Finding people with the entrepreneurial virus


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 -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.

Networking Co-Founder

asked Dec 17 '09 at 22:25
Olivier Lalonde
2,753 points

4 Answers


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 ;)

answered Dec 18 '09 at 00:11
Joseph Fung
1,542 points


As Joseph states, face to face is the way to go.

A few suggestions:

  • Go to local meetups ( ). This is, by definition, a group of like-minded people, exactly what you are asking for to meet. There are many ways to meet people: They might have technology meetups, business, business counseling, entrepreneurship, etc... If all else fails, start your own meetup.
  • Participate actively in LinkedIn. Personally, I did not expect LinkedIn to work out for me, but it has yielded a surprising number of people that I can do business with whom I did not even initiate contact with (they did with me). Some are local and some are not.

There are many others, but you probably know about them already. These are the two that really stand out for me.

answered Dec 18 '09 at 00:20
Gabriel Magana
3,103 points


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.

answered Dec 18 '09 at 03:16
Fernando Martins
798 points
  • Thanks for the book recommendation and sharing your personal experience. I know the "someone is already working on your idea" & "it's all about execution" mantras, but I'm still afraid to openly talk about my idea on a public forum. Maybe I should simply try it and stop worrying. – Olivier Lalonde 14 years ago
  • I understand your fears, I've been there too. But here's how I've overcame it: you do know that I (I'm a software engineer too) can replicate whatever you do and vice-versa. This means that any software engineer can build your idea or my idea. Answer continues since there's not enough characters available here. – Fernando Martins 14 years ago
  • It's not all about technical knowledge. It's about the entrepreneur spirit and one's interests. You've already stated that your friends do not have an entrepreneur spirit, and probably many have the same technical skills as you, so they will not steal your idea and make it a big success of their own. Even if you found someone with the spirit and resources to make your idea into a business - imagine me, for instance - that will hardly happen because probably I will not get interested/moved by your idea, I have my own ideas, i.e. what moves you may not move me. – Fernando Martins 14 years ago
  • Final post. :D That doesn't mean that I'm not willing to help, discuss with or even brainstorm with you. Of course there's always the chance that someone really steals your idea, but even if that happens, remember that somewhere in the world, someone has already though about your idea. The difference between them and you is that *you* are willing to make the necessary effort to make it come true. And even then, when you have your product or service built, someone can copy it. You can take a step at a time. If you don't feel comfortable, Don't just jump into foruns, start with your friends. – Fernando Martins 14 years ago
  • Good thoughts and I agree with your book recommendation completely! – Joseph Fung 14 years ago
  • +1 on Eric Sink. Hugely inspirational AND useful to me in the early days. – Jason 14 years ago


Two places to check out:

  • online: fairsoftware will fit exactly the idea brainstorming part
  • in Silicon Valley: the co-founders meetup of Silicon Valley, where you can meet in person people who are super-early with their ideas or want to find other people with super-early ideas

Somehow, I ended up organizing both (and more). Starting a company and especially the early days are great!

answered Mar 1 '10 at 03:04
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points

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