In December, I set up this personal challenge to meet someone new for virtual coffee every weekday morning. Within 48 hours of putting up my calendar link, I was booked until June – here’s the summary of my first month of virtual networking.
Going in, I had no idea what to expect; the calendar invites came in so fast, I couldn’t read them all! What I did know was the places where I’d shared the original article, and how those might skew the conversations booked to be of similar theme. I’d posted the article on my personal social media properties (which bear a collective ~20,000 followers), and shared it in a few key places, the largest of which is a 27,000-member Facebook group for women in tech. Naturally, a vast majority of my conversations are with technologists and developers, and the majority of them have been women.
Down below: key themes, interesting snippets, and how it’s changed my lifestyle
. . .
January by the numbers
23 total meetings booked
48% actually completed (many were noshows, and some cancelled in advance – it seems 8:30am Eastern is not palatable to everyone)
4 dialled in from the West Coast, which meant they woke up to meet me at 5:30am (much love)
At the outset of this, I knew this would be an interesting opportunity to run some data analysis on the key themes that my (growing) network cares about. This is both a reflection of where I’ve placed myself in industry, and the trends that are top of mind for this community.
The emphasis on startup and gender themes do not surprise me at all. Being the female CTO of a startup focused on diversity and inclusion, this is my bread and butter. What did surprise me was the volume of people who wanted to talk about ethics and nonprofits. I also had a few conversations about remote work, from both an employee and a manager perspective, and learned a lot about the next trends of virtual reality.
One Extrovirt met me from Venezuela, but his internet connection wasn’t strong enough for voice or video. In lieu, we met virtually over Twitter direct messages, and had a great conversation about how musical and coding skills go hand-in-hand.
A few people shared their job searches, and I was happy to make connections to people who were recruiting in my network. Similarly, Wonder the play was looking for a science advisor, and were able to connect to some of the women in STEM in this network.
One Extrovirt asked me for career advice, and ended up mentoring me on best practices for remote startup team management. Since our team at Crescendo recently became distributed, my co-founders and I are now managing people in multiple cities, and this advice came at exactly the right time.
How it’s changed my lifestyle
One of the motivations for me starting this initiative was to give myself a reason to be up and looking alive by 8:30am. I have a very flexible body clock, meaning I can be a morning person or a night owl interchangeably, depending on the day’s needs. But during Techstars I noticed that my days were significantly better when they started early, so I made the majority of these call slots at 8:30am. Now with Extrovirtual, I start every day by learning new things and talking about interesting challenges facing our world. I’m grateful to everyone who has participated so far, and excited about all the virtual coffees to come!