Startup Event Advice From Arlo Gilbert

Arlo Gilbert, CEO of Baby Vida in Austin, Texas recently shared a Facebook post detailing his thoughts on providing alcohol at technology events for the Austin startup community. Gilbert previously spent over nine years in the DFW area before moving to Austin.  His work experience (minus CEO) included roles as investor, executive advisor, and chief marketing and strategy officer. So if you’re a startup planning an event soon, listen up.

Gilbert stated in his post that “30% of Americans don’t drink at all for whatever personal reason (this guy included). Sometimes religious, sometimes health, sometimes just personal preference.”

On the opposite side of the spectrum, another 30% of Americans struggle with alcohol dependence or abuse. From there, 12% become alcoholics.

“Add those numbers up and chances are very high that the awesome person you’d love to meet and do some business with in startup land doesn’t drink or doesn’t want to be around heavy drinking.” Gilbert continued in his post.

So if you’re planning an event, why should the choice to serve alcohol matter?

If the party has alcohol as its focus, he explained that this could potentially be excluding many attendees who would prefer not to attend this type of event.

Gilbert says that he has noticed an increase in startup events having alcohol as the main focus. From a pub crawl to a keg party, they all have the goal of getting drunk together. For professionals with a business focus for these events, it means  that they simply won’t attend. The startup could miss out on a great connection.

People who choose not to drink alcohol have fewer health problems, and won’t take a sick day or not be able to focus at work due to a hangover. Gilbert’s point is this: if your goal is to have a startup event to get drunk, so be it. If you seriously want to do business and network though, then place the focus on that goal, and plan your event accordingly.

Sophie Hatch