The Meetup Trade

David Brooks, New York Times columnist, has a piece up called The Sandra Bullock Trade which talks about how fame and fortune are no match for a good marriage. I agree with David on that one and consider myself very lucky to have found such a wonderful person as The Gotham Gal to spend my time on earth with.

Brooks goes on to cite research about things that make us happy and things that don't. And of course, money doesn't make us nearly as happy as solid relationships. But I was a bit surprised by this finding:

According to one study, joining a group that meets even just once a
month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income.

Our portfolio company is a bargain because you can join any group you want for free. It may cost you a small fee to attend the meetup but many of them are free to attend too. If you want to test this "joining a meetup group is better than doubling your income", go here and find one and see what you think. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    hilarious.and for tomorrows post “tweeting is better than sex”

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Hehehe. I love the upsell. 😛

    2. fredwilson

      i’ll save that post for chatroulette, if we invest

      1. Matt A. Myers

        If you invest in something like ChatRoulette make sure there’s a solid plan in place to highly enforce nudity issues, etc..When I’ve gone on ChatRoulette I’d see 10 year old kids and then the following 3 connections would be guys of all ages with their penis out. Sure, their parents are responsible for what they go to, and perhaps the kids curious, but yeah..Perhaps the above can be used as a way to monetize, but from what I see with ChatRoulette it’s more the instant utility that makes it so appealing and viral. There are ways around this that’d work though; I worked together about 3 concepts that will probably take off okay on their own, but added my own ideas into them to increase utility and intuitiveness and togetherness (cool/fun features for online interaction / dating but that’s just another of my big ideas that I don’t have the resources yet to do.)Fred, maybe this is something you could help me work though (or anyone else reading this I’d appreciate some guidance / ideas) – I have a lot of ideas, and many in different stages, and I know I can do them all, I just don’t know how to approach a VC about them. I don’t want to get a small amount of money for a piece of equity in all of my ideas. Perhaps it sounds messy, but I always think 5-10 years ahead of time and come up with sites I see existing then, and that my current projects would benefit from (and that globally all other sites would integrate).Maybe I need to sit down with a VC and tell them overall ideas, or the best of, and then if they’re interested in hearing more details and then negotiate equity?Sorry for the tangent, I do that sometimes.. I need to cut back on caffeine. 🙂

        1. Mark Essel

          Since you have the inspiration, and enthusiasm I’d humbly suggest focusing all your intensity into your favorite and most highly probable project. Then make it, refine it, change it and turn it into something I can’t resist (really I love when my attention is caught like a whip).

          1. fredwilson

            i agree with mark, pick one thing and go for it, build it and then talk to angels and VCs

        2. Dan

          > I just don’t know how to approach a VC about them.Don’t. The best position to be in is where the VC approaches you.As someone who also has a few ideas developed but not fully executed on just yet, I would say apply the resources you have, as Mark says, to your most promising project. If resources don’t include money, it isn’t hard to meet new people and politely ask them to use your consumer product.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Good points, thank you.

        3. Dave Pinsen

          Mark and Fred make good points; note the key words they use though, “make” and “build”. Unless you are a successful serial entrepreneur, it’s going to be tough to get anyone to invest in just an idea, no matter how great it sounds to you. My suggestion would be to triage your ideas and pick the most feasible one to start building. Your second paragraph suggests two possible ideas to launch, using ChatRoulette as a jumping off point.Think about how StockTwits used Twitter as a jumping off point for a specialized feed focused on stocks. Maybe you could build a KidRoulette, where parents could feel safe having their 10 year olds chat with other 10 year olds around the world. Or a SexRoulette (which could be further subdivided into gay, straight, fetish, etc.).Before you laugh off that second suggestion, consider the example of Peter Acworth. There was an NYT magazine article about him a few years ago. He was a finance Ph.D. candidate at Columbia before he dropped out to start his fetish porn web empire in the late ’90s. According to the article, as of ’07, his business was grossing ~$2 million per month.

          1. Mark Essel

            Wow Dave, great spins. I can see the temptation drawing your interest 😉

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Thanks, Mark. I’ll be here all week. 🙂

        4. Tereza

          Matt, in case you haven’t been nudged enough, you’ve got to read @msuster’s post on the topic.It’s called JFDI.http://www.bothsidesoftheta

      2. paramendra

        You should invest in Chatroulette. Email is not a bad app for delivering spam, Windows is not bad for viruses and spyware. Get in early and help shape it.

        1. Tereza

          Yep supports the USV investment thesis: using the web to get off on the web.Oops, meant ‘off the web’.

          1. paramendra

            I thought it was broadly “web services.” Using the web to get off the web is more narrowly defined, sharper.

          2. Tereza

            “Web services” is not a thesis. It is a vertical.

          3. paramendra

            Thanks for the education.

    3. ShanaC

      except when someone is tweeting about sex …..

  2. Jitle

    I greatly enjoyed this, thank you for sharing. Hope you and your family are having a wonderful time on your vacation. Paris is one of the last great cities I have not yet personally visited, I appreciate seeing it through your eyes for the time being.

