All met up

A post I nearly titled ‘Oh, I don’t like to be beside the seaside’

On a wet, chilly and generally miserable evening I make my way to Gunwharf Quays for my first Meetup of the Start-Up Disruptors Solent Group.  As I set out from my office the weather is at first only mildly wet, chilly and miserable but, by the time I am halfway to Gunwharf Quays, the rain has become a steady stream of sogginess and my levels of chilliness and miserableness increase proportionately.

I am exceptionally glad to reach the Meetup venue, The Old Customs House pub, and get a roof between myself and the rain.  My first port of call is the female facilities, where I discover that my hair has turned to Medusa-style frizz and my face is coloured from the transition from cold outside to (very) warm inside.  Living beside the sea can be a joy, but can also be depressingly damp and unflattering.

The Old Customs House meeting room is, I must say, not an ideal venue for a claustrophobic introvert (so many people!  So little space!) and I am not the only one who ends up networking out in the corridor, where there is room to stand without my back being pressed against someone else’s.  According to the venue’s website the room can fit up to 60 people; with only 37 present it is uncomfortable, and I can’t imagine – or, more accurately, don’t want to imagine – what it must be like with almost double that number crammed inside.

Foolishly, with hindsight, I do not anticipate that I will be asked to stand up and introduce myself and my business, but my off-the-cuff introduction seems to go well.  People laugh when I am trying to be funny, and nod thoughtfully when I am trying to be serious, which is considerably better than the other way around.

As the evening goes on, I talk to a graphic designer, an app developer, an embroiderer, a prospective round-the-world sailor, a learning consultant, and more; it surprises me, although it probably shouldn’t, how many different types of business are represented in the group.

By the end of the evening I have arranged to contact the graphic designer, Tracy of Purplelily Design, about creating a logo and corporate identity for Red Tabby Words, and picked up a card for George of Affordable IT whose company provides web hosting services and will hopefully be able to help get the RTW website up and running.  I have also potentially gained RTW’s first paid job, providing gently snarky content for an app being developed by a fellow starter-upper.  (I can of course provide content of any type and level of seriousness, but I must confess that gentle snark is by way of being my default setting.)

I emerge two hours later to find that the rain has eased back to a drizzle, and stop to take a quick photo of the Spinnaker Tower looking fetching in red on a misty evening.  Then I head towards home, feeling quietly pleased with my evening and that perhaps I do, after all, like to be beside the seaside.

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