How much should entrepreneurs network with other entrepreneurs?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

There is some truth to this:

Getting your startup in the newspaper is cool. You can call your parents and they will be proud. Who knows, someone might even read it and become a customer.

Attending networking events is cool too. You get to meet people, exchange information and who knows, you might even meet a customer.

Meeting with other entrepreneurs to drink coffee is great. You can exchange experiences and maybe even become partners. You might even convert the other entrepreneur to become a customer!

In the end, the customer is all that counts. The three hours spent at a networking event could also be invested in emailing your customers. How many customers could you talk to personally and give a great impression of your company?

How much time does it take to do the newspaper interview, and who reads it? Does it target your customers or is it just to show off to your parents?

How about those endless meetings with your fellow entrepreneurs? How much coffee can a person drink? Unless you see a potential partnership maybe you should invest that hour in doing some helpdesk work?

But this comment at Hacker News also had a lot of truth:

It’s not necessarily bad advice to some people, but the majority of people I know that are focused on a new project are spending way too much time on code.

“Just one more javascript function to add…” and so on keeps them from ever meeting with anyone – potential customers, local like-minded entrepreneurs who could offer support and introductions to others, etc.

If someone recognizes themselves in this piece as the person who is always networking/pitching/schmoozing and never working on the product/project/service at all (tech or customer development), then yes, heed the advice. Otherwise, simply strive for a balance. But… don’t fall for the “it’s gotta be perfect in my eyes before I show anyone” (or even “it’s gotta be or look really nice before anyone can see it”). Just… show it around.

Personally, I spent much of the last decade hanging around rich people who were drawn to websites because of the perceived glamor. They were bored by the details of running a business, but they liked doing interviews with newspapers. None of their projects ever worked out well. As such, I’m extremely leery of going down that path myself.