So you say you want to expand your business network—maybe you're job-hunting, or looking for a strategic investment partner in your organic sustainably-produced home-knitted alpaca-wool diaper service—but you don't have a clue how to get started?
LetsLunch thinks they know how to help you out, you poor socially-challenged slob, you. Here's how it works: you tell LetsLunch when you're available, and the service matches you with another participant and a nearby location. After the incredibly awkward pseudo-date lunch, LetsLunch asks the person you just met all kinds of questions to further assess just how much of a douchebag you are define your rating. Everyone is graded on a level of 1 to 10 ("Initially, your level is based on your social karma," says the website, which is fancy talk for "We'll take a look at your Twitter and LinkedIn info to see how popular you are"), and you're matched with other people based on similar rankings.
After four lunches through LetsLunch in the same month, you qualify to be matched with a LetsLunch VIP (an established entrepreneur or 'celebrity'), but keep in mind, this honor only goes to the very highest-rated Lunchers. No VIP access for you Level 2 or 3 knuckle-dragging Cro-Magnons.
I've carefully considered this entire concept, from the part where I have lunch with a total stranger to the ability for a website algorithm to determine my self-worth based on this stranger's evaluation of my lunch performance, and I believe I would rather drink a warm glass of dog feces. Then again, I am exactly as interested in networking as I am in breath-hold freediving, which is to say Not One Bit At All, No Thank You, Seriously You Are Talking About My Worst Nightmare, Etc.
LetsLunch is rolling out as an invitation-only (of course, because why would anything about this NOT be as painful as middle school?) service in Silicon Valley, but who knows, it may show up in your city soon. What do you think, would you try it out?
Image via Flickr/SanFranAnnie