Social Tables: Wow, When This Startup Thing Works

Last week I did a leadership training session for rising leaders at Social Tables. In typical Dan Berger’s, Vincent-Lombardiesqe fashion, the class starts at 7:45 AM. Doesn’t matter that I’m doing this gratis. If I want to collect my no-fee for my service, I have to get my ass out of bed at 5:30AM and be downtown on time. This ain’t no game…. this is war!

Through the session, I’m impressed with the quality of the participants. Dan invites me to stay on for the company’s Global Takeover Congress. A status update on Social Table’s progression towards world domination. A combined vision update, cheer session, celebration of achievements and status report.

As I sat there, looking at the 30 engaged team members… hearing about the impressive enterprise wins, the opportunities on the table, the meteoric revenue trajectory, I thought back to three years ago.

It’s May 4, 2011. I’m doing open office hours in the Starbucks on the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk in Bethesda. It’s noon and in walk two quirky guys. One waves my way. I wave back and they sit at the table. Don ((pronounced Dan) Berger or is it Dan Berger (pronounced Don)?) goes on to outline this crazy idea about some crazy software program that’s going to “revolutionize” event planning.

I listen, I size them up. Dan’s intense, focused and very quick. Matt’s quiet and defers to Don. We talk, they both have day jobs, they talk about this idea as if it is a thing. My words of wisdom.

  1. Make me believe that someone will pay for this
  2. Make me believe there are enough someone’s to make this big
  3. No investor is going to take you serious if you have a day job. Investors don’t invest in hobbyists.

Two months later Dan sent me an email documenting Social Tables traction to date and informing me he jumped off a cliff… he’d quit his job. He was no longer a hobbyist.

One year later, Dan’s presenting to the University of Maryland Dingman Angels and between Jonathon Perrelli and the Dingman Angels, he had raised over $500K in seed funding. The company was off to the races..

It’s been an honor to be one of the first investors in Social Tables. It’s been a pleasure to watch Don doggedly focus his energy and execute on his vision. It gave this old cranky troll goose bumps to sit among this team of driven startup professionals in the process of building what is sure to be one of Washington’s great companies. It’s a pleasure to sit on the board of this company and feel that in some small part I have contributed to this growth.

Thank you Dan Berger for showing me that the DCTech scene is more than just those noisy empty boasters. Thank you for restoring my faith in the DC startup founder.  Thank you for allowing me to share the excitement of your journey.

Two more things:

  1. I’m ADHD, Dyslexic, so please Dan (pronounced Don) get the spelling or the pronunciation in sync.
  2. If you’re looking for a great career, Social Tables is great place to work. Check out their job openings.