      1. David Noël

        Shoot, saw that one too late!

      2. Mike

        Though I’m sure you don’t need it, as a former tour guide in Paris I can recommend a thing or two about the city. @mike_ivey

      3. Matt A. Myers

        Make sure to try some Alsatian wine – it’s the region where my mother’s family is from and where she grew up. Some nice little towns to travel through too.If you have a chance you should visit the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle. It’s near Strasbourg (about a 15 minute train). Strasbourg is about 2 hour train ride from Paris.”CHATEAU HAUT-KOENIGSBOURGKing’s Fairy Tale Castle along Alsace Wine RoadOne of the most popular tourist sites in the Alsace Region near Strasbourg, France the Chateau Haut-Koenigsburg (High King’s Castle) was first built in the 12th Century on a strategic hill in the Vosges mountains just west of Sélestat … ” – http://www.bargaintraveleur…Castle’s official website: http://www.haut-koenigsbour…Wine info:

      4. paramendra

        You in Paris? Let me go check.

      1. ShanaC

        I know, I am thinking of stealing a recipe there for a bridal shower…..(they asked to bring a recipe…)

  3. Scott Reynolds

    That’s interesting – I would like to know what the starting point for ‘doubling’ is. This TED talk: opines that $60k/yr is the rough pinnacle of happiness as far as income goes.A good marriage, good community and a great network of friends, family and others is certainly far superior to money. I personally use Meetup to run an amazing group in Pasadena, CA and can attest to its ability to create community in a very unique way.

  4. onsip

    Interesting idea. Meetup is great. I found a fun, BYOB art class in Hoboken for $10 on MeetUp. It’s a great activity for an artistic couple! So, yes, the purpose of Meetup aligns quite well with Brooks’ article. -Nicole @OnSIP

  5. Austin Bryan

    Meetup: Facilitating Double-Your-Income Happiness Since 2001.

    1. fredwilson


    2. paramendra

      (MeetUp CEO) Scott should add this line to his usual refrain: People, Self Organized.

  6. kidmercury

    meetup is fantastic for grassroots politics — meetup is one of the most powerful tools for the 9/11 truth movement, and for ron paul/campaign for liberty supporters. don’t be a shamefully weak and ignorant american who boasts about how great our country is while tolerating 9/11 and the imperial agenda it has facilitated. join your local 9/11 truth meetup group today to do your part in changing the world for the better! it’ll boost your personal happiness too!and for citizens of planet earth located outside the united states (apologies if i offended anyone there! :)), chances are there is a 9/11 truth group in your home too! while it is obviously not your responsibility, the american people will probably not take responsibility for their government (too busy talking about how great we are!), and so you may get invaded/bombed too unless you take action! 9/11 truth = world peace!hooray for meetup, one of my favorite internet companies, for the contribution they are making to 9/11 truth and thus to world peace. indeed, that will bring happiness to all! i hope, should any government of the world insist meetup turn over names or something, something the US government can easily do via the humorously named patriot act, that they will choose to remember the words of thomas jefferson: “resistance to tyranny is obedience to god.” (replace god with some other positive, aspirational word if you don’t like the g word).phew, now i’m fired up. thanks for giving me the opportunity to make the connection between meetup and 9/11 truth. granted, you could have blogged about french fries and i would have found a way to connect it to 9/11 truth, but meetup is an especially suitable vehicle. thanks boss!

    1. fredwilson

      apparently the tea party movement is all over meetup right now

      1. kidmercury

        There’s the fake tea party movement — sarah palin, glenn beck — and the real tea party movement (ron paul, campaign for liberty). Truth is getting popular so the feds have to try to co-opt it. That’s why I stick to 911 truth, really hard to co-opt that (but of course people are willfully ignorant, so that is always a problem). When they have to try to co-opt 911 truth they will do so where they blame the US entirely for it and present world government as the “solution” to warring nation states. Kooks know that a global faction involving MI6 and Mossad was involved in 911, so, as always, full pursuit of the truth can set us free.

      2. andyswan

        Watch out at those tea-parties…..I hear those people are crrrrrrrraaaaazzzzzzzyyyy gun totin Yosimite Sams ready to turn violent at any second!Just look at the pictures:

        1. kidmercury

          pajamas media, andy……..of course, like most americans, pajamas media cannot transcend the left right paradigm, their ego is too attached to it, and thus they will permanently get everything wrong, failing to realize left and right are the same disaster with a different face…..and palin is a disaster, an embarrassing and laughable one, quite unfortunate that she has hijacked the tea party movement

          1. andyswan

            I agree….I’m just sayin for all the “angry violent white men” bullshit the state media is putting out, I know where I’d rather take my 4 year old.

