Startup and Play co-promoters Patrick Shampine and Aaron Gerry first met at the ExitEvent Startup Social in February. So I feel somewhat responsible for making their event tonight a massive success.

Luckily, I thrive on just that type of pressure.

So read on.

Now Patrick is one of the guys I’m always happy to see at the Social. He’s got the kind of drive and determination I totally dig in an entrepreneur. And while I didn’t meet Aaron until a while later, he strikes me as that guy too.

Startup and Play was one of the events I was asked about at the last social, which I anonymously documented here (sorry fellas, you’re out). And as I said in that article, I’m all for it. Not only because it’s a good event take, but because in this area at this point in time, we still can’t have too many of these events.


Look. I know. I’d be an idiot if I said that there was no such thing as event fatigue. I’m hearing it. And I’d be juggling rainbows if I told you I didn’t think the RTP would get to the event-bubble point someday.

But it isn’t now. And it isn’t soon.

Why? Because an event is hard. A successful event is harder. A successful event that consistently provides value is damn near impossible. In an instant it can stop being about fun things like beer, friends, and ping-pong and can start turning into God awful things like work, time, and money.

Especially when you’re not paid to do it and its not all you do. Because you have to do other things that pay you. So you can do events. Because you think they’re cool.

Now, re-read those last two paragraphs and replace the word “event” with “startup.”

Tell me we’ve got too many of those.

But event fatigue is a whole other column. That one is coming. Soon.

For now, let’s talk about Startup and Play and why you should go.

Patrick and Aaron are focusing on bringing startups to the community, and by community they mean everyone. They chose consumer-centric startups to demo at their event for this very reason. Patrick threw a sports analogy at me (which further deepened my respect for the guy). He likes to think of this pursuit as building the same kind of loyalty as you would to your hometown sports teams. They plan on alternating between Raleigh and Durham.

The gamers were doing this with Raleigh Game On, and although that’s been on the downlow since August (see? hard), I thought the concept was brilliant. Get a dozen local game shops to bring their demos to a bar, and invite everyone to come and play.

This is the same thing but with consumer facing tech.

Aaron says that, ultimately, they want to promote innovation locally, by exposing the community at large to the startups, and also get the startups out talking with potential customers.

That’s you. So go.

There. And I’ve still got four minutes left.

Startup and Play is at 6:00 tonight at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh and you should register here. It’s free. They’re also very adamant about the fact that they’re not doing this for money, they’re doing it to inject community into the startup community.

And like I said, in the 2012 in the RTP, there can’t be too much of that.