Be forewarned: this is a rant.
I went to a networking event this morning for people who are interested in startups. The event was fine. There were things I liked and things I didn’t. The organizers of the meeting took plenty of opportunity to proselytize us to their networking group. I believe a good networking group will proselytize itself, but that’s another post for another day. I did meet some interesting people and got to practice the 7:30am version of my 30-second pitch, which apparently requires caffeine to deliver properly.
With that in mind, here’s my number one critique of the event: the coffee was bullshit.
Coffee isn’t coffee when it’s bullshit, and these days there’s no excuse. At a time when Starbucks is nearly ubiquitous and even McDonalds is getting it’s act together with some quality beans and brews, you cannot get away with serving watered down trash to 25 professionals at an event of any kind.
Dumping 10 gallons of hot water through a strainer full of Folger’s dehydrated tobacco and dirt does not constitute coffee. It constitutes a room full of disappointment. This is not the sort of tone you want to set for a meeting meant to inspire and connect ambitious professionals. I left my usual travel mug full of home brewed delight on the kitchen counter this morning because — how nice — there would be coffee provided at the event.
Now, I’m not so easily deterred as to let this little hiccup ruin the whole morning for me. I made due and enjoyed myself despite. There’s just one very simple lesson about event planning, expectation setting, and marketing in general here…
It’s better to promise nothing than to promise coffee and deliver bullshit.