessons around the triple-bottom-line model from Greg Berry and his Sustainable Ventures Meetup.
In general, the event seemed to be at the center of what has become a truly collaborative approach to community building here in Boulder. It has grown from 1000 members to more than 8000 members and a wait list a mile long to attend this lynchpin event in the Boulder community- at the beginning of every month. It’s also grown to include Denver’s tech community- the second Meetup of the month meets at Mapquest’s downtown offices and it continues to grow.
One thing I really like that BDNT has started doing is supporting the non-profit community. They bring together the great minds in town to help non-profits and charitable organizations to help them solve their technical conundrums. Now that’s good thinkin’.
BDNT has been a big part of our entrepreneurial education and the growth of our networks in Colorado and beyond. We likely would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for Robert Reich and his team who run the event. A sincere thanks to all of the folks mentioned above.
We can’t tell you how excited we are to be a part of this community and to give back by sponsoring BDNT for the coming months.
See you there!