Open bar, lost focus

Rushing from a late landing to the other side of London (that is when one realises how big the city is, and why the average commute sucks up to five weeks a year in transit), I was honoured to get invited to the launch of a new sport e-company. Being relatively new to the area, I am engaging into various networking paths, scheduled or not, formal or not, and my recent meetings are opening my eyes to the endless possibilities around (and they are not limited to this city or this country).

When I arrived to the venue, model-like girls were chatting away with two bouncers behind some red-velvet stanchions, leaving me out of their world. The venue being a private club, you had to announce your identity and the purpose of your visit to be let in, which is what I did. Largely influenced by some security-related exercises around the Olympics, I was surprised nobody checked that my name was on the guest list. In fact, the cloak room attendant was not there when I walked in, and the guest list was likely missing as well.

The place was dark, and I went down the stairs, guided by some blue neon lighting towards some high beat music, wondering if I had actually found the right place: I had. After his speech, the party host disappeared, or maybe it was just too dark to spot him. The videos projected on a free standing screen were drawing attention of people walking out to what seemed to be the dance floor. Most of the attendance was glued to the bar: drinks were free. Very free to some, with that turn-off taste to a few. Some young women were snapping some photographs between young gents in suits on one hand, and in khaki pants and trendy t-shirts on the other. Had I not received a memo?

As groups of two or three had formed and nobody had come to introduce him/herself, I went and broke that rule with engaging a conversation with a broadcaster, then a Canadian teacher. I asked what their link to either this party or the host was, and received blurry answers from both. I then went to find the host who shared the concept of his e-company, shouting anything he could. The problem was that the little (glossy paper) support he had had typos (I should have trusted my scanning instinct when receiving the invitation), and the music was simply too loud to have a basic conversation.

The event was worth it, I think, since it just reminded me of what not to do, from a marketing, relationship and business point of view. Being generous with your guests certainly goes a long way, I am just unsure about what detail(s) other ones will remember, beyond the free alcohol. Human interaction is critical when one launches a new concept and needs some support, whether it be financial or not. Not looking to meet your guests simply puts you on their black list: there is always a choice.