The second story is submitted by Terence Lem, the Founder of Products into Retail SoCal Meetup. Enjoy!
With mobile technology including text messaging, social media, online content and video and the trend towards telecommuting – a person can literally work and go about their daily life for days or weeks without ever making real human contact. I personally believe this is one of the adverse byproducts and unmeasured destructive outcomes of technology. People lose their interpersonal skills, opportunities to interact with others, and we may see future generations growing up with little or no contact with the outside world.
Meetup groups like Santa Monica New Tech help to restore that lost element of human contact by drawing people together through a common purpose and interest. This is valuable for entrepreneurs or startups who probably skew higher than average as a group. To maintain a healthy work-life balance I think meetups play an increasingly important role for people in the workforce, and who work solo or for a small company – where personal interaction is low or limited.
I think I’ve witnessed Santa Monica New Tech accomplish these things in the 18+ months that I have been involved with this group. I’ve met programmers who work remotely and never speak to a real person during their day job. I meet hard working entrepreneurs who attend SMNT events to escape a lonely day at work. I meet people who are happy and fully employed who attend SMNT regularly as a way to help build their dream idea or be inspired or motivated by others. Some don’t have coworkers to share things affecting their personal life or job but they meet friendly people who are like minded they can bind with.
And I’ve met a vast number of people who are new to Los Angeles and want to make new friends and tap into the knowledge and resources SMNT provides for them. They are able to quickly get grounded in a new city like Los Angeles. People need personal interaction with others to stay strong, stay connected in the real world. The shared linkage is the energy and sense of hope and encouragement that people experience by going to SMNT meetup events. Seeing what their entrepreneur peers are doing and making new friends. So while there are business objectives that are fulfilled, I think there are personal needs that are met at the same time.
Although I am not creating or selling my own tech solution, I think attending the events regularly has helped me create clarity and focus for my own ideas. Observing the results and outcomes of this meetup group inspired me to form my own meetup group for product entrepreneurs. Since consumer products is my domain expertise I decided to launch a meetup group for product entrepreneurs to help inspire them in similar ways. I launched my own meetup Jan 02 and it is called Products Into Retail.