          2. kidmercury

            that article is probably largely true, but that only explains whypeople perceive things in a left/right paradigms — but beneath theleft story and the right story is the same truth. put another way,left is communism, right is fascism. but they are the same thing. forinstance, universal healthcare sounds communist (free healthcare forall! hooray!), but the fact that the pharamceutical companies draftedit and benefit from it shows that its fascist (use of government toenrich corporations at the expense of people). to unite left andright, all we need is the truth that sets us free.

      3. MikeSchinkel

        The Tea Party: Giving structure and a voice to anti-government militias since 2009! 😉

    2. paramendra

      “….granted, you could have blogged about french fries and i would have found a way to connect it to 9/11 truth….”Ha!

  7. Mark Essel

    This post rings true for me. Look at my icon, I’ve gone against all conventional wisdom and shared my visual space with my better synaptic half :D. I’ve never been as happy as I am today with my fiance Michelle (we’re getting married May 30th!).As to, I thought it was cool when I first checked it out, but it struck me as nearly “mainstream” when a friend uses it to get together to go out to eat once a month with a group. They just go out to nice restaurants and socialize, kinda like foodroulette, something I can get excited about.

    1. RichardF

      Hey Mark congratulations and have a great day.

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks Richard, today’s been fantastic so far. Michelle and I are excited about the wedding and the Honeymoon in Maui. We haven’t gone on vacation in a few years

    2. fredwilson

      wow. i had no idea you are about to get married. congrats!

      1. Mark Essel

        We’re both really excited, thanks!My fiancé unknowingly got me started on the path to entrepreneurship back in 2007. It was then that I decided if I could be that happy sharing my life with her, maybe I could enjoy what I do for a living more.I had always been frustrated by how my industry was very slow to change, and how little influence I could have on direction, and that I had zero customer interaction (systems engineering for remote sensing tech). Eventually that lead to time off, lots of reading/blogging and then an irresistable desire & decision to build a business. Having an impact matters much more to me now, and Michelle has been very supportive of my schedule (I sneak out of bed to my computer at night or read in the early am with the brightness turned down on my phone).

        1. ShanaC

          Now if you could only convince some 20 somethings of the same sort of message……..

    3. kidmercury

      congrats on tying the knot. we should hold a bachelor party in fredland.

      1. RichardF

        we should hold a bachelor party in Vegas!

        1. Mark Essel

          Now we’re talking!

          1. RichardF


      2. Mark Essel

        Thanks Kid, my brother and friends (most from out of state) are planning a good hike and a sunrise BBQ out east. It’ll be good to catch up with them, I haven’t seen some of them for years.I chat with many Fredlanders as much as my offline friends, it’s amazing how a shared goal and ecosystem can bring out our enthusiasm & participation. You’ll see pictures of the wedding and Maui for sure.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          A hike + a sunrise BBQ as a bachelor party? Your brother and friends are getting off easy.

      3. karen_e

        Congrats to you, too Mark. If we’re talking Fredland parties, by the way, I’m due to have a baby in 7-14 days. Hubby/dad is a Fredland reader, too. Kid, I’m counting on you to pop the champagne when the time comes. It won’t be the same without the blessing of you-all. And I am flexible about champagne vs. Pappy 23.

        1. andyswan

          May your first child be a masculine child.

          1. paramendra


        2. Tereza

          Woo-hoo! Meetups that multiply. Now we’re talkin’!

        3. kidmercury

          Damn mark you totally got one upped here by karen….new baby totally blows away marriage….you thought you had the spotlight and then karen came in and dropped the baby card….damnCongrats karen! Looking forward to the fredland celebration. I try not to drink too much these days, definitely not bourbon like that crazy man andy, but a birth I think calls for an exception. Looking forward to sharing a virtual champagne toast with fredlanders!

          1. Tereza

            Can we have an online baby shower for her on AVC?We can each give her a parenting tip.Here’s one: sleep when the baby sleeps.Another: have your husband spend along time with the baby, starting early on, and make it a regular thing.What else?

          2. kidmercury

            oh man… know i have tons of doom and gloom baby tips, but whowants to hear that….even though it is quite possibly the mostimportant information in the world, rivaling 9/11 truth (like thepersonal version of 9/11 truth)……but since you started it, tereza,i now have the pretext i need (thanks!):well, if i had to pick one tip, it would be to please researchvaccines! especially if you have a baby boy, as boys are 10X as likelyto have autism. the HPV vaccine for girls is bad news too. again don’ttake my word for it, i’m a full blown kook, but research for yourselfand you will see. there are plenty of passionate mothers (and fathers)who have had healthy, wonderful children, then took them into thedoctor, the doctor gives the vaccine, the kid gets sick, the parentalinstinct goes off and the parents get concerned about something beingdeeply wrong, the doctor says “no no everything is okay, trust me i’ma doctor, look at my magical white coat, i can never be wrong aboutanything, AMA says so” and then a couple weeks later BOOM! happyhealthy kid is permanently ruined. these parents can share their storyand honest doctors can confirm and provide scientific evidence.political kooks can expose pharamceutical lobbying, and how all ofthis will get worse as obamacare becomes the pretext for forcedvaccination. even if you are not in the USA, the story is the same inmost parts of the world (worst in africa….by design)well anyway, that’s my tip. hope it helps and congrats again!

