How do you make the most of Seattle tech? Build relationships

If you’re a recent Seattle transplant who works in tech, you might know what it’s like to feel a little, well, resented. Seattle’s growing really fast. To some locals, too fast. And the rampant hiring at tech companies, especially big ones like Amazon, seems like too much of a new ingredient stirring up the city they love.

Back in the late 1990s, Dan Shapiro faced a similar tension. There was a big tech boom, he’d been hired out of college to work at Microsoft, and Dan knew some people he met in the city wouldn’t love that.

“My solution to it was to own it,” Dan said. Early in a conversation with someone he’d meet, he’d make a point of bringing up exactly where he worked.

And that is precisely what he’d advise any new tech transplant to do today.

“It’s just about avoiding that awkward middle space where somebody who’s going to judge is going to get the judgment out of the way, and you can move on from there,” Dan said.

Dan went on from that job at Microsoft to run his first startup, sell a second one to Google, invent the most backed tabletop board game in Kickstarter history, write Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook, and co-create the most pre-ordered product ever, the Glowforge 3-D laser printer, which after some delays is due out later this year.

A lot of things have gone into his success. But Dan says an important piece was what he did to intentionally build a supportive network here, bit by bit.

People in tech like to compare Seattle to Silicon Valley, the nation’s bustling, hustling tech capital. To Dan, Seattle has one big advantage over the Valley that entrepreneurs should make the most of: Relationships.

“Because Seattle is manageably sized, it is far, far easier to build that network that you need to be successful, and one that’s far reaching and supportive,” Dan said. “Whereas in the Valley, you’re just one of the herd.”

Dan has some strong, candid insights about what it takes to make it in Seattle if you’re in the tech or startup industry. Or even if you’re just new to the city and want to figure out where you fit in. That’s why we’re inviting you to join us in a conversation with Dan next Tuesday, May 2, at Impact Hub.

>> Want to hear more on how we can build a great tech culture in the city and how you can make connections that help you succeed? Don’t miss our conversation with Dan Shapiro next Tuesday, May 2, at Impact Hub. Get your tickets here. Thanks to our event sponsor (and first Evergrey client!) Wealthsimple, which wants to help you manage your money smarter.