For those of you that have been following the few details I’ve put in about my trip to Texas, I’ll to wrap it up today. Here’s a top 10 list of my Texas trip for 2006/2007 (I was there for almost 2 weeks):
1. Networking is easy – to prepare for my trip I used Google to find people that I wanted to hook up with and then sent an e-mail, made a phone call, and arranged a time/place to meet. Sometimes that’s all it takes – an e-mail to invite someone to meet with you.
2. Networking is hard – my meetings started early and ended late. I met dozens and dozens of incredible people that I’m putting into JibberJobber, and have some great notes to put in (personal information, their desires, etc.). All of this takes time and commitment, and I admit that if I didn’t care about what could result then I probably would slip into lazy mode and not do it (or worse, not follow-up with great new relationships).
3. Networking is personally rewarding – I have always loved people (this has nothing to do with being shy or not), so one of the things that I was looking forward to the most was meeting some of my friends that I had developed virtual relationships with through blogging. I can’t even begin to say how cool it was to sit down and hang out with them – some for a meal, others for many meetings. Here are the other bloggers that I finally met with face-to-face: Kent Blumberg, Mike Schaffner, Dan Sweet, Thom Singer, Liz Handlin, Scott Ingram, Scott Allen (author of TheVirtualHandshake and LinkedIntelligence).
4. Networking will impact my business – I was in 11 meetings during the 3 days I worked on JibberJobber and I walked away with a win-win opportunity from each of the 11 meetings. I will see the results of these meetings over the next few months, and am excited to have others help me bring JibberJobber to other professionals that really need and value it.
5. People are nice – I’ve always found people I encounter in Texas to be really nice, cowboy hats and all. But this trip was over-the-top. There were tons of nice people – I’ll highlight just one example: Liz Handlin and I have exchanged e-mails and blog comments over the last few months. But the day I was driving from Houston to Austin to meet with her and the others was the day that I really got to know Liz – she called to make sure I knew where I was going, and made herself available during my trip in case I need anything. When I got there she had a folder (!) for me with maps/directions for my next few appointments, an e-mail communication with someone that I was to meet the next morning, and a critical phone number. It was incredible to be on the receiving end of this thoughtfulness and I can assure you that because she cared so much (she put more preparation into my Austin trip than I did :)), I’d do anything I can to help her.
6. Helping others is where its at – I was with a business partner for some of the meetings and he was utterly surprised at how people where sincerely willing to help. I have taken this for granted over the last year as I’ve networked with this type of people but it made me realize that not everyone is looking for a win-win, how-can-I-help-you-relationship. It made me rethink what I do and realize that I don’t want to slip into any attitude that is not win-win.
7. There are tons of misconceptions about networking – as we met with various folks it was interesting to me to hear some of the same false ideas about job search and networking issues. I blogged on one a few days ago, but got a sense that people think they can’t network if they are shy, that networking ends when you find a job, that networking is an activity to get personal gain, etc. Good thing there’s people like Thom Singer and Keith Ferrazzi that are all about educating people on what networking is and isn’t – because the fact is, its not a fad, and its not going away 😉
8. JibberJobber is very cool – ok, I had to slip this in there. But after all the time I spent with job seekers, those that are unhappily or underemployed, and career experts, I still get lots of praise for what JibberJobber is. 364 days ago I would not have cared one bit about a site like JibberJobber (or even networking, or career management), but today I am completely impassioned by what has become my cause – helping and empowering people in their careers. And this has been an “easy sell” to the people that I have met with.
9. There’s more room for improvement – I need more training videos, I need to beef up the FAQ page, and there are various opportunities for feature improvements. Expect to see more polishing, enhancements and interfaces in 2007 – the end result is to make a tool for you that empowers you to manage your career and transitions in a way that wasn’t possible before.
10. Hm… windshield time (Texas is a place where you drive – alot!), armadillo chasing in the rain, great food… Texas is truly a great
country state and I really enjoyed my stay there! Thanks to all that made it so rewarding!
It was awesome – I think that I’ll try and repeat this kind of whirlwind trip in other cities (I have 3 scheduled trips planned this year so far)… I’m very excited about 2007!