          3. Mark Essel

            I’m now scared shitless of vaccines, thanks Kid. Fortunately I already avoid doctor’s like the plague. Only see them if you have to, checkups are like asking brokerage if you should buy or sell a stock, their answer is always YES, and a doctor’s answer is always take medicine A, B, C, and see specialist X, Y, Z and by the way you are fat Mark stop eating so damn much and jog marathons walking 80miles per week is no good, sprint 150miles per week.

          4. kidmercury

            Agreed. Doctors are like mechanics and lawyers. They always see something wrong, and the only solution is for you to pay them to fix it. Doctors are even worse because medicine is highly regulated and about to become more so. So the only solution will be prescription drugs. Bye, bye, natural medicine. Hello forced vaccination!

          5. Tereza

            Hey hey hey come on! Do you know any pediatricians? If anything, under the current (recent?) system, they don’t get paid that much. They do it because they love children. One of the nicer lots of people you’ll meet.They are smart people who have their bullsh*t meters on too. If they’re friends with you, they’ll give you the inside scoop.There are plenty out there attuned to homeopathy, non-Western medical practices and the like.Pick someone your age who’s going thru the parent cycle maybe a couple of years ahead of you, so they are experienced but attuned to what you’re going through.Don’t pick a big-name older doctor, because they’ll retire when you still need him and you’ll need to build a new relationship from scratch.You must must must find one that you like and trust.

          6. kidmercury

            Those people will be put out of business soon enough. Doctors who recommend laetrile, a natural cure for cancer, are basically ostracized from the medical community. Medical researchers who expose aspartame, the sugar substitute that destroys the brain, suddenly lose their research grants.

          7. Tereza

            I hope not, Kid. I think there are more and more of those kind of doctors. And I’m sure you’ve read “The Hundred Year Lie”. Which was mind-blowing.Do be cautious about ‘cure for cancer’ talk, though. At least with people while they’re struggling with the disease. I’m not directing this at you specifically, Kid, but since you brought up the C word…I watched my mom with Stage 4 and a grapefruit-sized tumor being cheerfully told by friends things like “Eat blueberries and broccoli — they fight cancer!” People unwittingly engage in ‘blame the victim’ talk. It’s just a veiled way of trying to convince themselves that they’re above being hit with the C bullet.Sometimes the bullet comes along. It might have your name on it. If it does, it’s really bad luck. But not your fault, nor anyone else’s.I’m not saying there aren’t causes, nor that it’s not worth fighting. Just when exploring the ‘why’s’ , do it without the victim in the room. He or she needs to be focusing on making their own days really awesome. And not stressing out that they should’ve eaten more blueberries.

          8. Tereza

            Mark — Just to quell your concerns, there are two sides of the story on that one. For sure, when you are trying to decide whether to inject your 7 lb newborn baby with chemicals, you need to be educated. And the industry is definitely aligned to encourage you to vaccinate.The book I reco on that is: “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders”Written by an MD, he offers a plan for vaccination; namely try to avoid the combined (3-in-1) shots and instead separately, spread them out over time and give them later. BUT….each time you come in is a doctor’s visit, which means insurance copay, time lost, baby suffering from a needle, and the doctor may not have the single-shot vaccines in stock so they need to special order more expensively. Trust me when I say this whole situation is not clear-cut.If you ask most pediatricians what they do with their own kids, they vaccinate.And BTW most doctors lean toward under-, not over- medicating their own kids.Select a pediatrician who has kids of his or her own. Always ask if s/he has done whatever procedure with his own kids. Unless they’ve had kids themselves, they cannot understand all the considerations you need to balance.Become friends with your pediatrician. Always be gracious. Don’t cry wolf. You want them there for you when you need them. Trust me, you will.

          9. Mark Essel

            Pro advice Tereza, I’m humbled by your generosity.

          10. Tereza

            It takes an AVC village, my friend.

          11. fredwilson

            I have taken every vaccine I’ve been allowed to take and have made sure ourkids have done the sameProphylactic medicine is the best medicine

          12. Tereza

            Hey Kid — there are a few other “parenting industrial complex” areas I think you would enjoy digging around in. Controversial! One is diapers, the other is baby formula. Both supported by massive industries, and both present at much higher levels/proportions in the US than any other country. Trust me, you’ll have fun peeling the onion back on those.

          13. kidmercury

            Thanks for the bad news tip. Looking forward to some weekend doom and gloom reading!

          14. Tereza

            Enjoy, Kid!

          15. ShanaC

            The socratic method doesn’t work on children until after age 3, sometimes 4. They need to understand cause-effect in order to use basic methods of the socratic method to understand why something is good or bad…

          16. Mark Essel


        4. ShanaC

          Mazel tov- may the kid be healthy.

        5. Mark Essel

          Congratulations Karen, what an exciting time for your family!!

