What I learned from 200 Lunchclubs

I just did my 200th Lunchclub this week (subtle brag) and will finish the year with 52 straight weeks of meetings. One of my 2021 professional goals was to expand my network and in this pre-post-pandemic world, Lunchclub is a great tool for that.

Lunchclub’s tagline is “We facilitate casual conversations that lead to not-so-casual professional impact. Powered by AI.” Tactically, it’s 30 minute meetings scheduled via their algorithms that match you with people based on some pre-chosen criteria. It’s like speed dating for professional networking. But smart.

I love and hate Lunchclub all at the same time.

I loved:

  1. 195 for 200 — Seriously. I only had about 5 meetings that weren’t awesome. You know who you were. Kidding. A few people were really anti-social or we generally had nothing in common. 5 people out of 200. Imagine going to a conference and hitting the cocktail hour and getting that kind of conversion rate on random chats. Clearly they are doing something right on the matching algorithm.

I hated (and mostly not their fault):

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up? — I have no clue what Lunchclub wants to be when it grows up. Maybe it’s not for me to know or it will be revealed at some later stage but right now I cannot figure out what this company is going to become and as a “power user” it’s a little unsettling thinking maybe I am the product. With $28M raised, I’d think they have some sense of where they want to head. Please tell me it isn’t more in-person meetings.

The Real Magic of Lunchclub

Lunchclub highlighted the real problem with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great professional influencer platform and it’s a horrible professional network management tool.

I’ve been on LinkedIn for 17 years. I would say that in the last 10 years I have gotten almost no value from it whatsoever. In fact, I think most people would agree. You don’t setup or maintain your LinkedIn because you want to. You do it because you have to. You’re either looking to change jobs, telling the world about a changed job or trying to figure out who just emailed you out of the blue (hint: they have SaaS and you need it now — if you aren’t laughing at my sass joke just stop reading).

LinkedIn is a platform for people to do professional social networking. Or should that say social networking about being professional? Basically it’s an attention platform. It’s about building a following and getting people to pay attention to your influence. Attention for your posts, attention for job seekers, attention for recruiters and sales people. It doesn’t help me manage my professional social network at all.

Lunchclub: You’ve got a few interesting features and some momentum. You have a finite amount of time to seize on that and build an interesting business here. Please help me continue to expand my professional network AND figure out how to help me manage it moving forward. Don’t build another attention platform. Don’t make us the product. A lot of people will pay for a product that solves this problem.

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Scott Kveton

Entrepreneur, pizza maker, bacon lover, crypto-currency owner, husband and proud father. http://kveton.com