Gangster Profit

Business and Marketing Web Radio Show featuring Robert MacDonald and Kevin Bombino

Episode 034: Meetups

Filed Under: Business, Length: 10:51
The guys tell you how to make the most of in-person meetup groups and how to avoid wasting your time.


R: Wazzaup?

K: What’s up?

R: What’s going on?

Hey, this is Bobby from

K: This is Kevin from

R: And we are here to talk about meet-ups. Like, say, you went on and you realize there’s a bunch of people in your hometown who also do internet marketing. And you want to meet them and see if they’re any good, see if they’ve got some stuff that --

K: Potential JV partners.

R: Yeah, exactly. Maybe if you have a product, people to buy your product from you. Or if you’re just looking to learn the basics, is it a good way to kind of get introduced to people who know what they’re doing and influence yourself with them and their success.

K: Yeah. I would say that we’ve gotten a lot of value from meet-ups and we’ve also gotten a lot of time wasted at meet-ups.

R: Yeah. We’ve been to a bunch of different meet-ups in a bunch of different cities. And it seems like certain ones are a lot better than others. I think that what we found the most is that meet-ups that are more based around having one speaker who goes there and presents on a topic, we tend to not like as much.

And I don’t know if that’s maybe because of this point. We’re more like high level and we usually know most of the stuff that they’re talking about, or if that’s because that format in general is just not as good as more of a round table discussion where you can present your own questions and get feedback and get a little more individual attention.

K: Yeah. I think what will happen.

*audio jumps*

Like they’re speaking about something that either, a) you already know, or b) something that is unrelated to that which you care about. Or c) it’s just something

*audio jumps*

R: About stuff. I can’t tell you how many meet-ups I’ve seen promoted on about Twitter and how to get your business represented on Twitter. Some stupid crap about social media, whatever. I would never attend something like that because I feel that it would just be a complete waste of my time. But, I don’t know.

K: Yeah. We tend to have a preference for meet-ups that are more of a round table format. Either...we like it where there’s actually...people are quiet...we prefer an organized discussion. We definitely really don’t like networking nights.

R: Yeah, that’s terrible. When everybody’s walking around like, “Hey, so what do you do? Let’s share business cards.” I just find that you hardly ever get a quality relationship out of that because nobody knows who’s bullshiting and who’s a legitimate knowledgeable person.

K: Exactly. When you have a round table discussion where it’s more of a Q&A and someone presents their problem and 10 people try them in, it’s really easy to see that 4 of the people actually had answers that make sense and 6 people are just babbling stuff that was just week.

R: Exactly. Yeah. It’s really a better test of everyone’s medal and it’s also...when somebody stands up in front of the crowd, they’re assumed to be the expert. But a lot of the time these crowds will have more than one person there who could be standing up front speaking. And I find that I get the most learning out of when people can just raise their hand and talk for at length if they pretend to be an expert on a particular topic. Because the topics shift pretty quickly at these meet-ups too. So, one person might be more of an expert on using e-lance. Another person might be more of an expert on link building, whatever. And when things are jumping back and forth, it’s good to be able to get input from everybody.

Also, I think it’s a much better way to introduce yourself to people by actually having kind of an elevated interesting conversation where you can present your ideas and expertise and they could present theirs. Rather than just shaking hands, exchanging business cards and being like, “Oh, you do social media? I do SEO. Cool.” And you have no clue whether they legitimately do it, whether they’re really smart and know their stuff or not.

So, that’s why I like round table discussions because you tend meet a lot more people that way just by kind of talking to them through the group, and then it really facilitates an easy way to go up to them one on one after the discussion is over and say, “Hey, I like what you had to say on that. You seem to really know your stuff. Let me grab your card or something and then maybe I’ll shoot you an e-mail because I have a specific question or whatever about this specific thing. Or maybe you might want to work with me on this idea that I have.”

So, yeah, I just think it’s more interactive.

K: Yeah. So I have a couple things to say about that. Number 1, I hate when people are like, “Do you have a card?” And they just want my card because they just want my card or they just want my friendship. They think that we’re going to hang out or perhaps work at Starbucks together. And that’s not how it goes.

R: It’s like going to a bar and just asking for somebody’s number without speaking to them. Just being like, “Hey, you’re hot. Can I have your number?” It’s like, whoa. Probably, no, but even if I do give it to you, I’m not going to respond to your calls because I don’t even know who you are.

K: Yeah. On the flipside, if I was talking about one of my products and I’m looking for joint venture partners, and someone comes up to me and says, “Oh, I have a list that would be perfect, I would love to mail your offer.” I’d be like, sweet! Here’s my e-mail address.

R: Yeah. Exactly.

K: So, you got to be giving value rather than taking value, right?

R: Yeah. Absolutely.

And it’s, yeah, it’s tough. So, if you find yourself going to a meet-up where you’re not don’t think that you’ve gotten a ton out of it, go to other meet-ups. And do your due diligence before you even go to these things because there’s a lot of sheep out there who will just attend any kind of a meet-up, whether or not they’re actually getting real value out of it. They just like to feel like they’re doing something to further themselves by going to the meet-up. But then they go home and they don’t work on anything until they go to the next meet-up and then they talk about how they didn’t do anything for the last 2 weeks.

So, don’t waste your time by going to every meet-up. Try to find the more advanced ones and try to find the ones that are interactive where you actually get a chance to kind of speak your mind but also hear other people talking to each other.

K: Here’s the basic people that we follow. We’ll give any meet-up a try once. If it sucks, we will pretty much not go back. And if it’s good, we’ll go back. And then, if it’s good for a while and then starts sucking, like if it sucks for 2 consecutive meet-ups, then we’ll stop going and then we’ll maybe go again in maybe 5 months and see if it’s back.

R: Yeah. We’ve also found that, we kind of collect good people by going to these meet-ups. So, at a certain point, we’d like to bring these people that we’ve met, that are a higher level, more intelligent marketers. We like to try and bring them together, if we can, and then at that point, arrange our own meet-up. But we find that it’s better to do that in a more private area and not necessarily allow everyone to go because then the signal-noise ratio kind of drops as the more random show up.

So, it’s more important to be somewhat selective in the people that you allow into your life and the people that you listen to for business ideas.

K: Yeah. That’s very important. I think most, I mean, I would say, at least 80%, maybe more like 90% of the people that run these public meet-ups are not the people you should be taking advice from as far as business goes.

R: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people are very excited about organizing meet-ups, but they aren’t necessarily the most intelligent or successful person who is attending the meet-up. And it’s nothing bad to say about them. I mean, it’s very good that they’re going out there and organizing a meet-up and stuff like that and that’s a great thing to do. Especially for them because it’s good for them to get contacts and get different things like that. But, you kind of have to pick and choose who you think really knows their stuff.

K: Yeah. And the other thing that I was meaning to say that you especially want to avoid. This was a particular problem in New York City, and I’m sure it’s bad in San Francisco as well, are these like snake-like “investors” that will show up at these meet-ups, that don’t want to do any work themselves, but they have a wonderful opportunity and they’re looking for a 50-50 partner where they’re going to give you half the revenue of a company that doesn’t yet exist or something like that. These people deserve to just be slapped in the face with no remorse.

R: Yeah. There’s a lot of interesting types that will show up to these things that you need to avoid. Anybody who it seems like they’re showing up with a sales pitch in mind, more than they are looking to actually learn things at these meet-ups or just kind of like share tips and add value, you want to avoid them a hundred percent.

I mean, there’s people who will go there who will try to sell you office space. There’s people who will try to get you involved in some multi-level marketing scheme that they say, “Oh, I can help you do this.” And it’s like, why do you care? Oh, because you’re making money off me.

It’s like just please avoid those people at all costs. I generally only take advice from people who I feel like for the most part are not trying to sell me anything. Or who I’ve already sufficiently impressed to the point where I think that they probably feel that they’re getting as much out of the relationship as I am without having to exchange money necessarily, unless it really makes sense for both of us.

So, it takes an eye. The more meet-ups that you go to, the more different kinds of people you meet that are interesting. But, get out there though.

K: Yeah. Go to these things because you’re going to meet people that will help you.

R: Yeah. Overall, we’ve found that meet-ups are really awesome and it definitely helped us meet some people and brought us to new levels in terms of our business relationships. So, I don’t discourage going to them, but I do discourage blindly attending every one. And I do discourage listening to everyone’s advice equally.