It’s been great watching the cultural transition of the Boston startup community. I remember a couple of years ago how every event in Boston seemed to be stogy, formal, and focused on old school networking. Name tags were a must, and socializing was kept to conversations about work.
After heading out to SF and witnessing the TechCrunch Disrupt party, where MC Hammer headlined, I felt that DartBoston had an opportunity to help set a new tone in Boston with the goal of creating a better social environment for the tech scene. Thanks to the support of many incredible people including, Katie Rae at TechStars, Dave Cappillo at Goodwin Proctor, Karl Buttner at MassChallenge, Gus Weber at Polaris Ventures, and Abby Fichtner at Microsoft we were able to piggy back off of Boston’s TechStars demo day and throw a party with Coolio headlining and the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup on the 9ft screen behind the performers. If you missed the evening check out this awesome video by Apolis Media.
Dart has been one of many organizations pushing to set this new tone but there are many others who are contributing. For example, one of the stars of Boston’s angel community, Jennifer Lum, has pulled together big wigs and new members of the Boston startup scene for her Boston Boogie events at Saint. Each Boston Boogie event has helped create tons of valuable connections within the startup scene and Jennifer continues to be a huge influence on creating a more connected community.
Alex and Andy Cook from Rentabilities along with Howard Davidson put together the 1,000Pirates event where hundreds of people from the tech and digital communities boarded a ship to sail around Boston Harbor while Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor DJ’d. The event was a huge success as tons of people were able to meet one another in a casual, fun, social environment.
Which brings me to Dave Balter’s Tech Prom and how hosts Sarah Hodges, Dave Balter, Mike Troiano, and Jennifer Lum aren’t just creating an excuse to party. If you break down each event you’ll be able to see they are not about people drinking but about creating an event that offers its attendees a unique and memorable experience.
Experiential events have the ability to bring a community together better than any panel discussion or lecture. Yes, people are able to take a mental break from work, unwind and be themselves but I’d argue the real beauty takes place the days and weeks after the event ends. If you think about it, the day after the event, the 25-1,000 attendees can now relate to one another based on a shared experience rather than the usual, ‘Where do you work?’ or ‘What do you do?’ conversations that typically occur.
To all of you out there looking to engineer an event with the intention of bringing the community closer together, ask yourself, ‘What experience are you creating for your attendees?’. If you want to experience this type of event yourself, I’d encourage you to come out to one of the many ‘social’ events going on around town, especially DBTechProm!
Hi, my name is Cort and I live in Boston, working in the startup scene. I'm a co-founder of DartBoston and Terrible Labs. I am all about getting out into the community to meet other passionate entrepreneurs and see what people are working on.