Note: I no longer work with IonLab since Nov 12 of 2009.
The theme of the meet was marketing. There were some interesting discussions, and the one that interested me was when Pratik (and friend) from Muziboo explained some of their experiences followed by the subsequent discussions and free advice and suggestions thrown in. One good advice was to actively market Muziboo to the teachers and students of the various music schools, "there are around 10 of them in just the Koramangala area", and so on.
I was pleasantly surprised to see people have actually heard about ion and I was asked to tell the story of how we chose our posterb design, people found it amusing and relevant ("market research") at the same time. I gave some inputs that offline marketing, but targeted offline marketing really does help.
Although I didn't mention it at the meet, we did stand outside the Aerosmith concert and marketed ion to people. That was such a humbling experience. Sales is hard.
Coming back to OpenCoffeeClub, the mix of people was not surprising - mostly "software engineers" who are ashamed of the term. The interesting people were a lawyer, a chartered accountant, a director of the entrepreneurship wing of an IT college, a non-IT businessman, etc.
The lawyer made an interesting point that she couldn't get one of her contacts to come visit OpenCoffeeClub because 2 hours every 2 weeks sounded like too much time for him. That's interesting because if someone was really passionate about their startup/business/passion, they would be out there working hard at it, instead of talking about it. Not to take away anything from the meet, but people need to be out there "doing their thing".
I guess where the meet plays a role is it gives a support network to those people who are about to start off on their venture and need the confidence and advice in interactions with others, and the feeling that other people are into it too. Maybe that explains why there were more wannabes than been-there-done-that kind of people. However, the intensity of people that they wanted to do something was quite palpable. It reminded me of the title of Gusteau's cookbook in Ratatouille : "Anyone can cook". If you need to be in such an atmosphere, you should think of attending the next meet (it happens on alternate Sundays).
It also reminded me of a chance meeting I had with the founder and CEO of Pepper Square at the Flex Users' Group meet last Friday. It was refreshing to meet someone whose mission was to make people understand the value of "design". Even though he's 42 years old (although he appeared half that age), he still has the "we'll change the world" attitude in him. Inspiring stuff.