Today we’d like to introduce you to Peter Shen.
Peter, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A couple years back, a friend and I were a bit bored of going out to bars every week. But we didn’t want to meet people online either. Despite the plethora of sites and apps, connecting people seemed more difficult, not easier online.
So we tried meeting people in real life though social groups and their events. But it was still hard to connect. I suspected the event organizers were just not good at what they’re doing. Or the venues were not conducive for socializing. Whatever it was, there had to be a better way to meet people IRL. Being a gregarious guy and a want for new challenges, I decided to do an experiment; create a social group of strangers and turn them into friends.
My first event was an immediate success. I had 45 strangers and almost all stayed for 4 hours for the happy hour. I began doing this every two weeks and at every event, nearly half the people were regulars. By the second year, I decided to do one event a week and now we average over 12 events a month. Since I created my first event, thousands of people have connected, hundreds have met their good friends, and more than a handful have even gotten married. The experiment worked, the phenomenon was created.
Today, I lead a core of dedicated believers to expand my vision of connecting people. You can still find me at most MPC events.
Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing in business or any adventure you start is smooth. There definitely have been some struggles. Key issues in my business include finding the right hosts. Who by the way I called them superhosts. I feel like anyone can call themselves hosts, but very few actually can earn the title superhosts. So, that’s why.
Another struggle is getting the venues to work with you. People always think this is easy work because what venue wouldn’t want my business? I mean I bring in 100 people to a venue for 3 hours, each one spending their discretionary income on their establishment. But, yes, you would be surprised at how some venues think they don’t need your money even though they don’t pack the place.
I can go on and on why they behave in this manner but it just comes to two things; caring and business smarts. Some people are content at collecting paychecks while others do not understand the tangible and intangible benefits of having large number of young professionals at their establishment. The good news, the more I am in this business, the more and more people in the industry get it. So, as time goes on, it’s getting easier to work with venues.
But overall the road – while may not be smooth – has been mostly been a great ride. It’s great to network with so many people and see so many of my members happy.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Meet People Chicago – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
People always ask me this question of what do I do. I’m not a traditional event planner since I don’t plan events like weddings and private parties. And though I have to promote as part of my business, please don’t call me a promoter because I don’t herd people into a bar without any directions. A good friend of mine once said to someone I’m a MC, a Master of Connections. This is because I am able to connect people, mostly indirectly through my events, where people seem to have an easy time meeting their new friends. So, I’ll take MC. Haha.
So, as you can tell my specialty is getting people together. I’m very good at conversations. Actually I am very good with people. Growing up I was never pigeon-holed as a jock, nerd, geek, etc. I was able to be friends with everyone. And because I make people comfortable, I think this is why my business have been successful. People feel they can be themselves at my events and when people are having fun, the event itself becomes fun.
And seeing people having fun, whether it’s for that one night, or meeting their new found friend, or even their new found life partner, it makes me feel good. Yes, I’m running a business but I also feel like I am doing good.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Chicago, what can you say is the best city in the world! We have everything that every big city has; culture, food, people, even gorgeous beaches! The friendliness of the city is unmatched and the diversity of the city is on par with NYC and LA. I love that Chicagoans have a sensibility of moderation but still can have fun. But yes, we always complain about the cold. But it hasn’t stopped me from leaving yet!
- Events start as low as $10 but our prices are based on demand, so get them early!
- Website: www.meetpeoplechicago.com
- Phone: 773-951-5132
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meetpeoplechicago/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeetPeopleChicago/
- Twitter: twitter.com/MeetPeopleChi
John Ballarini at johnballariniphotography.com