LunchMeet for the iPhone is now live and available for download, for the price of nothing! LunchMeet is basically a free add-on for the LinkedIn experience, allowing for LinkedIn users to meet with each other face to face, based on their location and availability. That is the brief and sweet “what” of it. You can download it for yourself to see the “how”.
And here in this post, I want to cover the “why”.
Over the last year I was working in sales and marketing for an international trade company, where I realized the difficulty in reaching people by phone and finding them at their desks when you need them in today’s fast paced business environment. On a day I was particularly frustrated by that difficulty, I made a trip to the café nearby for coffee, and (this being the downtown area) I realized that all around me in that café people were discussing business over coffee, conducting interviews, making new connections, etc. So the light bulb went on and said “This is why you can’t find people at their desks. The office is not necessarily where the business happens anymore.” That was the revelation that seeded LunchMeet. The app is a channel to access these new business venues. Further validation for the idea came from the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, which basically emphasizes the importance of nurturing one’s connections as an essential ingredient for success, and suggests that the lunch time is a terrible thing to waste by eating on your own when you could be meeting with new people or strengthening your existing connections.
Another way to think of it could be as an extension of the recent trend in social media, where apps and platforms like foursquare, meetup, facebook places, etc., bring people together in real life. I felt that LinkedIn itself could benefit immensely from this trend as well, but for most people LinkedIn still only works to digitize their existing connections. The goal of LunchMeet in that respect is to do the opposite: to take your digital LinkedIn network and turn it into real connections.
That was the top level goal for my team as we worked on designing an easy to use app that would allow you to meet new people and expand your professional network through meaningful interactions. Our hope is that you will find the app useful in this regard, and share your feedback with us as to how we could improve the experience. We really are looking forward to hearing from you.