Previously, I've discussed the Importance of Networking as a contact developing and knowledge building experience. I recently had a chance to practice what I preach by attending Hosts4Porn's Toronto Networking Party. This was my first "regional" Webmaster gathering; here's what I found:
Held at the "B-Side" in Downtown Toronto, the Toronto Networking Party was Hosts4Porn.com's first event — and judging from its apparent success — not their last! Sponsored by Python Video, Platinum Bucks, AVN Online, KLIXXX Magazine, SobeGirl, and hosting giant RackSpace, this event came to life due to the hard work and support of all involved, especially Stephen and Allison from Hosts4Porn, who made it all happen.
Eating, Drinking, and Merrymaking
With an estimated 200 attendees including Erik from SobeGirl, Aly from Python, Platinum Dave, Evil Chris from Wild Rose, Sharon from Great Lakes Webmasters, Derek from Xamo, Uncle D, Hungry Man, Road Hockey, and folks from Orgasm.com, XXX Audio Cash, wefuckinpublic.com, and many more, the B-Side rocked till the early morning hours.
One of the factors contributing to the dynamic nature of this event was the audience. While not open to the general public, the party was not limited to "Webmasters Only" and was attended by others from the non-web adult industry, as well as bankers, accountants, and investors in search of new opportunities. Many of these latter attendees were no doubt surprised to find no strippers on the bar tops, nor wanton sexual displays. Powered by the freely flowing alcohol (and abundant hot and cold food), this event was a fun, but laid back fiesta for all involved.
Mixing Business With Pleasure
One of the great benefits of a Networking Party such as this is that the focus is on both work and play, allowing people to exchange both ideas and business cards in a comfortable environment. This serves to break down many of the barriers one faces in a more traditional business setting, and can often provide attendees with more tangible results.
Talk among many of the partygoers was that this event was more profitable for them than some of the larger shows, since they had the luxury of spending extended "face time" with prospects. Couple this with the minimal expense involved in attending, and you have a recipe for success. ...the overwhelming theme was "When will they do this again?" — a clear indication that it was a worthwhile endeavor.
I spent a great deal of my time "working the door" — greeting comers and goers and soliciting as many comments as possible. No one I spoke to had anything bad to say, and the overwhelming theme was "When will they do this again?" — a clear indication that it was a worthwhile endeavor.
For those who were unable to make this event, other opportunities exist. There is already talk of another Toronto gathering — and perhaps one in Montreal as well. For those that find a quick trip to Canada to be a little too far from home, Adult Webmaster Events conducts an ongoing series of regional events, one of which is sure to come to a city near you.
Regardless of who stages an event or where it is held, these smaller Webmaster gatherings — while lacking the glitter and glitz of InterNext — present a fabulous option for networking with your peers, and one that should not be overlooked. Attend one, and see for yourself!
As I took one last stroll around the B-Side, I noticed the large, black "Python" banner still flying over the stage, providing mute testimony to the revelry of the night before. As I took the banner down, carefully rolling it up and putting it away, I smiled softly to myself, thinking "We'll need this for next time:" I know I'll be there ~ and I hope to see you all there too!