In addition to lots of great business plans, we tend to get a lot of emails from people trying to break into the venture capital business or to work for a startup.
The best thing we can really tell anyone, and one thing I learned very quickly when I joined Union Square Ventures last February, is that it’s all about the community. The technology landscape changes too quickly for one person to keep up with every innovation. We are dependent upon the people we talk to everyday to keep us informed and to challenge our thinking. Similarly, it’s important to build a reputation not just as smart investors, but also as the kind of people you would enjoy working with.
Sometimes that means sharing our music interests through our personal blogs and other times, as we learned this past Monday night, it means having dodgeballs thrown at you in a high school gym.
On Monday, Brad, Fred and I, along with Fred's kids Josh and Jessica, all took part in nextNY's dodgeball tournament. (Check out our awesome new website!) nextNY is a social networking group for the up and coming members of the New York City tech community that I helped start. We played against web designers, entrepreneurs, analysts from other VC firms--all active and visible members of our local tech community. They're smart, ambitious, and as we saw Monday--a lot of fun. They are the kind of people we want to work with and also people we like to socialize with.
When entrepreneurs and technologists invest their whole lives into their passions, its only natural that the lines between professional and social engagement get a bit blurred. Its important to be willing to engage the technology community around us on both levels.
We had a great time and we even made it to the finals. So if you're looking to get more involved in New York City's local tech community, we highly encourage you to participate in groups like nextNY, the New York Tech Meetup and Mobile Mondays. If you know of other groups we should be a part of, please feel free to list them in the comments below