Noonhat is what’s for lunch

The internet reads my thoughts and turns them into reality. Or at least that’s how it seems sometimes.

On the way to lunch on Monday, a colleague and I were discussing Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone. “Discussing” is too strong a word, as neither of us has actually read it, but I think idea in the title is great. I half-seriously suggested posting a Craigslist ad seeking random lunch meetings in the neighborhood in which I work, but thought better of it.

The very same day I came across a WorldChanging post about Noonhat, a brand new website designed by Brian Dorsey. The idea is simple: place a circle on a map indicating your location, choose a date, and enter your email address. On the date you’ve chosen, Noonhat puts you in touch with other locals available on the same date so you can make lunch arrangements. You all pick a restaurant, meet, and enjoy a meal with some totally strange strangers.

I signed up for a lunch today not yet expecting anyone from DC to appear. To my surprise, a guy from just a few blocks away had signed up as well (turns out he met the creator at the Gnomedex conference). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but given that to be on the site he had to at least be up to date on internet trends, I figured that if worse came to worst we could just talk about LOLcats for half an hour.

Luckily, we didn’t have to do that. We hit it off quickly, found some common interests, and kept the conversation flowing all through the lunch without a single “i can has cheezburger” joke. Not too surprisingly given the neighborhood, we also discovered we have somewhat similar jobs promoting the work of our employers, making our exchange not just personally enjoyable but productive, too. We’ll probably meet up again.

If the site continues to add users I could see Noonhatting on a regular basis. As Dorsey says, the internet excels at matching people with similar interests and ideas, but offers fewer options for meeting very different people nearby. Noonhat is a strikingly simple way to make that happen. I dig it. To give the site a try, sign up here.

Comments

  1. Brian Dorsey says:

    Thanks for posting the great writeup! It’s nice to hear how the lunches go. There was actually one other DC person signed up for the same day, but they were in a slightly different part of town, and their circle didn’t quite overlap with either of you. Random lunches in DC could be amazing – imagine if everyone in all levels politics had lunch with 2-3 other random people once a week. I imagine that they’d learn a lot, as would the people they had lunch with.

    Take care,
    -Brian

  2. Melvin Ram says:

    Hey Jacob, that is very interesting. Since you mentioned you haven’t read the book yet, I thought I’d point you to a few related resources.

    1) Video of Keith Ferrazzi (the author)
    http://livestream.worktankseattle.com/sbsummit/3.14.06_ferrazzi.wt?streamrate=300

    2) 106 Tips to Become a Master Connector (inspired by Never Eat Alone)
    http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2007/06/06/106-tips-to-become-a-master-connector/

    3) Never Eat Alone Review & Related Resources (Lots of related links)
    http://www.volcanicmarketing.com/blog/2006/04/22/never-eat-alone/

  3. Ula says:

    This sounds fun! I’m totally gonna try it. Doubt i’ll have good luck matching dates but who knows. And I’d love to talk to someone about LOLcats over lunch!

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