Expand your network comfortably
Plan Your Next #112
👋 Good morning from Los Angeles! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #112 of Plan Your Next. A Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
💡 What’s new?
🎨 The 80/20 of design. Building an email-based course is not easy, but it’s so much fun. I’m hitting a groove so I’m committing to launching this on July 4th. My favorite lesson so far is on how not to use drop shadows: “Do you think the sun casts shadows that way?” It’s free until it launches.
🐦 Are we friends yet on Twitter?
When we moved to Los Angeles four years ago, I knew no one and no one knew me.
I relied on the social networks of friends to plug me in—which was useful—but I needed to figure this out for myself.
On most nights, I’d rather stay in and read, work, design, chill, and build instead of trying to meet new people. I’ve turned down or shrugged off many meetups just to work on my own projects or because I didn’t have the mental energy to spend on other people.
That, or I didn’t care to sit in traffic for an hour.
I’m selfish with my time—especially now as a father—but networks and communities are important. Online and offline.
So about three years ago, I decided to think about the easiest way to start meeting people without having to attend a slew of events.
While brainstorming with an old Minneapolis friend, we decided to create a brunch event we could host in our homes, and curate the guest list. The idea was simple, but it worked.
We called it Secret Saturdays and started hosting events at my place.
We curated guest lists around a topic so we could invite the people we were stalked online. We hosted the events at my home so I didn’t have to travel. We decided to host a brunch so we didn’t need to provide full meals to everyone. And at the end, we asked everyone to fill out a sheet with something they could give, and can ask for a need they have.
Then, the pandemic took its hairy hand and swiped everything clean off the table like a bad movie scene.
We only hosted three events, and ever since then, it’s just been a nice story to tell.
While we were hosting the events, I felt self-conscious about where I was in my life. We were inviting people who were writing books, hosting conferences, and building companies.
At the time, I had paused writing this newsletter with about 30 subscribers and in the middle of helping build a real estate tech startup. Nothing else was really driving me forward.
It was easy to feel discouraged when listening to everyone else speak, and feel like I was missing out. In many ways, I was using these events to find something to cling to.
About a year ago, I had a chat with Nick Gray who is best known for founding Museum Hack. While we’ve never met in person, he very regularly throws events in his own unique and charming way. (Though he’s a big fan of using nametags which I have yet to come around to.)
He just released his book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. I realized how my instincts were similar to his approach when hosting my own events. A few pieces of advice that stood out:
Host at your house or apartment
Limit the group to 15 people
Use nametags to level the power field (and it removes the awkward “I forgot your name.”)
Don’t serve dinner
Keep it to two hours
Host during the week between 6:30-8:30
Have a core group of five friends who will always show up
Our model for Secret Saturdays was close, although we hosted the event between 11-1 on Saturdays, and a brunch event kept food to a minimum.
We reached out to friends and acquaintances and DMed a number of people on Instagram. What surprised me most is that we were rarely turned down, even though we had no immediate connection.
We went further and curated a guest list around a topic so everyone felt like a peer, and allowed us to have something in common to speak about.
I think about those events often, even if we only held three of them. But after reading Nick’s book, I can’t wait to start selfishly asking people to come to our place for brunch and to finally expand my IRL network here in LA.
To me, hosting events at your own place is the easiest way to comfortably meet new people in your city.
If you live in LA and would love to attend an event in the future, let me know.
⚡️ Two creative hits for you to check out next
Don’t Surround Yourself With Smarter People—Venkatesh Rao
The trick is to surround yourself with people who are free in ways you're not. In other words, don't surround yourself with smarter people. Surround yourself with differently free people. /via Startupy
👋 See you next Sunday
Have a great week,
p.s. Words are just words, but if these words made you feel something, would you let me know by tapping on the heart below?