Frustrated by neverending calendar bingo? Maybe this will help break the bottleneck. And build community.

As much as I love Portland, there are still any number of things — or lack thereof — that can cause a ton of frustration. Like the lack of infrastructure for getting connected to the startup community. Time and time again, I hear from folks how difficult it is to get connected. Because while Portland tends to be a very one-on-one meeting sort of town, it’s not obvious where to start.

I feel super lucky to be the recipient of any number of these inbound meeting requests. At the same time, I feel super guilty to be the bottleneck that’s preventing any number of folks from getting connected to our amazing community.

Which got me to thinking…

What if once a month, one of us agreed to block a couple of hours for a series of 10 minute meetings with folks who have been trying to get on your calendar?

I know, crazy right? No wait. There’s more. What if this block of meetings occurred at a coffee shop or maybe even a bar?

Still with me? Because here’s where it gets wacky.

What if we all showed up at that same place those meetings were happening? Because we were invited. Not because it was random or something. And we invited other community members to hang out there too, like a happy hour. Then we ask the folks having meetings to do their homework to make the meeting efficient, to show up early for their meeting time, and to stay late so they get to meet more people — and get connected more quickly. It might even be that in the middle of one of our 10 min meetings, we could just point at someone in the crowd and be like “That’s the person you need to talk to, right there.”

In my head, I’ve been calling the “Bottleneck.” Because that’s what I am. And that’s what I’m trying to solve for. And I thought it might be a solution that could work for you. And our community. And I’m down to beta test it as the meeting-haver if a few of you are willing to join me as the happy hour-ers.

Sound interesting? Well, I’d love for you to show up to hang out. And if you’re someone who has been playing a crappy game of calendar bingo with me, I’d love to have you sign up for a meeting time.

I’m going to test the first iteration of this concept on November 5, 2018, starting at 4:00PM. I’ll be hanging out and meeting with folks at Tilt Eastside at the base of the Yard on NE 2nd Avenue.

So if you’ve been trying to meet up, please grab a time. And if you want to help folks connect to the community, please just show up.

Even better, if you want to block a series of similar meetings during this same window at the same venue, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to promote your meeting availability, as well.

Curious and excited to see where this goes.