My first experience with a Lunch Club connection
Today was my first Lunch Club meeting with an engineering manager. For those of you that don’t know what Lunch Club is, it’s an online tool that matches you with people with the same interests. Their website says it provides “Smart introductions to relevant people, giving curated 1:1 connections.” That’s accurate.
I actually really like the idea of meeting a random person with a similar background and similar interests. I don’t know if it matches people based on location, but my first “buddy” was from Washington, so maybe it does.
Anyway, Gaurav (my husband) and I often talk about how we do not really have much of a network outside of our friends and work colleagues. As we grow older, it gets harder to meet people outside one’s immediate social circle.
I’d say Lunch Club does a great job of bridging that gap. I don’t know if I’ll become really good friends with the people I’m matched with, but it still does a great job of allowing unstructured conversations between two professionals. With this pandemic and everyone working from home, I’d say I’ve had a hard time having even “just a chat” with a co-worker. We’re usually too busy with work and meetings, and meetings usually come with an agenda.
Additionally, Lunch Club also allows people with a motive (of sorts) to come and discover if the people they meet will aid them in fulfilling the motive.
For example, I’m writing a book about building startups, specifically for tech employees. During sign-up, Lunch Club allowed me to add “Meet startup founders” as one of the options of people I’m interested to meet. This allows its matcher algorithm to decide which type of people would be the best connections for me. So I go into these meetings with the hope that the people I meet will be able to give me something useful to add to my book. And even if a match does not have any history of founding a startup or being an employee in one, I still come away from that meeting with one new interesting person in my professional network.
In the same way, the person I got matched with today was an engineering manager who was looking to hire people in his team. And since I’m not really looking to move right now, he walked away with just a new connection to his LinkedIn network. But now that I know him, I’ll be sure to get in touch with him if I ever want to switch companies in the future.
To wrap it up, I’d say I love the idea of Lunch Club. It’s unique and refreshing, and it fills a gap that a lot of us didn’t know we had.
Now, I just have to find a way to interview the founders for my book ;)