Fans of Fred Wilson/AVC blog DC Gathering…and some thoughts on Community

August 14, 2008

Fans of Fred Wilson DC Meetup at MienYu (6) Whether it is building a community around your product or service or building your personal network, you need to do two things.

  1. Find the 'social object' around which a community exists
  2. Connect like-minded people as I’ve blogged (or better, as Seth Godin has)

We've put this in practice with Dan Pink on his new book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and the community-building activity we call 'Bunko Breakfasts' (and now extended it with the Do-It-Yourself Bunko Breakfast)

So, tonight, I put myself on the other end of this equation.

One of my favorite bloggers hands-down is Fred Wilson. I've called him the 'godfather of blogging' and certainly the 'godfather of blog bling.'

After meeting one of Fred's associates last week, the idea was hatched:

What about a 'meet-up' of 'Fans of Fred' who live in the DC area?

Seeing as we all read and love his blog (the social object), would it be fun to connect with others who might be like-minded?

The answer: a RESOUNDING YES!!

With Fred's blessing, we got the promotion we needed and 17 "F.O.F's" (Fans of Fred) gathered at the trendy Mie N Yu restaurant in Georgetown.

What did we find?

First off, everyone was very excited for the event, enjoyed the great drinks, complementary sushi, meeting other local F.O.F.'s, and passing out their business cards.

Interestingly, the attendee segments mirrored Fred's topics.

Some stats:


  • 33% from the VC world
  • 33% start-ups/programmers/techies.
  • 33% folks passionate about the Internet and its potential.

How they read the blog:

  • 75% via RSS
  • 25% via the website

Length of time as an F.O.F.

There was was a bi-polar distribution in response to how long folks had been reading Fred's blog.

  • About 50% had been reading since 2004 or earlier
  • The other 50% had started reading within the past year

There was only one person who started reading Fred's blog in 2005-06 timeframe.

Among the ‘veterans,’ most of us couldn't remember, we just said 'we'd been reading forever." So, for kicks, I went to see when Fred started posting and read his first one. Yes, Fred, you've posted a lot!

There’s a community lesson here though: Don't make presumptions that community is for 'veterans' or for 'rookies," It's for passionates. Give them a chance to get together.

Now, one of the thing I love about networking events is hearing about new ideas, which came out in force:

And, in a combination of shameless self-promotion with cross-pollination (with a healthy dose of positive Word-of-Mouth oomph), we had

  1. a raffle where Atul, Jamie, and Tomer each won a signed copy of The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, courtesy of Dan Pink 
    (full disclosure: my client).
  2. Johnson and Johnson agree to be a sponsor of the event promoting safe, clean, and hygienic networking, so everyone got a vial of Purell!
    (full disclosure: my client)

And here are some more pictures of the event from Picasa and here on Facebook.

I've sent this out to all the folks who attended, so hopefully they will add some comments.

Bottom line: a great event. Almost everyone asked “when are you doing another one?”

So, thanks to Fred for bringing us together!

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Ray Capece said on 8.14.2008 at 1:34 AM

Great gathering! Exceedingly sharp -- and remarkably pleasant -- group. (Proving the hypothesis, I guess . . .) You could be on to something here, Jeremy :)

Ali said on 8.14.2008 at 12:16 PM

Excellent gathering Jeremy...very interesting folks with varying backgrounds. Great conversations.

I look forward to the next event.

angie said on 8.14.2008 at 12:26 PM

Thanks for organizing...great group of entrepreneurs with like-minded interests! When is the next one?? Loved the venue, too.

Scott Rothrock said on 8.14.2008 at 12:47 PM

Thanks for organizing. It was wonderful to meet other entrepreneurs in the DC area. Great idea to tap into the audience that follows Fred's blog.

Matt Hoffman said on 8.14.2008 at 1:10 PM

Thanks for hosting a fun event last night. I also subscribe heavily to the notion of tribes. You brought together a tribe of people who follow Fred for various reasons and it turned out to be a self-selected group of some really sharp, interesting people who may be able work together down the road. You were right, we didn’t need Fred there.

Rashid said on 8.14.2008 at 2:34 PM

It was great meeting everyone and sharing experiences and stories.

Thanks for putting it all together Jeremy. I am looking forward to more events like this in the future.

Tomer Molovinsky said on 8.14.2008 at 2:40 PM

Great event Jeremy, keep us in the loop for the next meetup.

Atul said on 8.14.2008 at 9:11 PM

Great event. Loved to meet like-minded people. We should get together again!


beth said on 8.18.2008 at 9:00 PM

thanks for a great evening jeremy. fred has some very cool fans -- i hope there are more events in the future.

p.s. the sushi was delicious!