Apples and Pears…

…is what this evocative neon sign in London’s Soho says, in Italian. After writing about how much I dislike typical networking events, I somehow found myself chock-a-block (or the more expressive ‘chokka’) with slightly more unconventional events this week, all in London. This sign caught my eye while I was walking between one of these events and dinner afterwards.

The week started with a fantastic evening held by the Harvard Business School Angels, with the theme Winning in Angel Investing – Perspectives from Angels and their Advisors. Look out for a Grain Thought on the role of branding for start-ups with some ideas sparked by the experienced speakers on the panel. It made me chuckle that I ended up talking about my dog during the networking part of the evening. It’s all getting very meta: writing about networking on Design & a Dog, then talking about the dog while networking and now writing about that…it’s like a hallway full of mirrors!

I realised that the social aspect of owning a dog also extends into business networking – after all, it’s often the more personal facets that create connections between people. I used to always joke that I’m very settled in the UK, with husband, business, kids born here, house, car – everything but a dog! Now with the dog there are even more perspectives, including that shared experience with other people.

Mele e Pere: there are so many things to talk about with random people, from experiences living abroad actually eating mele and pere, to the surprise at discovering that strangers in a park pay more attention to canine babies than human ones. Strangely enough, it turns out that the person I was having the dog chat with is the friend of a good friend so I could very well have met him at a dinner party instead of at a Harvard Business School event.

Another person shared with me her start-up business concept. It would be a risky change of career for her, but you could see the sparkle in her eyes and practically feel waves of energy emanating from her when she talked about it. So yes, a possible new business contact from networking, but in the meantime I can enjoy and appreciate her enthusiasm in its own right.

Going into a networking event with no expectations means that you can leave early if it’s completely rubbish because you don’t feel invested in it. And if there are new ideas which arise, unexpected moments of delight and some business contacts, all the better!


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