A Vancouver entrepreneur has just completed a networking marathon by attending 100 events in 100 days.
Reza Varzidehkar — who also goes by “Reza Vee” — made it his mission to prioritize the human connections that come hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship.
Born in Iran, Varzidehka came to Canada when he was 14 and studied marketing at Langara College.
“I am a third-generation entrepreneur, and growing up I had always gravitated towards business,” he told Daily Hive, “from selling posters and trading cards at elementary school all the way to freelancing during my college years.”
Varzidehkar is the founder of OVOU, a digital business card that allows users to make new connections using NFC (Near Field Communication).
Being an entrepreneur means you need to do much more than create an innovative product or service. You also have to make the right connections to get your name out there, and that’s exactly what Varzidehkar managed to do.
Tonight, Varzidehkar celebrates the very last of his 100 networking events in 100 days, and instead of attending someone else’s event, he is hosting his own.
Daily Hive had the chance to catch up with Varzidehkar before his grand finale to find out what he learned from his 100-day networking journey.
DH: What inspired you to do 100 events in 100 days? What were you hoping to achieve?
RV: Nine out of 10 startups fail within the first two years of operating and the number one reason for it is no market need — that’s just the fact. I wanted to become my number one customer before having the audacity to ask anyone to purchase my product. 100 events allowed me to truly test my product and make sure it does what my intentions were for it.
DH: When you kicked off 100 events in 100 days were you nervous? Did people at the events understand your mission?
RV: I felt lonely at the beginning of starting this business. Most entrepreneurs know what I’m talking about. My intuition said I needed to be surrounded by people as that’s how I get my energy. I had the perfect excuse for it too so I leaned into my intuition and strengths. The first 50 events I could’ve easily given up as so many people reminded me this is not how a founder is ‘supposed to’ launch a product!
DH: What would be your advice to those who are terrified of networking and meeting new people? How do you break the ice?
RV: That’s a tough one since I’ve always been good around people and never experienced it like that. But I have noticed some of the best networkers are introverts. Once they overcome their fear they are extremely valuable and popular, as they are good at listening and connecting people.
DH: In a world where so much networking can be done over our phones or computers, what — in your opinion — is one thing that’s invaluable about face-to-face networking?
RV: Online and offline networking need to go hand in hand. Online is super powerful but weak in quality and offline is just not as efficient.
The ideal formula is for you to meet people in person and let your content engage with them until you meet again next time. Isn’t that the whole point of social media? That’s what I’ve experienced during my 100 events. Here’s a key secret, though: your online persona should 100% match your offline. So many people forget that!
DH: How are you feeling now that you have completed the 100 days? What’s next?
RV: I’m feeling great! It sure is an accomplishment I’m proud of. Not because I have attended 100 events, but because I found my unique and supportive community and that I followed my intuition. Next is my podcast, 100 Connections with Reza Vee, which is coming out in May. I’ll be interviewing successful business people about the human side of business and relationships behind their success story.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.