Every time you try something new there’s always some unexpected effect. SOBCon 2010 was something new for me. And the unexpected effect was relationships.
That may seem an odd statement. We go to conferences to network and build relationships. At least, that’s what we tell our bosses and our companies. Think. We often fail–don’t we?
I was happy about how easy it was to build relationships at SOBCon. It’s small, which makes it easier. It’s sessions are like workshops (mastermind groups), which makes it easier. And it’s designed to keep people together, intimately, for 36 hours or so–again, making it easier.
What were my results? Here are just a few of the people I got to meet at SOBCon 2010:
David Murray (@DaveMurr) – Dave is a fellow Detroiter. I’ve participated with Dave a few times at home and seen the power of his community building skills (Social Media Club Detroit, PieUp, Future Midwest 2010). However, I’d never really had the opportunity to sit down and collaborate with him. His mind is sharp and creative. His energy is even, but powerful. His ideas are brilliantly simple. I’m glad Dave is in Detroit and that I got to know him better in Chicago.
Joseph Ruiz (@SMSJoe) – Joe is proof that the world is very small. Turns out his son went to the Air Force Academy, like I did; and is an AFOSI Special Agent, like I was. I hooked him up with names and dirt on all my friends that are still in, hopefully that accelerates his son’s career. Outside of that conversation, Joe was someone I really connected with at SOBCon. We had many common interests that went far beyond social media and marketing. These are conversations that are much harder to get to online.
Kneale Mann (@KnealeMann) – Boy, this guy is a live-wire! He’s got a ton of experience in traditional marketing (he’s going to flame me for writing that) that makes him really powerful in new media because he knows how to mash them up. I haven’t found too many Canadians I don’t like, and he was no exception. We spent most of SOBCon at the same table. That made me a pretty lucky person.
Jay Jay French (@JayJayFrench) – Okay, if you’re at all into music you know my excitement here. I sat about ten feet away from this Twisted Sister legend. He is one of the good guys. I horned in on a conversation about watches, which transitioned into his advice on busting your tail to make it. The experience, rocker or tech entrepreneur, is no different—passion and hustle wins. Great guy! Even better stories. I could’ve listened for hours.
S. Anthony Iannarino (@Iannarino) – This was another of my existing relationships that I got to go deeper with. Anthony invited me into a collaborative group of sales bloggers several months ago. For that I am grateful. In person he’s even more gracious. He’s passionate, opinionated, and
focused intense. I really like Anthony. And I see why he’s one of the top sales coaches in the market. He’s disciplined in his own execution and will hold you to the same level of accountability.
Steve Woodruff (@SWoodruff) – I met Steve in what I have found to be the biggest benefit of social media—someone said, “Bill, you need to meet this guy.” I’m glad I did (thank you @jnswanson). We only spent a few minutes together, but I’m sure this is a relationship that will grow.
Jon Swanson (@JNSwanson) – As a Christian and a longtime follower of Jon’s, this is was connection I had a specific goal of making. He often introduces himself as social media’s chaplain. If you were never in the military you might not have the same regard for this role that I do. So, let me briefly explain it to you. Your chaplain was a spiritual leader assigned to the unit. He (or she now) was not necessarily of your denomination and didn’t necessarily concern themselves with your theology. They were there to help everyone in the unit deal with heavy stuff. Life these days is pretty heavy—a confusing world, sadness, unemployment, broken/breaking relationships, more causes than solutions. He’s a good chaplain. You should follow (and eventually meet) him.
Loren Feldman (@1938Media)-This guy is a lightening rod. Most would rather flame him than praise him. However, I met a guy he helped in Detroit. A person that he didn’t know. And he did it just because he thought the guy got a raw deal. I wanted to make a point to thank him and let him know he made a radical difference in one young man’s life. He seemed like a pretty nice guy. Of course, I have a soft spot for people that engage in random acts of kindness.
Mike Crimmins (@ShotofCoffee) – Mike was fun to talk to at one of the cocktails. He’s always smiling and was enjoyable to chat with. Even better, he blogs about coffee (@jnswanson you should meet @ShotofCoffee). Chris Brogan always talks about how little bloggers grow up—this is going to be one of them.
John Richardson (@Success2You) – John was another person that I had the pleasure of shouting with at a noisy bar, but it was worth it. John is a fabulous guys and you can see the genuineness that makes his personal development blog so authentic. He really cares. I look forward to seeing John grow his blog and I thank him for all his free advice on self-publishing a book.
Rick Calvert (@BlogWorld) – Last, but not least is Rick. This is a guy that I have only seen from a far (behind a podium at THE blogger show) at BlogWorld. To my good fortune I got to eat breakfast with him one morning. What a nice guy! And again, you find cool things you have in common—we both started as political bloggers. The conversation with Rick and a couple of the other A-Listers at SOBCon reminded me of what I teach sales people all the time, “They may be big deals, but they’re still just people.” Why do we always forget that and miss out on meeting great people.
My closing comments on Rick is a great transition into my key takeaway on SOBCon. I probably won’t remember a single bit of the content in a couple of months, but I’m certain that I have more priceless relationships in my world now. That should be your #1 business goal.
So, how are you doing? Have we met yet?
P.S., Other things seen at SOBCon 2010…Julien Smith eating a pastry larger than his head.
P.S.S., Sorry I didn’t get to list every wonderful person I connected with at SOBCon 2010, but there are a lot more blog posts in my future. I wouldn’t deprive you all of meeting each of them—introductions will follow.