Now then, it’s been quite a while since we last held an Unlimited Drinks event here at Mobile Industry Review. Indeed, if memory serves (and it is a poor memory), I think the site was still named SMS Text News when we last did a big networking evening.
The Unlimited Drinks concept is quite different from your standard networking event.
First, it’s managed. By that I mean, there’s a service level. There are no — and this is a technical term — knobs. There are no sub-standard arses. No. That’s because I strictly control the guest list. You need to be somebody in mobile to come along. I define ‘somebody in mobile’ as having an opinion. If you can’t list your top three mobile apps off the top of your head, you don’t qualify. If you ‘don’t know what phone you have,’ then you don’t qualify.
But if you’ve got an opinion. If you’ve got something to add. If you’re working IN the mobile industry, or if you’re working in a market serving the mobile industry (PR, marketing, legal, design and so on), then that’s fine.
The fundamental concept about the event is that once you’re in, you CAN actually talk to other people. Because they are there to meet you. To find out what you’re doing, to make suggestions, to connect you to their network, to see if they can do business with you.
The other things with Unlimited Drinks is that I’m buying. I buy the drinks. Now, my wife was less than impressed when I started doing these events. Although she did come along with some of her friends to a few of them, the fact they used to cost £5,000 a time used to — understandably — get up her nose. You can buy some pretty nice sofas for £5k. In fairness, a sofa doesn’t quite count as a business expense.
One of the most entertaining aspects of an Unlimited Drinks event was enforcing a strict fair use policy for any mobile operator attendees, just temporarily, just to see their faces. You have to admit, it is just a little funny.
It’s time we started some more Unlimited Drinks events. Now, as I said, delivering truly unlimited drinks typically costs £5k. I am not going to do that, alas. I’ll need to do a T-Mobile and change the terms. Instead I propose buying the first drink for everyone. It’s that or get a sponsor — and now and again, that has worked nicely. My view with a sponsored event is that you either do unlimited drinks (open bar) or not at all. No arsing about with tokens, wrist bands or the like.
Your help needed
Now then, I’d like your suggestions on what we should do. I’m thinking of a much more intimate Unlimited Drinks — instead of 250-300 people, perhaps just 45-50, so that you really do get a chance to meet. What do you think of that?
I’ll need to find a good location too — it has to be central London (although I think it’s high time we went back to Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the like once more). Do you have any recommendations of a central London / West End venue?
I’m also thinking about bringing the camera and possibly starting earlier so we can get some folk on camera before everyone appears for drinks and networking. I’d welcome your feedback on that too.
And if you’d like to get a sense of the Unlimited Drinks experience, here’s one of the old, old videos with an overview:
Update: I should point out that Unlimited Drinks is wholly inclusive. That is, from a guest list perspective, if you don’t know me, that’s not a problem. I just need to have a chat with you to establish you’re doing something of value in mobile (or the surrounding industries).
I hope we’ll have more dates up soon.