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Cafe Larson: An Experiment

Tracy and I love to host.  Tracy and I are leaving the country.

Tracy and I want to get in as much time with great friends while we still can pre-World Tour, so back in December we created a structure by which we might do just that.

Here was the email we sent originally introducing the concept to all of our friends, subject line “We love to host.  Introducing Cafe Larson”

Hey All!

By now you all know that we are leaving Denver to start our World Tour on May 1, 2012.  While we’re stoked to get our travel on, we’re really going to miss all of our awesome friends here in Colorado.

To make the most of our next 4.5 months here we’ve decided to amp up our hosting game.  Since the most complicated part of hosting is trying to find a date and time that works for everyone, we’re experimenting with a way to simplify the process and ensure that we have a constant stream of fabulous friends hanging out at our place.

We call it: Cafe Larson.

Here’s the gist.  Every 2-3 weeks we’ll send out an email with an invite to the next social gathering we’re planning.  They’ll be things like laid back dinner parties, evening cocktails, game night, etc.  If you can make it, awesome – RSVP 24 hours prior.  If you can’t, no big deal, we’ll see you at the next one.

If you want to be on the list to get these invites you have to opt in by sending us a quick note back.  We don’t want to clog your inbox if you’re not interested!

Our first Cafe Larson will be:

Cookies and Cocoa by the Fire
This Wednesday December 14th 7pm

Join us for a roaring fire, tasty holiday cookies, and tea/cocoa/decaf coffee.
If you’d like to bring some of your holiday cookies to share, we’d love to sample them!

(RSVP by Wednesday December 14th at noon)

Let us know if you want in–the notice is deliberately short so we can get this thing started, but no worries if you are already swamped with holiday merriment.  We’ll be sending out more invites soon enough!

Don’t forget – send us a note if you want in on the email invites!  Looking forward to seeing you!

John and Tracy

By design we figured we’d get to do more hosting, hang with more people, and get to be more flexible for people’s schedules.  (As an added bonus we figure only good can come of our friends making friends among themselves.)

How did it work?  Mixed bag, it turns out!

While we had some great gatherings (my favorite was the Dance Dance Revolution party in which we turned our living room into a dance hall by way of projecting the screen on the wall), turn outs were way smaller than our more conventional style of doing invites had us think.  The consistency of RSVPs followed by no-shows was high, and confirmed what already intuitively makes sense: when you invite via mass email, it creates a much smaller sense of commitment and follow through than if you invite people specifically.

So for our last 7 weeks in town we’re going to go back to the tried-and-true model of specifically inviting over a few folks on a regular basis, and have as much quality face time with them as possible.  Cafe Larson was a cool idea, but we see it is indeed much more compelling to be invited intentionally than by mass email.

[UPDATE 4/15: Yep, turns out it works way better to invite people the old fashioned way!  We’re enjoying being super-sociable with our awesome friends as we round out our last few weeks in town.]

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