I'm in a town with a relatively young startup community and I'm looking to start having some kind of gatherings. It is a university town, and there is a quasi-state-run startup accelerator here, but their events are usually exclusive to their members.
I'm picturing kind of a social hour, maybe with a tech presenter, or maybe just a bunch of folks meeting at a bar to discuss ideas.
There are a lot of tech companies in town, so lots of programmers and web designers. With the university, there are lots of young people and research. The services of the startup accelerator are definitely more late-term, so I'm hoping to attract people that just want to work on new things and meet other ambitious people.
My question is: what kind of organizations are there that I should try to affiliate with to get this kind of thing started? Should I affiliate at all, or just spam Facebook and put up flyers around town? If so, what do I call it?
I've been on sites like the co-working wiki, Lean Startup wiki, etc. What others are there? Has anyone out there done this?
You should use Meetup.com for getting the word out. Lots of people looking specifically for face to face meetings use the site.
Of course, do all the other social networking sites, but don't spam them. Just make sure people can find your info. Also go through LinkedIn. Lots business focused people are on there.
If you already have some contacts, or course, make some flyers, create a mailing list and grow that way too.
If you're interested and willing to start this yourself: Have you checked out MeetUp.com for your area? That's a good way to find people with similar interests without appearing 'spammish'. In my city we have a fairly large group that's associated with tech/lifestyle/entrepreneur, the sort of thing you're talking about.
There's a MeetUp group some folks have built (http://www.meetup.com/techlifecolumbus/ ) and a LinkedIn group associated with it too. The latter, a LinkedIn group, might also be an option for you as well.
As far as sponsorship, Microsoft, Sun, and even the New York Times will often sponsor local tech groups.
Fredrick - great idea! A few suggestions: