The first event of the Layoff Lounge took place in downtown LA's SoHo Nightclub on February 22nd. This newly-reopened joint used to be known as Glam Slam, Prince's favorite space to jam. The polished wood walls and clean lines gave the place a refined appeal, and the art-deco wavy metal "walls" performed a function while offering a funky modern look to the space. There was a large bar in the back area of the club, so I wandered over to grab an Evian before I headed over to the Sponsor tables. Before I could pay the bartender, I was inquired about what sort of resources I was looking for by two well-dressed gentleman. They knew to ask me because the red button on my nametag told them I was an employer, as opposed to a job-seeker or a VC -- a nice, easy flagging system for people to know more about a person with a simple glance at a nametag. I informed them I was indeed looking for software and web developers, and before the night was over I had a dozen business cards and a few resumes to sort through.
Over 250 people attended this kickoff party, created by Jeremy Gocke and Kelly Perdew, including over 20 recruiters and many local companies looking for talented people. A big draw for the night was the opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to VC types -- Angels, Business Accelerators and Seed Funding entities. Sixteen lucky entrepreneurs signed up on the Lounge's website before the event and won the chance to deliver a five-minute "elevator pitch" to a VC. This format proved very exciting for both entrepreneurs and investors. The entrepreneurs got significant face time with investors, constructive feedback, and a chance to polish their pitch. The investors had a very structured environment in which to listen to pitches, provide constructive feedback and move on to the next idea. I'm sure this one-to-one face time will prove a big draw at the upcoming events if it's continually offered.
I was briefly able to meet one of the event's sponsors, CEO Dan Guerrero of eCRUITING (www.ecruitinginc.com), and also recruiters at the event tables like Racquel Neidhold of Technical Connections (www.tci-la.com). Other sponsors included the Sales Athlete and MobileContact Media (www.mobilecontact.net).
Two speakers took the mike during the evening: Dave Lavinsky, President and Founder of GrowThink%