Connection Pinball

Scanning my usual set of columns in Hootsuite this morning, I wondered, “Is there a blog post here – just looking  at these people?”

In my DM column I saw Liz Marshall and Terry Starbucker. Yep, there was a story.

You see, I met Terry in our early days of blogging – probably 2008, at the famous Blogger Social ’08. Our friendship had little to do with my business at the time (which was and still is focused on pharma), but we were both blogging on marketing and business topics, and we hit it off.

In 2009, I made my only appearance at SXSW, mainly to chaperone my oldest son, who was interested in film (and, hey, what’s not to like about a father-son adventure to Austin?). Being disillusioned with a lot of the panels, I spent a fair amount of time in the Blogger Lounge, where, serendipitously, I ended up at the same table with Liz Strauss. We hit it off, too.

Terry and Liz insisted that I come to this rather small conference in Chicago called SOBCon the next year. It wasn’t in my pharma sweet spot, but I was still trying to find my place in the marketing/social media/entrepreneur world as well, and I liked the idea of a more intimate gathering of status-quo-breakers. So I went.

There I met Lisa Petrilli, also visible in my HootSuite columns today. And, Anthony Iannarino, Danielle Smith, Sean McGinnis, Angela Maiers – all visible front-and-center this morning on Twtiter, all met for the first time at a SOBCon event (2010 or 2011). Because LeadershipChat was born out of a collaboration between Lisa Petrilli and me that started at SOBCon, a whole other fleet of close connections has also been developed. And as I expand out of pharma into a new endeavor, it’s people like Carol Roth and Greg Hartle and Lou Imbriano and Jeannie Waters and Liz Marshall and Sara Goodman and Jesse Petersen and Becky McCray and Alli Worthington and Fred McClimans and Brandie McCallum and Sam Fiorella and Meghan Biro and Patty Azarello and Jeff Shuey and Phil Gerbyshak and many others who are my supporters, and cheerleaders, and brain trust.

All of this grew out of LeadershipChat and SOBCon.

Which grew out of becoming friends with Liz and Terry.

Which leads to the moral of the story. Make great quality connections, cultivate those relationships, and be ready.

It may seem a bit like a pinball game at times, but you cannot and will not lose when you make friends with great people!

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Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Be Narrow-Minded

>> Seeing 20/20 in 3-D

Five in the Morning 021909

Before we begin, may I just take a moment and say how much I enjoy interacting with you, my readers, in these early-morning excursions through the blogosphere? It’s fun to find a few goodies each day (so much to choose from!), but it’s even more fun to dialogue with you about stuff you found helpful or interesting.

OK, on with the show…

The Four Horsemen of the Startup. Brief and to the point. Four attitudes to avoid if you’re an entrepreneur starting a company. From the wise and friendly Doug Karr.

Animated advertising icons – the power of strong branding in advertising. Watch this quick clip. From BrandFreak blog.

In Business Week, a profile of social media pioneer Beth Kanter. Nice.

Which businesses are on Twitter? Check out this uber-list on Twibs. Wow. (hat tip: Brand Flakes for Breakfast).

From the Church of the Customer blog, 5 Questions with Emanuel Rosen (on buzz, word of mouth, and marketing). Good stuff.

PLUS – just for fun: 25 “Hidden” Things in Facebook’s Terms of Use (spoof).

Finally – are you going to Blogger Social ’09? Last year’s event was a slam dunk – 80 bloggers from around the world getting together in NYC to get social. This year, the upper limit is 100, and it’s in Boston. Details here – I’ll be there!

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(Image credit – created via Spell with Flickr)

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Will you be a Mystic Blogger?

NOTE: This event is postponed. A more complete update will be posted shortly.


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Save the Date: The Blogger “Mystic Meetup” Oct 17-18

NOTE: This event is postponed. A more complete update will be posted shortly.

Calling all Sociable Bloggers! The Blogger Mystic Meetup is ON!

All Northeast and New England bloggers (MA/CT/NY/NJ/Eastern PA) AND any others who want to join us for a wonderful fall foliage weekend in Mystic, CT should make plans now to get social in mid-October!

Bloggers love to “socialize” on-line. This is your chance to get to know a bunch of your fellow bloggers better (face-to-face), while enjoying one of New England’s finest settings. And, to enjoy a newly-refurbished hotel located steps away from some of Mystic’s prime attractions!

Location: Mystic Hilton, Mystic, CT (easy access by car from all points; Mystic is on the Amtrak train line also).

Dates: October 17, 18

Schedule:

- Friday night: informal hangout/socializing time together at hotel, with hors d’oeurves and a cash bar. 7:00 ’til whenever.
Saturday morning: breakfast buffet, followed by morning brainstorming session, probably taking off from the theme of Breaking out of the Bubble (with due credit to our very own Alan “Tangerine Toad” Wolk). This will be an informal, high-energy facilitated discussion, undoubtedly live-Twittered like all such blogger events are nowadays!
Saturday lunch
Saturday afternoon – free time to explore the many attractions right at our doorstep: Mystic Seaport and Aquarium, Old Mystick Village, historic Stonington, area beaches – there are even a few wineries! Plus, New England fall foliage at its peak!

So, it’s a combo social meetup and creativity session. I’m thinking we’d want to keep the event limited to no more than 40-50 people (plus significant others if applicable). We’d also spend some of Saturday morning introducing ourselves and our work to each other in a fun and creative way.

Costs:

For those staying overnight at the Hilton, we’ve arranged a very nice group rate of $129/night (plus tax). That’s for single or double occupancy. But you need to reserve by Sept. 19th to lock in that rate.  Some of you locals may prefer to commute, and that’s fine. We still like you.

The cost of the total Fri-Sat event (meeting room, food, drink, etc.) is $115/person, which is a major-league bargain in my humble opinion. Those who can only attend on Saturday may do so at a rate of $65. The rate for those attending only for the Friday evening social (which might include a spouse or significant other) is $50. I should note that all registration fees go toward meeting expenses only. This is not a money-making event for anyone (actually it’s a bit of a financial risk for me).

Perhaps some non-Northeast bloggers would want to join in and combine it with a New England foliage tour…the regional bloggers of New England and NY/NJ/PA will extend red-carpet hospitality to any of our fellow social media friends who’d like to use this Meetup as an excuse to come explore the area!

We look forward to seeing you in picturesque Mystic! And please forward this to other bloggers you think might be interested so that they can be included…

Mystic Meetup?

NOTE: This event is postponed. A more complete update will be posted shortly.

Some of us bloggers have been talking about putting together a Mystic, CT meetup in October, mainly for Northeast and New England folks (MA/CT/NY/NJ/Eastern PA). I don’t know about you, but all this on-line interaction with folks who don’t live all that far away makes me really want to get together and socialize!

This would not be as elaborate an event as spring’s Blogger Social ’08 in NYC, but it would be somewhat more involved than a casual evening meeting, so that means some planning. Logistics. Arrangements. You know the drill. Here’s the outline of a plan for a Friday evening/Saturday “Mystic Meetup“:

Location: Mystic, CT (easy access by car from all points; on the Amtrak train line also.

Dates: October 17, 18

Schedule:

- Friday night: informal hangout time together at hotel, with hors d’oeurves and open bar. 7:30 ’til whenever.
Saturday morning: breakfast buffet, followed by morning brainstorming session, probably taking off from the theme of Breaking out of the Bubble (with due credit to our very own Alan “Tangerine Toad” Wolk). This would be an informal, high-energy facilitated discussion, undoubtedly live-Twittered like all such blogger events are nowadays!
Saturday lunch
Saturday afternoon – either planned group activity or open small group/individual activities (or both!)

So, it’s a combo social meetup and creativity session. I’m thinking we’d want to keep the event limited to perhaps 40-50 people (plus significant others if applicable). We’d also spend some of Saturday morning introducing ourselves and our work to each other in a fun and creative way.

Costs:

This could be an issue for some folks. Some might wish to come, but not stay in a hotel. Others may only be able to come for Saturday. Here’s a tentative outline of costs:

Hotel room rates look like they’ll be between $150-200/night, including tax (single or double occupancy).

Based on preliminary numbers from the hotels I’ve approached, cost of the total Fri-Sat event (meeting room, food, drink, etc.) looks to be about $200-225/person, give or take. I’m seeking to nail down ALL the details over the next week or so, but that’s the ballpark. Significant others who joined us for the Fri evening reception could be added on at probably about $75-ish. If a socializing blogger were to attend only for Saturday, best guess would be about $50.

Of course, you may want to stay in Mystic longer (it will be fall foliage season), break into smaller groups for dinner Saturday evening, or whatever. There’s a lot to do in that area! Perhaps some non-Northeast bloggers would want to join in and combine it with a New England foliage tour…

** Here’s what I’m asking you to do:**

This kind of event requires some planning, including contracting with hotels, etc. – and a team of motivated bloggers will gladly work together on this to make it happen. However, we need a pretty firm idea right now of how many people would be up for this event before proceeding into serious event planning mode. So – if you think you’d like to be part of it, please add a Comment to this post in the following fashion:

Indicate your interest by a YES!Probably, or Maybe

Indicate your likely social caffeine package with a Venti (hotel and full Fri/Sat event), Grande (Fri/Sat but no hotel), or Tall (Sat only)

Just add your 2 words in a Comment and that will help us gauge next steps with hotels, etc. And please do so this week – we’d like to make a go/no-go decision ASAP, and that will be based on the level of interest we all have in getting together this fall. Thanks! (put any questions you may have in the comments also, and they’ll be answered promptly).

P.S. – please forward this to other bloggers you think might be interested so that they can be included…

Alone again. Notreally.

(with apologies to Gilbert O’Sullivan)

Being a solo entrepreneur/consultant can be – at times – a lonely venture. So can being out on the road working on client projects. But of late, I don’t feel quite so isolated.

Why? In a word – Twitter.

After all of the intense interactions of last weekend’s Blogger Social, bonds with my fellow bloggers are all the stronger. But now, as I’m away from home once again, I am keeping up with my many friends via Twitter. I may be flying solo, but I’m keeping up with what’s going on with Director Tom, telling CK how much I appreciate her efforts, ragging on Matt Dickman for his 2-fisted twittering, finding out who’s being Jaffed, and getting condiment updates from Catchup Lady.

When there are random moments of non-work, I can “tune in” for a quick update. On those rare occasions when a worthy-to-share thought flits through my brain, I can toss it out over the backyard fence. While watching SmashLab I can share a quick note with the Marketing Diva, and in between serious keyboard endeavors I can take a quick glance at the gossip, even if that means seeing Armano‘s hat again. Or, as just occurred not 6 seconds ago, I can hear from Nathan Snell.

Dang! Even when I’m alone again, I’m not. This is all right!

Some Blogger Social ’08 Fun Pix

I’ve uploaded a bunch of pix on Flickr here. (Here’s the huge and growing group BS08 Flickr photo pool)

This group below, however, is the “unpublished” set. Bootleg. Except it just got published. (Here’s the initial group of shots from Friday night).

Bloggers sightseeing and Twittering

All Aboard!

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