          1. karen_e

            You could be next! You know what they say, first comes love, then comes Fredland, then comes marriage, then comes all manner of offspring in the baby carriage!

          2. Tereza

            I heard she’s already pregnant.KIDDING!

    4. Dave Pinsen

      Not news to me, but congratulations nonetheless.

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks Dave, she hasn’t opened the cookbook yet and we haven’t used the certificate. It’s tough finding a free day (I’ll try this weekend).

        1. Dave Pinsen

          That was for the comment contest, not for you getting married. But I hope you two enjoy it nonetheless.

    5. andyswan

      Congrats Mark! I’m no fan of multiple faces in an ID photo, but I’ll let it slide for a while 🙂

      1. Mark Essel

        It’s the finest representation of who I am 😉

    6. ShanaC

      That’s soon….(and congrats…again)

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks Shana 😀

  8. disqus_gMYl6DaFua

    Fred – Thanks for the post. I couldn’t agree more. By any chance, do you have a link to that study?

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t. david brooks probably does.

  9. NickNYC242

    Fred, could you explain exactly why you think ChatRoulette would be a good investment? I see the popularity (think AOL chatroom with video) reasons, but not the monetization, or how this kid’s code becomes a communication path? I think this fits into the “novelty” folder as we’re not reinventing the wheel – and I feel like Skype or a similar provider could add a nugget of code to allow them the same functionality. Hell, it even seems like a good acquisition plan for an upstart video messaging/conferencing site.Sorry – somehow the Discus login process removed this comment from the ChatRoulette thread below.Additionally – MeetUp’s PR crew owes you one. Nice tie-in.

    1. fredwilson

      i can’t answer that question yet Nick which is why i’m not sure we wouldinvest if offered the opportunityi hope to have a chance to engage in serious conversations with Andrey buthaven’t done that yet

  10. Rana

    12$ per month to start a new meetup, that is outrageous

    1. fredwilson

      on what basis is that outrageous?you can use meetup to charge for attendance and actually make a profit ifyou want toand meetup provides the entire suite of services for the entire meetup groupfor free for everyone in the group for one organizer fee

      1. kidmercury

        did it used to be free? i swore it used to be free….but maybe i’m well i wouldn’t call it “outrageous,” and i sympathize with everyone’s need to make a buck, especially when the government is slamming you first with taxes and second with inflation. but a $12 setup fee is begging competition to come in and under price. i’d also argue its anti-freeconomics. so, while i find it “outrageous” to describe meetup pricing as “outrageous,” i prefer the word “disappointing.” but as i noted, we all have to make a buck, so, it is what it is.

        1. fredwilson

          it was free about five or six years agothey went with a paid model for organizers only and have stuck with it sincethen

          1. Rana

            It is not a setup fee, 12$ per month is usage fee. So if any one wants to start a new group, he/she should def. have to charge the users,which is counter productive. Users simply dont want to join a group and catch 22…few members would join and the group would die….Why not base the price on number of users in a group …so for smaller groups 1$ a month if they all do is meet once in a monthI use google groups rather than pay the fee

          2. kidmercury

            it’s $12 per month?!??!? lol, well, businesses do have the right to charge for their services, but i must admit, we are getting closer to the “outrageous” point…..but i still like them for their contribution to the 9/11 truth movement. they’ve helped a lot on that front. hopefully they can use their revenue to build some great stuff.

          3. Rana

            Yes.Go to the site and try to create a any will see…I personally think that kind of fee would seriously kill new users…may be if they charge every group 6 months after signing up would be a good ideal..but still 12$ for a group and basic calendar…is too much……

          4. ShanaC

            A) ScalingB) I suspect over time they’ll be more resources offered to people who organize meetups about how to succesfully organize all sorts of events. A meetup of meetups of sorts…and that money will be fairly used.

          5. MikeSchinkel

            $12/month is outrageous? I’ve used Google Groups for things and I’ve seen other’s use Facebook groups and few of them ever grow (unless they are completely virtual.) Meetup does things for meetup organizers that Google/Facebook groups simply don’t do and that is market your group for you. The only time when Meetup isn’t worth $12/month is when you are organizing a meetup that few people will want to attend or that your organizing skills are lacking in which case getting to use Meetup for free wouldn’t.Locally there are people who try to organize groups but won’t pay the $12/month for Meetup. I try to convince them otherwise but then I watch their efforts wither up and die because they can’t find people to attend their meetings. Meetup solves that problem, and for only $12/month.Unless you are referring to countries where the GNI[1] is on the lower end of the scale, $12/month is more than a fair price. (I’ve actually asked them numerous times to *raise* their price, at least for premium services. I figure if they raise their price they’d actually finally give me the added functionality that I need. But I digress.)If you are referring to lower GNI countries, then I agree. It would be really nice it Meetup could set prices on a per-country basis to support people hosting Meetups in countries with lesser incomes.[1]

    2. andyswan

      This marks the first time I’ve heard $12/month called “outrageous.”I mean even if I knew someone that spent $12/month on tootsie rolls, I wouldn’t use the term outrageous.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      People like to pay for things, they get more value out of it, feeling of getting more value out of it I should say. As as Fred said it also fits the need of providing a tool to manage paid seminars, etc..I too didn’t know was a pay model but it makes more sense to me now. It’s a simply brilliant model if you think about it.

