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Tag Archives: afterparties
March 11, 2012Posted by on
As you probably already know from Twitter, I attended GDC 2012 this year. The most you’d probably gather from Twitter, however, is that I drank, partied, and had good times with good people. But I want to make something clear… Much more goes on than just those things. And it’s important not to characterize GDC (or its participants, myself included) as one big party.
The much more boring side to hear about (albeit quite enjoyable to do in-person) are all the lectures, seminars, workshops, and of course exhibits. But the business that goes on during the day – often times behind closed doors – is simply not as exciting or even practical to go talking about publicly, so you naturally see less of it on Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines.
The night life, however…
Some GDC attendees choose not to participate in the after-parties, which is fine. Other people in the industry will thumb their noses at the mixers and parties that go on (as if alcohol and fun don’t belong at GDC? Or like they’re above it even?). But I’ve found some of the best business and networking goes on at such venues, post-convention business hours. And under the right circumstances, I’d even trade my expo badge in exchange for all-access to the after-parties and social mixers.
It’s not about getting a potential client or employer drunk, and building a deal on questionable moral grounds. It’s about taking what might otherwise be uptight business down a notch and breathing a little. Like in any good negotiation, it should just flow naturally and casually. Business (and networking) over cocktails is a great way to take the harsh edge off of things.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s not just about the alcohol either. I am a fan of it, believe me. But not everybody is – which is fine! Actually, if you choose not to partake in consuming poison, you’re probably smarter than I am. But you can’t just do business with fellow straight-edge persons like yourself. The mixer or after-party is a great place to catch people in a less scrupulous, casual environment, even if you’re not drinking that particular night. (For me, that’s usually because I’m hungover from last night!)
Of course the part about trading my badge for the parties was mostly a joke. Not all business is done at an after party, and in reality not much useful business typically is done at a party, period. However, the relationships built at a mixer often times lead to a more meaningful, professional meeting the next day or week, so it has its place in the order of things.
But yeah let’s face it, you’re not going to pitch a venture to an investment board with Party Rock Anthem blasting in the background at 140 decibels.
One last useful bit about after-parties though? They’re like a douche bag’s natural environment. See, during the course of your normal business day, in a formal setting, a douche bag can conceal himself quite cleverly. Often times you can never tell the douche bag apart from a genuine fellow looking to network or do business. You get a few drinks into a bona fide douche bag in and around a VIP lounge, however, and they suddenly feel more comfortable and at-home… They tend to let their guard down. Before you know it, he’s babbling on, boasting similarities between his life and episodes of the TV show “Entourage”… Bingo! Now you know who maybe isn’t such a good prospect after all.
Now that’s not to say everyone socializing at these parties are douche bags, because they’re not – so let me stop you right there Internet before you try to twist my words around! The analogy: I like honey, and bees like honey (arguably more than I do). That does not, however, make me a bee.
Bees are douche bags, though. Known fact.