“Hi, Daryl… Daryl Lu. I’m one of the few, the proud, the native Atlantan.” (image source: http://femgineer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/networking.jpg)
It’s amazing how many interesting people are around me. I’m not even talking about the people I truly know like family, friends, work colleagues, etc., but the people I just happen to run into at Starbucks, through happen-stance introductions, etc. I’m wearing earbuds now, but it’s truly amazing when you unplug at times and say hello to the person next to you. If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring to be, it’s one of the practices I suggest to others – get comfortable just talking to others.
My friend recently shared an article from the Art of Manliness – Be More Memorable: How to Better Answer the 3 Questions You Always Get Asked When Meeting Someone New. It’s one of those posts that reminds me of why you should introduce yourself sometimes to the random person next to you. That is, you can hear about another’s story as well as refine your own. In the world of startups and the constant barrage of information and social media, it’s good to separate yourself from the pack by having genuine conversations with actual, memorable stories.
Feel like it’s all wishy-washy? Yeah, maybe, but check out a little about the people I’ve recently met just in the past couple weeks:
  • Allen Graber A local entrepreneur who has successfully navigated an exit in the late 90’s. Since, he’s a founding member of the Atlanta Technology Angels. He’s on the Board of startups, invests in many startups, and even started an accelerator program here in Atlanta to help early stage tech companies. All this, and he’s got a great family with two kids and a wife. I’ve had the privilege of meeting with him now a few times, and each time, I’ve enjoyed talking with him and hearing what’s made him successful. Definitely a great person I can now count on as a friend and mentor.
  • Stephanie Dylewski An educational consultant helping students position themselves for the right college(s)… arguably, their futures. She didn’t know it before, but she’s in a startup. In an early stage company with two employees with her and her CEO, she’s got to wear multiple hats to support the growth of the company. She left her days as an interior designer to pursue her passions working with kids and schools (put that undergrad psychology major to use!). She also blogs for the company Within Reach Education and admits that she’s been uncomfortable. However, she writes well, and it’s exciting to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s growth. Now, she’s introducing me to her CEO and the CEO’s husband who’s also an entrepreneur just to brainstorm ideas to grow the business and other thoughts. Pretty cool.
Stephaanie Dylewski of Within Reach Education
  • Jaime Benedetti Soccer coach over at a local university. Actually met him on the soccer field on Sunday, and ran into him at my local Starbucks. Very interesting to know he has a small financial firm Benedetti Gucer & Associates that enables him the latitude to pursue his passion in soccer.
  • Alan Honeycutt Co-founder and CTO of a startup called Yubixi – a friend discovery platform. How often do you move or you’re just looking for new friends now that you’re [many years] out of college and your social circle has shrunk? Yubixi helps connect you with people in the community with the same interests as you. Very new startup. I ran into him because these days when you see someone all geared up in Apple iDevices splayed all over the Starbucks table and earbuds in, there’s a good chance he’s an entrepreneur. So yeah, I just asked if he was working on a startup – I was right!
  • Steve WalkerOwner of Crossfit Chamblee. Okay, I met Steve a while ago, but he’s sitting across from me, so I figure I could include him as one of the interesting people I’ve met just by happy serendipity. Real cool guy, and he’s constantly working on the WOD and working to improve the experience for his CrossFitters.
Steve Walker and Crossfit Chamblee

Anyways, it’s always good to just unplug and reach out your hand and introduce yourself to the person next to you. There are interesting people everywhere who could be just interesting to meet, or could be more serendipitous from a grander vision. You’d never know unless you get yourself out there, and practice your personal story.

What are your thoughts about random connections and just free networking? How do you introduce yourself to others? Who’s someone interesting you met recently?
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