I'm a software engineer with lots of experience in web app. development and would like to meet smart people that share my passion about startups and innovation. The problem is that although I do have my share of friends, none of them share are really attracted by entrepreneurship, risk taking and the startup lifestyle.
I currently have a couple of startup ideas that I'd like to brainstorm over, but have no one in my network to do so. It's too early yet to go after a co-founder since I am not even sure at this point which of my ideas has the biggest potential (if any does at all).
Where can I find like minded people that are willing to discuss & brainstorm?
PS: I know there are already questions on finding a co-founder, but that's not really what I'm trying to do. My approach is to first meet people, brainstorm and eventually become their co-founder. I'm not interested in PartnerUp.com -type sites as they are mainly targeted at people who already have the idea.
I know this isn't the right place, but in case anyone else is in my situation, you are welcome to contact me.
In-person networking is the best way to go. Find the industry assocations in your community and go to their free events, and ask the association reps about who are the best people to talk to. This kind of networking and facilitation is their bread and butter, they'll be happy to help you out. Your Twitter profile says you're in Montreal - if so, then ther are TONNES of places to go. Here are a few orgs and events.
Catch me on twitter (@josephfung) and I'd be happy to facilitate introductions to organizers as much as I can.
Or, even better, come move to Waterloo where the community is even hotter ;)
As Joseph states, face to face is the way to go.
A few suggestions:
There are many others, but you probably know about them already. These are the two that really stand out for me.
I was about to answer basically the same as gmagana and Joseph, so I'll just limit my answer to the validation of the idea.
I recommend that you read The Business of Software, by Eric Sink.
It is specially pleasant to read if you're a software engineer, as you are, and it shows some tricks on how to validate some ideas and iterate on them.
It won't solve the problem per se, but will help to kick off, and one thing I've learned is that once you've started, you'll ask your friends some advices, you'll post some questions, etc., and from there you'll start getting lots of feedback that will well guide you and, may even find someone to discuss and brainstorm with.
For instance, I've discussed and brainstormed with a friend about a possible business of his own and it was great. I had no interesting in participating in the business, and I've found out that I can discuss my own ideas with others on forums, linked-in, etc. and have great feedback from people who have no interested at all in participating on my business.
So, here's my advice: read the book (I can recommend others if you already have read it) and start posting and asking in order to get some answers.
Two places to check out:
Somehow, I ended up organizing both (and more). Starting a company and especially the early days are great!