Just found this great introductory guide to the Boston tech community: http://robgo.org/2011/09/07/the-hitchhikers-guide-to-the-boston-tech-community-sept-2011/. Why not shamelessly copy a good thing and make one for Chicago?
If anyone has something like this, share please! Otherwise, below are the main points. Let's crowdsource some inputs with a #chitechguide tag and put up a compiled list in a few days.
1) Large Tech Meetups:
2) Online Resources and Newsletters:
3) University Resources:
4) Smaller and High Quality Meetups:
5) Coworking Spaces and Accelerators:
6) Entrepreneurial Development Firms:
7) Places to Hang:
8) Journalists and News:
9) Scaling Companies to Watch (ie: probably hiring):
10) 20 to Follow:
b) Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders: