If there’s one thing I’m short of right now it’s time. So taking stock of things over the last few weeks and I decided that Open Coffee Coleraine is one of those things that should be left off my to do list.Now if anyone wants to take it over, please feel free and go ahead. There’s a Twitter feed and a little Facebook group that you can have as well. Organising these events isn’t difficult, just phone up a coffee shop, set a date and then publicise.It didn’t do me any harm…… I got noticed, got a startup, got employed. So it does work.You could say that me not having enough time is a success story.
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I think it’s fair to say, in reflection, that 2009 was basically spent trying to find my centre of gravity. Towards November I was starting to sound like a bit of a personal pity party so something had to change. Thanks to my network, finding out the technology landscape and talking to good people I could put myself in the right place at the right time.There were a few things that happened that did help it along.Open Coffee and other network meetings do workYou can’t beat face to face networking. There was a time when I didn’t have to do this, the work was streaming in during the boom times. Skills are plentiful and it’s a case of being able to sell yourself. From Open Coffee I’ve managed to show my face once at XCake as well. On the online side I keep up with Digital Circle and the usual stream of info on Twitter.SpeakingI don’t think it does anyone any harm to publicly speak once in a while. I loved doing Barcamp Derry last October. Prospective customers, investors, employers and collaborators can instantly see what you are like and what drives you. From the Barcamp experience I would really like to do some more speaking in 2010.You’re friendsConsidering that I moved to Northern Ireland in 2004 it’s taken a good five years to find my networking feet. There’s a couple of factors in that, partially to do with the existence of technology like Twitter. I always had a LinkedIn account but I did my searches by sector, not location.Through the likes of Open Coffee I’ve met some great people. Even better that most have them have become good friends and are on speed dial if I really need them. The help, advice and provision that these people are willing to give is also available to you, all you have to do is to make yourself available and willing to show your face.WriteI have an “articles” section on this site. These aren’t articles that I just wrote for the fun of it, they are important networking tools to prove your knowledge. The likes of Java Developer’s Journal, IBM developerWorks and the Belfast Telegraph have given me the opening to write articles on a wide range of technology subjects over the last nine years.So, to summarise, with this mix of activities I’m just starting to shape and form what 2010 is going to look like, I’m really excited for 2010. There’s some big things to happen.
What: Open Coffee Coleraine, informal business, tech, startup and creative business networking but without the pressure and the name badges.Where: Starbucks, Kingsgate, Coleraine. When: Wednesday 19th August from 7pm to 9pm. Cost: Nothing but you’ll have to pay for your own coffee/tea.
I’ve finally got the first of my Open Coffee Coleraine meetings sorted out. It will be held at Starbucks, Coleraine on Wednesday 22nd July 2009.The Open Coffee meetings are informal get togethers for businesses, startups and creatives to network, have a coffee and even perhaps generate some new ideas. Starbucks have kindly offered us their cafe after hours, the event will run from 7pm – 9pm, plus free filter coffee and tea if you are prepared to give a donation to their chosen charity (if you want a quad shot skinny latte then you’ll have to pay 🙂 ). Last bonus is that from 1st July if you are a Starbucks card holder then you get Wifi for free. The blog is at http://www.opencoffeecoleraine.com and there’s also a Twitter page as well.