The Event Formula

The world is filled with conferences, open houses, receptions, galas, industry nights, summits—in short, networking events. With a finite amount of time, money and energy how do you know which to attend? How do you decide? Which one will pay off? Which event will enable you to meet that one person who is going to give you your break, your first round of funding, or the job you want? Is it the prestigious conference on the West Coast that is going to cost you five thousand dollars or will it be a free local arts event? It is actually hard to tell and the truth is we cannot know. But there is a way to decide. Culled from years of experience attending events and interviews with venture capitalists (of all things), here are the top three points that can help you invest in yourself and take risks like a pro.

1. Don’t just make one bet

There just may be that one event where all the people you need to meet are attending, that has incredible access, and that you have heard great things about: however, if it demands that you spend all your resources for the year on one event, don’t do it. The key to meeting the right people is about going to as many events as possible, not going to the one perfect event. It’s a numbers game and by betting once decreases your chances of winning drop significantly.

2. Expect to fail

When a venture capitalists invest in ten companies, they expect to lose their money on half of their investments, to break even on two, to make a modest sum on one or two and, hopefully, to have runaway successes on the others. Apply this principal to all the events you attend. By doing so, you will expect less from each event, be more relaxed, build real relationships, and eventually find that one win you need.

3. Pay More and Play Less

If you are going to events every night and still not meeting the people you need, then it is time to pay a little more (be it in energy, time, or money) and play a little less. A good way of thinking about this concept is by adding up all the money and time you are prepared to commit and divide it between six or eight events. Aim to spend all your resources that year across only those events. Paying a little more for one or a little less for another enables you, no matter how you divide it up, to find that elusive balance.

So how do you do it? What are your secrets and how do you decide where to go with a limited amount money, time and energy to invest? I am eager to hear and learn.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

Keep Reading Show less