The Value of Bumping Into People in the Hall: A Lesson from the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference
Twitter and Facebook have taken social networking to a higher level on the web, but I just got a reminder about the power of actually meeting people in person. I’m talking about the kind of interactions that happen when attending a jam-packed professional conference and bumping into a lot of smart people with similar interests. This was one thought that struck me this week on my way home to Seattle from the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
Like most everybody else there, my calendar was a relentless series of 30 to 45-minute meetings from dawn to dusk, followed by more networking at receptions late into the night. My official plan was to come away with a bunch of exclusive interviews, and help plan coverage priorities through the year.
But when I had a little quiet time on my way to the airport yesterday, I started thinking about what else happened during the trip, besides the planned stuff. And I started tallying up the names of all the people from Seattle biotech who I saw even though I didn’t schedule anything with them. I came up with 24 people I bumped into accidentally and chatted with briefly—and I didn’t have to tweet them or list my status. They are all working on newsworthy things, and a few of these chance meetings gave me a few new story ideas and insights.
So I decided to list the names of the people I met serendipitously, although my sample was admittedly concentrated over four days at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis. If you have any similar experiences from this meeting, or any other like it, and found some surprisingly valuable connection happened this way, please don’t hesitate to post a comment at the bottom of the story.
Stacie Byars. Director of membership, Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association. Met in hallway at St. Francis after SonoSite talk.
Meenu Chhabra. CEO of Allozyne. Met at the elevators in the Clift.
Tom Clement. Chairman of Pathway Medical. Met at the BioCentury reception.
David Fanning. CEO of Theraclone Sciences. Met at Canaan Partners reception.
Ken Galbraith. Managing director with Ventures West in Vancouver. Met on Powell St in front of St. Francis.
Carol Gallagher. CEO of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals. Met outside my hotel on Mason St.
Steve Gillis. Managing director of Arch Venture Partners. Met at the clock, lobby of St. Francis.
Monique Greer. Vice president of communications, Allos Therapeutics, formerly at Dendreon. Met at the clock, lobby of St. Francis.
John Harris. CEO of NeuroVista. Met at elevator bank, JW Marriott.
Rob Hershberg. Chief Scientific Officer of VentiRx. Met at elevator bank, JW Marriott.
Jim Johnson, Chief financial officer of ZymoGenetics. Met walking down Geary St.
Stefan Kraemer. Founder of Endogastric Solutions. Met at BioCentury reception.
David Miller. President of Biotech Stock Research. Met at airport on the way to the conference.
Peggy Pinkston. Director of communications, Seattle Genetics. Met before company presentation at St. Francis.
Julie Rathbun. Independent public relations consultant. Met at BioCentury reception.
Steve Reed. CEO of Immune Design. Didn’t actually meet, but saw him blitz through the lobby of the Clift.
Tom Reynolds. Chief medical officer of Seattle Genetics. Met after company presentation at St. Francis.
Chris Rivera. President of WBBA. Met at the BioCentury reception.
Alex Rives. Associate, Arch Venture Partners. Met at Sea-Tac while waiting for flight to conference.
Ben Shapiro. Senior partner, PureTech Ventures. Met in the hallway at St. Francis.
Clay Siegall. CEO of Seattle Genetics. Met after company presentation at St. Francis.
Martin Simonetti. CEO of VLST. Met on Powell St. outside the St. Francis
Todd Simpson. Chief financial officer of Seattle Genetics. Met at the company presentation at St. Francis.
Rick Stewart. CEO of Cardiac Dimensions. Met on the flight to the conference.
Cliff Stocks. Chief business officer of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals. Met after Canaan Partners reception, on the corner of Powell and Geary.