SXSW was sic.
Got a little refresher course in networking. And here is my take-away:
Dont talk about business, or ask “So what do you do?”.
It seems like a natural question.. you are at a business conference with lots of others from out-of-town. So asking what someone does or where they are from seems logical..
All I can say is some of the best interactions I had with folks had nothing to do with business. Example: I met someone in the VIP area of a party I was at and we spent the better part of 10 minutes having a great and engaging conversation about Magic and Bird (for you kids.. best NBA sports rivalry of all time). Never caught his name… because at a pause in the conversation I asked what he did.. he deflected with a nonsensical answer and bailed. Oops.. Not going to namedrop but later I find out he was bigtime.
Also I spent the better part of 20 minutes talking with a prominent VC about our shared passion of road racing our cars… He mentioned we should connect later and I went into business mode talking about investment for our business, he went cross-eyed on me and said “Who cares about business, I was talking about cars.. We should go out to the track together sometime”.
Lesson Learned.. I should have known better. I have been an entrepreneur selling my services, and now my product (pagely) for the better part of 8 years and in that time have learned that personal relationships come first, before the business. Seems I just forget that point twice over the weekend.