Meeting creatives in a big city.

Are you new to the creative world? Got an idea and want to find people to share with? Are you wanting to connect with similar-minded people?

Earlier this year I found myself in a confusing position. I wanted to find a way to work my creative life into my work day week.

Now first thing I thought was that I stay in on the evening talking to people online and working at home. However I’m a human and I like being around people. So something had to change. It’s fun to have a community you can bounce ideas off and get to know.

So I took to the internet. To blogs. To magazines. But as I was trying to find inspiration for #InspiredBy, I thought: “but there are apps for these things!”

I thought I would share with you a couple of tricks from the CEOs Olivia Poole and Ludovic Huraux of the VINA and Shapr networking apps:

•Describe your ideal friend/network date.
VINA: I love meeting for a hike or workout class then grabbing a meal and drinks!
Shapr: My number one way to meet people is face to face over a cup of coffee. Meeting someone in the middle of the day breaks up a long afternoon of emails and gives you an excuse to go for a walk in the fresh air. I often find that I do my best work right after meeting a Shapr connection for coffee!

On busy days, Skype is also a great way to connect. It’s more personal than a phone call, but allows you to fit a conversation in between balancing several other priorities.

Finally, I love meeting people for breakfast! There is nothing more energizing to me than a conversation with someone new. (Though I will admit that I often sneak a cup of coffee on the way so that I am awake enough to engage!)

•What does dating as a remote worker or Digital Nomad look like in your opinion?

VINA: It sounds more glamorous than it is. Without a consistent place and network, it can get isolating. Though it has a lot of fun and adventure!

Shapr: The most meaningful connections are those in which both professionals can learn something new. Conversations with professionals from diverse backgrounds help us to gain perspective, learn about tools and websites, and think differently about our projects. A great entrepreneurial connection means you walk away feeling energized and having new information that will help you move forward.

•Where is your favourite place to go for a first date? (If there’s anywhere in London specifically, that would be perfect).
VINA: https://vinazine.com/2016/07/04/hey-london-8-vina-date-ideas/

So everyone always asks about tips for launching an idea, but what would your advice be to anyone about persevering with a project or business idea?

Shapr: Talk to your customers or the people who will be using your service. The best way to know what’s working is to hear from the people who are actually your target. Be open to feedback, and to discoveries about ways you can improve your ideas. At Shapr, I make it a point to meet at least three users a week, face to face or over Skype, and learn how they are using the tool and what recommendations they have for improving the app. You have to understand your customer firsthand and get a clear sense of how your community engages with your product!

•What were you inspired by to begin your app?
VINA: I was inspired to start VINA because when I moved to San Francisco, it was super hard to meet new friends! I was always a connected and social person, but when moving to a new city for my career, I was in a situation that was foreign and challenging. You can’t tell who you have things in common with by looking at people on the street, and going to networking events by myself was intimidating. I built this app so women like me can feel free to travel, move to a new city, pursue passions, and be connected wherever you are in your life or the

Shapr: was #InspiredBy a need for better networking. I and four other cofounders first came up with the idea while working on my first startup, a French dating site Attractive World. The need for a strong network became apparent when I turned to friends and colleagues for recommendations on who to hire, advice on how to market his business, and introductions to investors. Networking typically required endless nights of events or searching online profiles to meet relevant people. The Shapr founders wanted to build a tool that makes networking so simple and meaningful that it becomes an everyday habit.

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