By Hugh Quigley. Tech, People, Business, Social Entrepeneurship.

Have you time to attend yet another Start up Event?

Dublin is blessed these days with so many Start Up and Tech events happening each week sometimes if feels similar to a never ending look> If, perchance, you are looking for something a little different, consider signing up to a StartUp Grind event, powered by no less that Google for Entrepreneurs. The format of their Fireside chat events is that of a fireside chat (naturally with only an imagined fire), followed by an informal session where participants are encouraged to chat freely with each other subject to the condition of No Pitching.

The inspiration behind this worldwide successful format was in on a flying visit to Dublin recently and agreed to participate in a session with Dublin Chapter Director, David Scanlon.  According to Derek Anderson, the concept of StartUp Grind evolved from dissatisfaction, he and others experienced attending other Start Up events. The values that StartUp Grind aspires to are starkly stated:

# We believe in making friends, not contacts.
# We believe in giving, not taking.
# We believe in helping others before helping yourself.

Perhaps it is those values that are one of the drivers of the success of the “Grind” as David Scanlon refers to it: now the world’s largest such independent community. It has grown organically with the mission of helping to connect, encourage and provide inspiration to all participants. Speaking of the formation of StartUp Grind, Derek Anderson explains that back in 2010 at its beginning, he and other were tired of attending events that were more concerned with pitching than collaboration. He attributes the subsequent success to this desire for collaboration and sort of stumbled on the format of attracting successful entrepreneurs and founders to speak openly in the fireside chat setting.

Derek describes how at the time of the launch he was involved in some other projects and only
devoting part of his time to StartUp Grind while pursuing other projects. But the other ones seemed akin to “pushing a rock up a hill, whereas this was pushing the rock down the hill”. Tellingly he remarks that “great ideas go on their own; they don’t have to be perfect as long as they solve a pain.” One thing that is clear listening to Derek Anderson is that he speaks with searing honesty: he tells the truth of his own spectacular failures such as trying for months to launch a truck advert business and failing to make a single sale. Or about the nervousness before hosting a chat with luminaries as brilliantly bright as Marc Andreessen and Clayton Christensen – Marc speaking at his usual rapid fire pace while Clay slowly delivers each bon mot, only after careful thought and consideration.

When quizzed about how he prepared for such a challenge, Anderson self-deprecatingly riffs about not being as smart as Andreessen and Christensen and prepared by “rocking in the foetal position with fear”. Joking aside, Anderson takes work seriously, preparing comprehensively before such an interview. Clearly driven by the desire to succeed, he admits to living extremely modestly while bootstrapping StartUp Grind to success, even passing up on some opportunities that in hindsight would have become highly rewarding financially.
He gives great credence to personal and organisation values and describes how values can become a magnet to attract people like you to you or to your company. Actually that’s why many of StartUp Grind’s Chapter Directors signed up to promote the concept being able to align themselves with those values espoused publicly by the organisation.

One of the personal values that Anderson speaks about is spending time with his own family, having dinner with them whenever possible. He offers the following advice to all those starting out on the gruelling path that is starting up a business:

“Don’t abandon your relationships because when your start up fails, as it almost certainly
will, at least at the end of it you still have your friends and family to fall back on”

Such are the sort of sobering, insightful truths, spoken from the heart that epitomises The “Grind”. And so without trying to sound like an advertorial for StartUp Grind, perhaps it is worth taking time to out of your hectic start-up life to go along to one of their next events. In Dublin the events are hosted by the charming David Scanlon, while the Twitter master Pat Carroll organises events in Limerick.

(Jules Coleman of will appear on June 30th in Dublin and CPL’s founder and
Businesswoman of the Year, Ann Heraty will be in Limerick on June 23rd).

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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