Quality of Tech Networking in Austin - poor?
Quality of Networking in Austin.
Austin seems to have a lot of networking events catered towards technology. I've been to several of them over time. I wanted to share my observations and I would really like to get some input feedback or just get some discussion going.
At a door64 networking event or the Austin High Tech Happy hour I tend to meet three types of people (in many cases the same people over and over):
1) People out of a job, mostly middle aged people laid off from one of the big name tech companies in Austin or people(much smaller %)passively looking to jump ship .
2) People looking to peddle something, promote something, sometimes completely unrelated to tech
3) IT Recruiters
So far I have yet to meet:
1) A single hiring manger, director or VP of companies like Dell, FSL, AMD, Samsung, LSI, SiLabs, 3M and the likes...at these events.
2) A single tech investor or angel investor or a venture capitalist
Austin does seem to be attracting a lot of SW and IT related jobs. Instead of Austin attracting major growth in high tech areas like semiconductor R&D or even product centric systems design companies, Austin seems to be the hotbed for IT and Software "as a service" start-ups. It would be nice to see more non-service, ad-revenue independent, product centric companies and start-ups here. For example medical products companies developing the next generation ultra potable diagnosis machines, or R&D for solar technology, battery technology, biotechnology, low cost materials R&D, next generation technology for automotive and other transportation applications. Etc.
I question the value of networking in these events, other than good socializing. Even the sponsors at these events seem to be lukewarm in their approach. They might place one or two people and that's still worth it for them, because recruiter fees can be a bundle, but sometimes they are not even present. I don't think I met a single person from Samsung at their sponsored event.
The issue here isn't the expectation of instant gratification. It's more that 'REAL' networking continues to happen in small groups of like minded people in their own private circles. These events are not targeted enough to actually produce meaningful networking experiences or even help you crack the surface of the movers and shakers of the Tech community in Austin.