Is Treatings A Truly New Way To Connect Or Just A LinkedIn Variant?

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Is networking your most important marketing strategy? The bane of your existence? Or something in between?  A young entrepreneur from New York City quit his corporate job, borrowed a page from online dating sites, and created a platform called Treatings that he hopes will create a community with a new way to network and connect people.

The idea, now in beta in New York City, is that you can propose meetings with fellow members to learn about companies, industries and skills of interest, with the caveat of treating this person to a coffee, or a cocktail even.

“A year-and-a-half ago I was working in investment banking and decided to make a career change,” explains Treatings CEO and co-founder Hayden Williams in this eXprtViews YouTube video. “I wanted to speak directly to someone who had made that same transition, going from a corporate job to a start-up. I found out I didn’t have anyone in my network who had done that, and it frustrated me, because I knew there had to be tons of people in New York City who fit that description. I just didn’t know them.”

He figured there were other people who wanted to meet professionals outside their network, so he decided to provide an answer to that, quit his day job and made the leap to start-up entrepreneur.

While someone is building a professional networking platform, it stands to reason their own networking skills and efforts will be brought into sharper focus. Williams blogs about that in this Pando Daily piece.

The events I’m skeptical of are those where the major draw is networking. Or as some events are detailed in e-mail newsletters, “NETWORKING!!”

I’ve attended many great panel discussions and speakers,” writes Williams. “The events I’m skeptical of are those where the major draw is networking. Or as some events are detailed in e-mail newsletters, “NETWORKING!!” Pro-tip: Any time a networking event is marketed like a crappy apartment on Craigslist run the other way. Even when big name speakers are present, I’ve found that much of the potential networking value centers around serendipitous connections with fellow attendees. At most events, these latent connections remain just that — undiscovered.”

Do you share that same sentiment? How much time do you devote to networking each week? Each month? What’s the ROI?

While I genuinely like to meet new people, and am quite deliberate about doing lots of networking for lots of reasons, every time I clean off my desk (not often admittedly) I invariably come across piles of business cards collected in good faith at networking events, but which have only collected dust since.

Maybe in some of those cases there are in fact people who could help me find my next client, or refine my business offerings, or conversely, someone whom I could help.

But in a traditional coffee chat or networking setting you don’t really know what – or who -the other person knows, and it’s hit or miss trying to find that.

Treatings hopes to solve that with listings such as the ones below.

Claudia Piza Torres, Senior Research Associate, Latin American Venture Capital Assoc.

I’m looking to meet with someone has done a sustainable management masters program or course. Have you studied at Columbia’s The Earth Institute? Let’s meet!

Claudia Ramone, Insurance & Risk Management for Hedge Funds

I’m looking to speak with someone who needs insights on professional and management liability insurance for their start-up. I specialize in coverage for HF/PE/VC and tech companies.

Nikki Bogopolskaya, Senior Manager, Publisher Accounts at 33Across Inc.

I’m looking to meet with other curious minds in the New York digital startup space. My expertise includes biz dev + strategic partnerships, product dev and social media.

What do you think? Are you buying what Treatings is selling? Is it truly different or just a slightly more focused version of what we can already with LinkedIn? Would you participate if Treatings expands to your town?