Hit “The City” last night for the inaugural Shanghai Geek Dinner, hosted by Christine of The China Business Network.
It was the first “networking” event I’ve ever been to, and gave me a chance to whore myself a bit as well as finally put a dent in the massive pile of business cards I have.
But more than the business of it all, the dinner was a fantastic opportunity to finally put flesh and blood to the digital avatars that make up a big chunk of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances here in China. People I’ve know in some cases for a couple years, but have never had the chance to meet.
I headed to Shanghai at about 2 p.m., but after a mix-up with the Suzhou taxi driver (apparently my “火车站” sounds remarkably like “虎丘“), I missed my first train and didn’t end up arriving until nearly 5pm.
WARNING: copious amounts of name-dropping and site-linking follows.
However, I managed to high-tail it down to the Praxis Language offices (the folks that produce ChinesePod.com) and meet up with a load of people I’ve “known” for a long time, but never met – namely John Pasden, John Beisnecker and fellow Canuck, David Lancashire.
We then all headed down to the rather hip Moon River Diner and met up with the growing crowd of “geeks” (and one race car driver). The night really read like a “who’s who” of the Sinosphere. On top of finally getting to meet face to face with my friend Lonnie, eating BBQ with two of my coolest clients, I also got to meet some fellow bloggers: John, Dan/Kenneth, Adam, and Paul.
And as if this linkfest wasn’t approaching a tipping point – it was also very cool to meet Thalia from ChinaOnTV; as well as the folks behind iTV-Asia, the multifariously talented Corbett Wall and Mr. IWOM – Sam Flemming.
There were a number of other folks I met in conversation, but never got (or happened to lose due to wine) their names.
It was a fantastic time, and definitely worth the two high-speed train tickets to get there, and late/cramped trip back.