Brett Greene, co-founder of popular Meetup group New Tech Seattle, received an exciting invitation in April. He was chosen along with 50 other community organizers for the first-ever White House Tech Meetup.
“For me, the biggest takeaway was that Meetups aren’t just events,” he told GeekWire. “What they do is put people together that don’t just help each other, but they encourage people to go out and help others, too.”
Greene leveraged his career in marketing to form New Tech Seattle (originally Seattle Tech Meetup) with Red Russak in 2013, and last year launched a sister group, New Tech Eastside. He’s launching New Tech Tacoma in November.
He co-founded and advises social media marketing firm Boldly Social, is a contributor for the Huffington Post and serves as a mentor to Seattle entrepreneurs. Before event production and marketing, Greene worked for several years in the music industry.
“I used to turn people on to bands and music that changed their lives, and now I have the opportunity to turn people on to people, companies and products that can do the same,” he said.
Meet our Geek of the Week and continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
What do you do, and why do you do it? “I build communities because I love connecting people to resources that support their passions and help their careers and companies. I’m geeky about creating meaningful relationships and believe that giving first (coined by Brad Feld) creates fulfillment, joy and better collaborative cultures for all of us. Every day with New Tech I’m evaluating how to be more impactful with the entire Seattle culture and community, not just the tech community. Our partnerships with local non-profits like Washington State Opportunity Scholarship and Union Gospel Mission are a step in that direction.”
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? “No one is successful on their own. It takes many people — friends, family, neighbors, mentors, mentees, connections, colleagues, etc. for any of us to achieve our dreams. It’s more fun, impactful and meaningful when we actively contribute to each other, give first and give back. The more active we are in our neighborhoods and communities, the better our lives, and our communities, will be for it.”
Where do you find your inspiration? “My inspiration comes from people who create with an eye to inspiring and improving the lives of others. It’s easy to destroy, but it takes passion, determination, resolve and a strong heart to bring new opportunities, companies, products and services to the world.
There are books, like The Art of Living by Epictetus that I could name, but most of my inspiration comes from people like Einstein who expanded what we understood to be possible; Coach Pete Carroll whose ‘win forever’ philosophy is a stand for caring while competing with yourself to be the best at what you do and integrating your talents with your team while impacting communities through his A Better Seattle and A Better LA organizations; Elon Musk who created Tesla which is expanding the design and ecological impact of the auto industry; Steve Jobs; Bill Gates who created both Microsoft and the impact of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; our new generation of individuals embracing the Maker movement; and Paul Allen with all he’s created in business and technology while giving back to the Pacific Northwest arts, music, sports and educational organizations that make up our amazing culture in Seattle. It’s also inspiring to live in such a rich and beautiful environment where, even if we’re stuck in traffic, we’re able to look at huge trees and a gorgeous Sound.”
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? ‘My Macbook Air; almost tied with my iPhone. Most of my working days are spent on my MB Air. It’s my HQ and helps me with most aspects of my business and some of my personal interests.”
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? “Technically my working space is a standing desk with an external monitor. Especially helpful in setting up events on Meetup.com and Bizzabo as well as work on our new website. Honestly, with a MB Air, I work from a couch as often as possible because it’s comfortable with a view of trees and connection to a better sound system to listen to KEXP, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic stream or The Current’s live stream while working.”
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) “#1 – have a supportive spouse. #2 – have a hot tub to de-stress in and/or exercise regularly. Remember that family and friends come first. This is what all the work is for. Outside of that, find tools to help with productivity. Trello and Nimble have been amazing for me for productivity.”
Mac, Windows or Linux? “Mac hands down!”
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “Kirk — the original who set the standard.”
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? “Transporter; have you been in Seattle traffic lately?”
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would: “Do extensive research on what people want and would pay for before creating a product and trying to convince people to buy it. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Startups that succeed fill a need, have a great team to execute and can come up with other ideas if the first one proves to not be timely or wanted.”
I once waited in line for “An iPhone and I slept overnight. It was a great experience that I have no desire to replicate.”
Your role models: “Currently it’s Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. I realize this may seem cliche, especially from a guy who didn’t follow the NFL since junior high before moving to Seattle less than 3 years ago, but it is what it is. Pete and Russell do what they say and say what they mean. They are champions, focused, driven, optimistic, inspire others and give back at every opportunity. They create greatness and inspire it in others. Pete’s books, press conferences and interviews are a North Star for me, however hokey that sounds. #GoHawks”
Greatest Game in History “Donkey Kong; I’m old school”
Best Gadget Ever: “iPhone; though as someone who was in the music industry for 15 years I have to give a close second to the iPod for disrupting the industry the way it needed to be disrupted.”
First Computer: “Compaq portable; my wife geeks me out in this category. Her first computer was a Commodore 64.”
Current Phone: “iPhone 5s, soon to be a 6s.”
Favorite App: “Sunrise Calendar.”
Favorite Cause: “The Wild Animal Sanctuary.”
Most important technology of 2015 “Driveless cars.”
Most important technology of 2017: “Jet packs ….I wish.”
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: “Do what you love. Be who you are. Give first and give often.”
LinkedIn: Brett Greene