Life after Startup – My first Superconnectors dinner

I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous.

After an initial experiment in my founder club, our first official Superconnectors dinner is about to kick off tonight. 

In 1 hour, 20 guests will join us in Rotterdam to listen to 3 founders tell their stories and will give them their very best connections to help them overcome a critical challenge (also called “critical ask”).

In the next 3 months we will organise 9 more dinners like this one, however with many variables we can improve or experiment with:

  • Do I invite more experienced founders or ecosystem builders?
  • Do I make the dinners more fancy or more casual?
  • Always in a co-working space or in a restaurant?

That is what I love about the initial stages of a product, everything is still up for discussion and can only be proven in practice. 

So how do I get the best out of the early stages of product development?

Maximum learning

Every time I start a new project this is a question that goes through my mind: how can I learn as much as possible about a new service or product, with as little risk as possible, in a real life setting.

Next year we have 10 events to organize across the Netherlands with some of the best connected people in the country and with the most genuinely interested partners.

The goal is to give the most value possible to founders, so they can grow and strengthen the Dutch ecosystem.

Obviously I could use the next months to put together a perfect event format and concept on paper and make my way to next year in 1 big marketing push. 

Instead I opted to simulate pretty much all of next years events into a smaller setting.Each dinner has a slightly different group of guests, startups at different stages, a different location or partner involved.

At the end of each dinner we also ask everyone to fill in a survey for how they would like to see things work next year, and who else they believe should be involved.

Good on paper is not equal to good in reality

By the time I am posting this article the event is over and it’s 1 AM. I am still going over every detail of the event.

I am very happy we started in our hometown Rotterdam, with some of the founding members of the Superconnectors event.

On paper we had envisioned activities that we would roll out during the dinner. Some worked well, and some needed more work.

For instance really zooming into the Critical ask of the founder out loud with the group. The idea was to really make sure we were asking the right question before the superconnectors started suggesting connections. 

This didn’t work as we expected. And the people that were present were open on sharing this. Immediately we removed it from the next round for the next founder pitch and we moved on.

My point is that when setting up a new idea, just because it sounds logical on paper, doesn’t mean it will work in reality.

Having the people around you that are directly honest in sharing this, is invaluable. Also having the prospect of 9 more iterations is very encouraging, because now I know exactly what to improve.

Do I wish I would have known this before? Of course, however then it wouldn’t be called entrepreneurship, but common knowledge.

Can’t wait for the next edition of Superconnectors in Eindhoven, let’s go!

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