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The name sounded familiar. This company is a bit spammy anyway.

I am part of the Silicon Valley Java User Groups meetup. I got this e-mail from one of their employee in early March:


Hey fellow Dev's,

I'm a ux designer who just joined the community and I wanted to share info about a great service that seems super relevant for this crew - FounderDating (no, it's not romantic). FounderDating (FD) is an invite-only, online network for entrepreneurs to connect with cofounders. Why FD?

High Quality - members are carefully screened for quality and readiness (no recruiters, etc.) Applications and members’ identities are confidential, but a few of the folks who are part of the network are former founders or early employees from: stackmob, Salesforce, Zynga, Loggly and Gilt just to name a few.

Balanced - 50% engineering & 50% non-engineering

Reach- FD’s online network allows you to connect with people in your city and beyond to share ideas and begin building something you’re passionate about.

No Idea Necessary - FD is about the people, so you don’t need to have an idea, just be ready to work on a serious side project

The deadline is April 8th, so apply now. http://members.founder[redacted].com/application

Cheers and feel free to reach out to me off-list with questions, Abby


BTW, this is "Abby's" meetup page: http://www.meetup.com/sv-jug/members/8035133/. Not sure if she also goes by another name (Gail) or what. Let's give her the benefit of doubt.

Who joins a new meetup and right away sends plugs for their own project? At least, I don't think that's the norm.

I'll say they're spammy. This is the same form letter that gets posted to many tech-leaning meetups. It's started some pretty long, snarky threads on the mailing lists to the point where I had to unsub from one.

Oh, if you're worried that you missed the April 8th deadline, don't worry: the last email I got from them was on the 11th.

This ought to be a case study on how to make a not-terrible concept into a really unsavory mess.

I was asked to be a "Managing Director" of my local chapter of FounderDating when it unlocked. Basically this is a volunteer representative who wants to help out the community. While I was not in need of a co-founder, I knew a few people who did, and thought the network might be beneficial to them.

It's not surprising that you got this email; they basically sent us a few dozen stock emails and directed us to send them out to other groups in the area. I was happy to have them, as they cut down my work, but I changed some of the wording because I would never really talk that way. My guess would be this was part of the outreach effort of some newly recruited "managing director" who was trying to figure out how to contact user groups.

So while whether or not this is "spammy" is debatable, I wouldn't be so fast as to assume it is one person assuming different personas.

Yep, I've seen this exact text come through other Meetup groups many times here in the DC area. This wording has been in use for months. My email archive has this email sent to 6 different meetup groups going back to 2/14/2013.

Maybe Abby is Abby Beck, Designer Extraordinaire who makes user friendly products - http://founderdating.com/about/who-we-are-2/

On various meetup pages, Abby also describes herself as a designer.

I am sorry now I signed up to unlock my city.

I've had similar issues. People in my group asked me to stop approving FounderDating posts because they felt it was spammy. Clearly something needs to change with their tone and overall marketing because it could be a great resource for some people with project ideas!

Who do all those ManagingDirectors [sic] direct? Title inflation ahoy.

Those ManagingDirectors [sic] are not employees. I'm familiar with two of them. They are folks in the startup space, likely operating in an advisory role, probably brought on to lend credibility to the company. Or maybe they were brought on for access to their contacts.

This is as misleading as the stunt they pulled with spamming that poor guy's LinkedIn contacts. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

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