In my feeds today I noticed several references to a new web site: YouGuysShouldLunch.com (or LunchaIhop.se in Swedish). Give it a try!
I haven't looked elsewhere, and there might very well be similar services around (if so, let me know in the comments).
However, there's several reasons that make me think this is simply brilliant, besides that the man behind (Jonas Larsson, @byBalsam) is from Sweden:
- The way it brings your online network of contacts into real world, physical meetings.
- You can't include yourself in a lunch proposal. You need to think seriously around who of your contacts you want to put together, and not simply propose a lunch with you and a friend.
- The use of LinkedIn indicates that "it's serious business" and provides both easy access to the professional background of a proposed lunch date. You are also likely to have some kind of professional relationship to the people you put together for a lunch date.
- It is a nice usage of the LinkedIn API. Mashups are great...
- The site has both a Swedish and an English version, with different domains. Nice detail.
- The logo indicates it can be a simple lunch, doesn't need to be at a fancy restaurant.
- ...and the list goes on with many small details.
However, the really neat thing is that this service is also one of the best and creative "I'm looking for a new job"-pitches I have seen. Ever.
As Jonas writes on his blog, he will leave his current assignment at the end of the year. One of the options when you pair together lunch dates is to invite one of your contacts to lunch with Jonas himself. He even provides a wish-list of people he would like to have lunch with.
No doubt he will have his calendar full of lunches the next months, and a bunch of interesting new job opportunities.
(Unless he builds a business around this initiative. Already valuable and interesting with several potential new things to add: How to find a good time for lunch (integrate with calendars), Where to lunch (find a good, close, spot by integrating with restaurant guides and maps).)