I have been a speaker at startup, technology and investment events, I also have judged startup competitions.
You realise you have provided good insights, contribution or projected value at these events, when after you step off the stage, you have a flock of people who charge towards you, armed with their business cards, passionately explaining who they are and what they do. I am a very active networker, so understanding how important it is for entrepreneurs to connect with they feel are the people who could give advice, open doors or make a difference (and having been in their shoes myself) I always invest time after these events, to exchange business cards and hear them out. I'm always willing to help entrepreneurs and our eco-system grow and take value from speaking to them equally as much.
I actually believe that one of the absolute motivators for people spending £100's on tickets to startup/technology events, summits and expos is purely for the networking opportunities that they could potentially present.
The problem is, even with a willing speaker who is giving his time its not always possible or practical for everyone to get an opportunity to speak one to one or even exchange business cards. Which is especially the case for those who are globally recognised. So what alternatives are there to get in contact with people? How about you pay for it?
Today, the technology and investment legend that is "Ben Horowitz" tweeted he had created a profile at the chttps://21.co/bhorowitz/ in which he is giving people an opportunity to contact him for $5, now many would say "wow, I can't believe someone has the balls to charge $5 simply to contact them" however this is not for financial gain, nor in the slightest bit egotistical, all money raised will go to Black Girls Code which is an amazing organisation. Their vision is to increase the number of women of colour in the Digital Space by empowering girls of color aged between 7 and 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. Their ultimate goal is to train 1 million girls by 2040.
I am sure Ben's email inbox is an absolute party (given his high profile, through his work, Book and investment fund) which even with the aid of a PA, is no doubt a neverending task to stay on top of, so hats off to Ben for helping raise funds for an amazing organisation. Although I have no doubt many of the people who would pay £100's for a ticket at an event to see him speak, will see $5 as a steal, so he may well have to raise his price further benefiting Black Girls Code :)
So, for those of you who would like to reach out to Ben, for the price of a Large cup of coffee, you can do just that and more importantly help raise funds for Black Girls Code. #NoBrainer
As the father of two little girls of colour and also being a huge supporter of equality for all, I love what Black Girls Code are doing. I have worked in startups for a decade and black people are hugely underrepresented, especially black women, so it's a really positive initiative that I support and one which that I believe is also needed here in the UK.
Ps... if you are a startup founder and haven't read Bens book "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" shame on you.... its a must read and a book which covers pretty much every challenge that you would face, so buy it now https://goo.gl/6ctwju