Timestamp - Chicago Startup Tech Dinner

I am invited to a dinner with other team leaders from other tech startup companies in the city. We meet at a comfortable restaurant and order cocktails. Out of our nine members, two are women. Eight are white. Two business founders, three engineers, two product managers, two marketers.

I spend the first third of the time swapping engineering stacks with the person next to me. He is “an expert on Facebook tech,” and an enthusiastic supporter of Flow and React Native. He doesn’t build in strict React Native, though: he builds apps based on a third party solution that manages React Native for you. His buddy is the founder of that third party. The app he is building has missed its expected launch date and his boss, across the table, is unhappy about that.

I spend the second third talking with my other neighbors about ICOs and blockchain technology. One is exploring the idea of making his own blockchain-as-a-company, though he doesn’t know any details of how it would function. Another is a serial founder of companies and believes that ICOs hold potential for “flexible money, with no downside, since you always get the money,” but also doesn’t know how blockchains function. Maybe his social connection app can have an ICO to raise money without involving venture capitalists, he says.

I spend the last third talking with other people about maintaining old motorcycles and whether personality tests should be used before interviews to determine the culture fit of candidates. They say that some companies are requiring the tests of all candidates before interviewing anyone. If the person doesn’t fit with their team’s past results, they do not proceed. Those companies also ask executive candidates to take the tests, but the executives refuse.