  11. Dave Pinsen

    If memory serves, studies have shown that relative wealth and income have more of an impact on happiness than absolute numbers, i.e., you are happier when you’re doing well compared to your friends and those in your social circlegraph*. Same is probably true of socializing. Take someone with a calendar full of parties and events with friends and add that monthly group and the psychic benefit probably won’t be so high.*Did I use “social graph” correctly there?

    1. kidmercury

      i believe you used graph correctly there. though i generally think graph and circle are interchangeable. graph sounds fancier, though.and yes, relative wealth is what i recall as well as being important. that is why there are lots of happy people in poor countries. because everyone’s poor! hooray!it’s also why NOT having friends can lead to happiness….who wants to keep up with the joneses? better to just keep up with yourself. you’ll be happier that way!so, ironically, being poor and lonely is a way to maximize happiness! lol

  12. Tony_Alva

    A good one from DaBo. Thanks for linking to it.

    1. fredwilson

      tony alva is in the house!

      1. paramendra

        Who is Tony Alva? Tony, please introduce yourself.

  13. Rob K

    shameless plug. 🙂

  14. andyswan

    This article completely misses the point. Who cares if marriage or money get you more happy points? These are not mutually exclusive.The best response, as usual, is “why not both?”Build great value within your family. Build great value within your occupation. Constantly create value, and enjoy the fruits that result.

    1. fredwilson

      and drink some pappy too

      1. andyswan

        The cherry on the sundae of life.Sent from my Millennium Falcon

  15. heif

    Thanks fred & all…btw, we just published some interesting stats a few mins ago:'s data of what happened after we instituted our “outrageous” feewe’re profitable (sustainable!) by charging for a product worth paying foralso… (and this is news…) we just dumped google adsense(no ads, except our booming & awesome “community sponsor” business)viva la community!Scott HeifermanCo-Founder/CEO, Meetup@heif

    1. fredwilson

      a million rsvps a month?if joining a meetup is equal to doubling your income, you are generating billions of dollars of value

      1. heif

        is that your valuation offer for our next round?(if we had a next round)

        1. fredwilson

          the beauty of meetup is you’ll never do another round because you are profitable!

          1. heif


        2. paramendra

          Ha ha! Scott, I like that.:-)Why did you dump AdSense? Was it not making enough money for the real estate it took?I wish MeetUp had a closer integration with Facebook and Twitter.

  16. Harry DeMott

    Not sure where I saw it (I’m sure someone on here read it as well), but there was a great post recently on how the web was creating weak links between people. These were not necessarily true friends, but acquaintances or people of common interest – but not necessarily true BFF’s. (Of course the social web could generate these BFF’s, but didn’t always)I always thought of Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Aniston – whose personal lives seem to be a mess – and I kept thinking that they basically got involved with folks who were weak links – more people who had some sort of similarity (famous, rich etc…) but no deep long lasting link.You contrast that with someone like Courtney Cox who married David Arquette (sort of an actor – crazy dresser etc…) but they seem to have come upon success and fame together – rather than get together after becoming famous. And they seem to work.I play a ton of paddle tennis (and am currently out with a torn meniscus) and that regular socialization with a group of friends brings me great enjoyment – real positive utility that I never quite realized I had – till I was forced out of it for the past 3 months.Humans are social animals – thus the growth of the social web – and while I have never used meetup – the concept is strong – use the web to go beyond the superficial friends where the interaction is largely asymmetric and somewhat meaningless (anyone really care if I got up another level in Mafia Wars – or built a larger Farmville farm – no offense Zynga fans) – and get out there for some real interactions.

      1. Harry DeMott

        Nice video. Reminded me of Wallace and Grommet. I could see them coming out of their strange world to meet up with other fanciers of Rube Goldberg automation engines. Better call Nick Park and tell him to get on it.

    1. heif

      I saw that via this tweet:…Claims to be new research, but it’s based on data from 2004-2005.Frankly, I think it’s too simplistic — AND OUT-DATED — to say that the internet is creating weak links — or that online interaction is lonely.The future has online & offline blurred… and as this blog shows, the connections made purely online are awesome, real, and wonderful.Meetup is just 1 [important] part of how the internet will connect people (and organize people) in very positive new ways.

      1. Harry DeMott

        Here’s where I saw it:…Umair Haque wrote it on his Harvard Business Review site.He calls it thin relationships.To some degree I think he is correct to some degree. When I see my daughters babysitter on Facebook – and she has 2000 Facebook friends – I have to assume that she is not actively involved with any or all of these folks – perhaps people have 100 real relationships.Of course this is not the whole point as you say – the advent of all the social media means that you will likely develop many more “thin relationships” but out of all of these – there is a far better chance of you developing some very real relationships – and that is great.

