Not that they’re complaining, but project managers are apparently the Rodney Dangerfields of the start-up world. To outsiders, they’re the folks who call endless meetings while designers and developers are, you know, making stuff.

At the Refresh the Triangle Meetup last Thursday at Bull City Coworking, an audience member asked the project manager panelists when a startup would know when to hire them. The quick reply: Probably after it’s too late.

New startups don’t need project managers when they’re nothing more than a few MacBooks, some Red Bulls, and a dream. But eventually, someone has to organize all that frantic startup energy to meet the expectations of real clients. Every time a disorganized startup is scorched in the fires of a client’s fury, a project manager gets her wings.

The meetup, held in BCC’s nearly-renovated space on Duke Street*, attracted over 50 people hungry for insights like that. Unfortunately for me, they were also hungry for the free pizza and beer, which was gone by the time I arrived.

The audience was generally attentive, hungry for the secret knowledge that has been closely guarded by project management managers through the ages. They were also hungry for the free pizza and beer, which was gone by the time I arrived.

Note to future moochers—show up early to the next Refresh. Note to companies that sell t-shirts for babies: I am trademarking the phrase “Future Moocher.”

Hmm… I’ll need a website for those shirts, and a team to develop and design it. If only there were somebody in charge of keeping that all straight. Oh well. I’m sure those things will just take care of themselves.

The next Refresh Meetup is Thursday, June 28th at The Roxy in Durham. The theme is “Show and Tell: Crack Open Your Toolbox!” Tipsy nerds, assemble!

* a wide-open, two-story, wood-trimmed loft that screams “we used to make tobacco in Durham, but we’re cool now.”