I'm not going to be able to make either today or next week's OpenCoffee Club, which is a great shame. I've got in to the habit of trying to arrange London meetings on a Thursday, so I can drop in and meet new people. Last week I was there with my business partner David Wynn, the other D in D Squared C. We met the usual, eclectic bunch which sparked some new ideas for us, and made some interesting connections.
I chatted with Giles Morgan of Nimrod Consultancy Services, who advises companies and brands on product and project risk. He was there with his friend and colleague Greg Vitarelli, an American PR guy who came to the UK on assignment, and is still here many years later. Tore Lande told me about GBOB, the global battle of the bands website that aims to find new, unsigned music talent and showcase them on the web. Of course Saul Klein was there, and I spoke to him about finance for one of my business partners, as well as getting advice on pitching to VCs from Matt Knopp of eastside consulting. Paul K was there talking about his SWAPZ.co.uk - a site were you can barter your unwanted goods for something more useful. Sandi Wassmer talked to me about Copious, the web design and marketing agency she has started. I keep seeing Fergus Burns visiting the same sites I do, so it was good to meet him in person and find out a little about his web-based RSS marketing solutions. I also had a great conversation with James Brady, from a new start up of ex-IBM guys called Cambridge Data, with a product called TagandFile - a tag and search based document management service that they are initially aiming at the legal profession. I could see some potential for using it in the accounting profession as well.
There is no doubting the value of these kinds of networking event. I was just speaking with Graham Salmon who attended the last Manchester event, and recognizes he has to stay in touch with what's going on so he can advise his clients. He was pleasantly surprised that although there was a lot of emphasis on new technology, it wasn't a geeky event and all of the talk was business oriented. As Dennis posted earlier, we need more accountants to get involved. Graham is one of the exceptions.
David Tebbutt is at today's session, so I hope to get a full report of how it went later on.
Update: Saul Klein just pointed out this interesting post on Read/Write Web by David Lenahan:
"Events like these should have an instant appeal to anyone in this business as a free and easy place to network and build community. Where will it go from here? Saul (OCC Founder) tells me that they are planning their first international OCC meeting next week in Amsterdam before the NextWeb conference. He also hopes that with the launch of their site on Ning.com, many more people who don't have a OCC nearby can start to network online."
I agree wholeheartedly with these conclusions.