        1. ShanaC

          A) Age?B) Outgrowing some relationships- we all change over time? I expect the chemistry here not to last forever. We all will become something different as individuals, and this place surely will not last because of that sheer fact.C)Pollution of social networks as a result?D) her taste of who she friends? Maybe facebook is inherently superficial for her?

      2. ShanaC

        Something I find interesting, Scott, and something I wish would be studied, is the impact of online friends on in person friends. Some of them did translate to in person. Some of them impacted other in person friendships, made some stronger, some weaker.And I am not sure why. It is a totally new frontier in the social sciences, because we’ve really changed how people connect. It used to be only through letters….

      3. Vinay Singh

        Scott I love meetup. I have been able to attend so many events with its help. Makes it so easy to create a group and invite people. And did I say that business model is pretty cool !!

    2. ShanaC

      I keep thinking when I read this:Choose good mentors, and keep in touch with them.

  17. HowieG

    My pursuit has always been Happiness over money. In LA in the Underground Music Scene money is left at the door, image is left at the door, they just want your heart, soul and a smile and that you care and know great music. Most people who have an overabundance of fame or fortune or both have had massive suffering at some point to pay for it…some self inflicted others not…see Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Robert Downey Jr, Charlie Sheen, Bernie Madoff, Jeffery Skilling even Ladanian Tomlinson.Better to be someone happy sitting in a field of roses with just enough to get by than being rich and miserable.

    1. fredwilson

      we are going to show LT some love in NY

  18. paramendra

    Does showing up for the NY Tech MeetUp every month count? They charge me though. Whatever happened to the best things in life are free thingie?How about an community MeetUp in NYC? We have a Twitter list, we have a list of blogs by commenters. Now we could go offline.

  19. ShanaC

    Meetup is inherently interesting- it provides some basic structure for group meetings, and it could do more to help (and that may be part of the long term business structure) but otherwise it is part of the DYI web. It is inherently there so you can help yourself….

  20. sigmaalgebra

    Joining a group better than more money?Of COURSE! Uh, there’s a book, by E. Fromm, ‘The Art of Loving’, from about 1947, since republished by Cowles or some such. The book, uh, is not a manual of pairs gymnastic exercises or very close to what I’ve heard about Chatroulette!There Fromm says something like: “The fundamental problem of life is handling the anxiety that results from our realization that we are vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature and society. Only four means have been found to relieve this anxiety: (1) Love of God. (2) Love of spouse. (3) Membership in a group. (4) Suppression with ‘orgiastic’ behavior, drugs and promiscuous sex.”Actually, I would add (5) money in the bank, but Fromm did NOT include that! I suspect that he had heard of money and did not just overlook it! So, Fromm thinks that (3) membership in a group works but my (5) money in a bank does not, is a zero. So, easily enough membership in a group is worth more than twice zero, 10 times zero, 1 googleplex times zero. Twice as much is trivial!Uh, as an exception, maybe Fromm’s (4) might have some overlap with Chatroulette! Yes, there was that girl I dated in college; I was surprised that she read Fromm, but apparently she only read about (4)!Uh, then for Fromm’s (2) love of spouse, a question is, what is that? From the divorce statistics, can suspect that many people don’t know! Well, Fromm has what people who have not read his book could regard as a secret scorecard! He says that each of the two persons should (1) freely give knowledge of themselves to the other person, (2) really care about the other person, (3) really respect the other person, and (4) readily respond to the other person. I would throw in (5) really honest with the other person, but, again, I have to suspect that Fromm thought of this and dropped it! Ah, I lose out to Fromm again!So, that’s the secret list of criteria! If you are dating and thinking of marriage, then evaluate your candidate spouse on these four points!Ah, some people say that Fromm wrote lots of books and later changed his mind. So, if don’t like his advice, then here’s a reason to reject it! But if do like his advice, then here it is!This advice is from the first half of his little book; the second half is heavily about religion. Uh, I try not to get involved in that! I went to a college with a terrific math department and was a math major, but the school also happened to have some church support so talked some about religion. As a result, I went in an agnostic and came out an antagonistic! So I didn’t pay much attention to the second half of Fromm’s book and am not trying to use Fromm’s (1) Love of God.Actually, eventually the school got around to P. Tillich and his idea that people have an “ultimate concern”. Maybe he had a point. They also talked about addressing various gut twisting moral and ethical dilemmas. Hmm ….Yes, I confess, Fromm or not, I’m going for my (5) money in the bank!

    1. ShanaC

      I’ve heard good things about Fromm- is it worth it?

      1. sigmaalgebra

        “Worth it”?It’s a thin book and can be a fast read except for the time thinking about the content.I just checked: Amazon has it new from them for $10.07 and from others, new and/or used, for $4.90. Hmm …?Here I gave Fromm on the central problem in life and how to know a couple is really in love, both in just a few lines. Also gave his explanation, from 1947 or so, on why membership in a group means more than money as in Fred’s start for this thread. “Worth it”?So, the central problem in life has only four means of relief. So, when you observe someone’s behavior and want an explanation of what they are doing, e.g., so have a shot at predicting what they WILL do, right away you have a list of only four things such that with decently high probability the person is doing one or more of just those four. That narrows the candidate explanations a LOT!Or, when you see someone doing one of those 4, then can guess that they are trying to address the central problem in life.Exercise: For each of the 4 means, find some examples in the news!Also you have a little secret scorecard you can use to evaluate if a relationship really is love! That might be worth something somewhere in life! Uh, once I saw a family that looked like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting of an ideal family. So, great! Right? Hmm. So get out Fromm’s scorecard: (1) Knowledge. She said proudly “You don’t know what I think”, and she was correct. She told her daughters and maybe her sister what she thought and never gave a hint to anyone else including her husband. She made sure that at all the family gatherings she did all the talking, as from “My Fair Lady”, about the weather, etc. and angrily interrupted anyone trying to talk about anything else. So, she didn’t say anything and made sure no one else did, either. Her husband, a great guy, really good at talking to lots of people about nearly anything, had long since quit talking to his wife. (3) Respect. She actually had enormous contempt for men, marriage, and her husband. (4) Responsiveness. She wouldn’t respond to her husband from anything less than a 2 x 4 broken over her head, and he was too nice a guy to do that! Conclusion: Norman Rockwell images aside, the family was a DISASTER. (2) Care about him? I won’t go into that; it’s too grim.So, it’s really easy to see some people, notice that they are a bit insecure, likely from struggling with Fromm’s fundamental problem in life, seem to be speaking cliches from a script, and are not actually responding directly to what they hear in a conversation. So, what are they doing? Sure: They are trying to address their anxiety by joining a group. The group has some scripts with cliches, and the person just recites those. Exercise: Find some examples on TV and in politics!There’s one more from Fromm: WARNING, very HIGHLY politically INcorrect! Fromm says that it was the French Revolution that gave Western Civilization the presumption that any difference was likely an instance of unfairness. Then people took this to mean, in particular, that men and women should be as ‘equal’ as possible in all but the most obvious physical differences. For any psychological or emotional differences, quick, hurry, emergency, call out the Politically Correct Police to SUPPRESS those! Fromm says that this overly simplistic emphasis on ‘equality’ is a big mistake and that, instead, “Men and women deserve equal respect as person but are not the same”. HORRORS! You mean there’s a DIFFERENCE? HORRORS! Gee, who would have thought that there could be differences? Yup, highly politically INcorrect!I’m an applied mathematician writing software to start a Web 2.0 business. So for more about Fromm, etc., I’d need a much different education and main interests! I’ll leave the rest to you!Exercise: Compare knowledge of people from Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Henry James, and Fromm.Uh, find something better, let us all know!

        1. ShanaC

          The Platonic Dialogues in general: Symposium in specific ;). (I’m sorry I need to be cheecky, I’ve read a good chunk of them, and a life goal is to read all of them, for the root of philosophy is Plato…maybe one day I’ll get into Aristotle the same way…) More the question: I have a stupendously long book list, and a cabinet full of books, not all of them read.Though I think the answer is yes….eventually. *looks at cabinet, groans*

  21. MikeSchinkel

    @fred: I can’t agree more about I started a group in Dec 2006 and now it is the 2nd largest business-focused group on Meetup in Atlanta, with 1900+ members. My happiness level has been more than doubled by Meetup. I’d say it’s been increased by 10x. And I’m not exaggerating.

  22. Chris Voss

    Jeez Fred how much money are you making off me, I’m using to organize Twitter Tweetups around the country! LOL. Is there anything you dont own, I’m using…No I think your very correct, the same is true in finding good business partner relationships, LOL.

  23. The Network Hub

    Thank you for investing in!!! As an Meetup organizer in Vancouver for the last two years, I believe in the magic of Meetup but forget what I say listen to what our members have to say too….

  24. enrolled agent exam

    I think it’s kind of mean to title his piece after Sandra Bullock. I mean, I know it’s the latest marriage debacle in Hollywood as of late, but in fairness, no one’s filed any papers yet….

  25. Mark Essel

    There will be time for that later. Now you must acquiesce to your passion to build :)btw Charlie I’m beginning to see complimentary directions for your current project and the virtual web assistants I’d like to make possible (I’m starting with social search). Behavior monitoring and autonomous search: lifehacking

  26. Mark Essel

    Not just any bourbon, Pappy 23.Of course I don’t imbibe (me an oblivion have made our peace), but I’m a coffee chugging machine.

  27. andyswan


  28. Tereza

    Awww I wanna come too. 🙁

  29. Mark Essel

    psst, not everyone is invited (wink wink)

  30. paramendra

    Blocking to get some work done. Ha! I try to tell myself is part of my workspace. So there is no guilt.

  31. Rob K

    Sure is but we can call him on it

  32. paramendra

    Facebook is also workspace. 🙂

  33. paramendra

    What tweetups?