When Sandy Blanquera of Social Boomerang, asked if I were interested in attending the IT Martini, I formulated two thoughts fairly quickly. First, what am I (a communication specialist) going to do at an IT networking event? Second: What am I supposed to talk about with IT people — espcially those that handle backend technology? So, when Sandy sent me the event details, I sat on it for a while because I couldn’t see the value in it for me. After hearing different folks I’d met at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center and elsewhere talk about their positive experiences, excitement about the demo stations, and the panel discussions, alongside the great networking that happens — I couldn’t resist the urge to go and at least see what all the fuss was about. When I registered, as I expected, there was no “industry category” for an out-of-place communication specialist. I also reviewed the list of scheduled attendees — no names and very few companies were remotely familiar. But I couldn’t let this lack of familiarity or fear that I would have very little in common with IT people stop me from going to what has been described as a “must see” event. An added carrot for me, it was scheduled at Bar of Modern Art and I did want to check the place out.
So, now that I am no longer an IT Martini “newbie” I can safely say the value of this event extends far beyond those in the technology industry.
They are Not “Just Like Everybody Else” and They Know It — First, people part of the information and innovation technology industry are not “just like everybody else,” and frequently take pride in their nerd or techie geek reputation and status. This perspective made a lot of sense to me because Ph. D. holders are not necessarily known for their “suave” attributes, although I like to think I’m cool, with an abundance of nerdie-qualities. After attending this event, I realized that in addition to being acutely aware of their nerd reputation, many people I encountered seemed took an extreme amount of pride in their common reputations. That seemed very comforting to me and I quelled my fears early on.
You Must be Good at the “Networking Thing”–The IT Martini changed my perspective about how some can take comfort in knowing even if they are a bit socially awkward (mentioned frequently), I probably wasn’t. I could see people relax a bit knowing that I was expected to be a good at the “small talk” networking thing — not them. This aspect helped more so, when I asked about roles and responsibilities in their current position. I mean let’s be frank– my knowledge of technology may be more advanced than some, but comparatively speaking, I hold only rudimentary knowledge. It was also great for the people I encountered because I had very little knowledge about their work so it was a great opportunity to feel confident speaking about what they knew. Also, this was great for me because I learned a lot about roles and responsibilities of people in the IT industry.
Letting My Inner-Nerd Roam Free–Finally, this event enhanced my understanding of the role and significance of the IT community to the continued enrichment of my life. When Sandy informed me that the IT Martini would have demonstration stations, I didnt’ get excited. But when I saw demonstrations of some of these innovative technological products and services, I was immediately enamored. I was most intrigued by the eEvent demo with all your information in an “enhanced” bar code. Although this concept may seem a little scary at first thought, the reality is eEvent developed a way to consolidate information that already exists about you virtually.
The moral of my story is: The IT Martini has a lot to offer for individuals not part of the technology industry. In fact, I highly recommend people like me go and rock it because not only is it a great learning opportunity but if you have a little “nerd” in you — you’ll be among friends.