Make (or take) the meeting

When you are growing either your business or your career (and increasingly, the two are inextricably linked), it’s tempting to focus your time on activities that directly lead to either revenue or job opportunities. The Sirens of Dwindling Bandwidth and The Refrain of Anxious Spouses can easily drive you to flee exploratory, undefined activities, viewing them as luxuries you simply cannot afford.

But these open-ended activities are precisely the things you should be doing. In fact, the greater the degree of turmoil, flux and transition your company (or you) are in, the greater “allocation” you should make to pursuits that may not yield obvious outcomes at the outset.

This is because phases of transition bring ambiguity with them as part of the territory. You are creating a new market or product that doesn’t exist…or you are writing a job description for something you (nor anyone) has done before. Therefore, it’s time to create rather than transact. And creativity requires exploration of things – and people – who know what you don’t. Continue reading →

G+ Deja Vu All Over Again?

A quick Google search on “Pinterest growth” emits the latest Silicon Valley effervescence (yeah, recommended Googling that too ;). It’s true that rarely a day passes when I am not notified of at least 2 or 3 new “followers” on the service. And for some reason, I feel compelled to “follow back” out of courtesy. At least, I used to. Now the follows come so furiously that I’ve lost track.

Which feels like Google+ Deja Vu All Over Again. After the whackamole frenzy of adding G+ Followers my own Circles, I also soon stopped, exhausted and scratching my head at why it was even meaningful.  But Google was quick to assure the world that in its first month, it attained 40 million users.

Um, and…what is usage? Turns out this can constitute simply clicking +1 at the end of any story. Because this feeds back to your Google+ page, this means you are a Google+ “user.” At least, to Google+ and the blogging that perpetuates these frothy myths. Continue reading →

If it’s been said already…

…it may still merit saying!

So much has been said about doing email introductions properly … and so much of it feels like common sense. So the only amazing thing is that people continue to do it so badly. And perhaps one of the worst parts of this phenomena is that the people making the poorly-formed requests tend to blame the person asked for not responding, when the responsibility really falls on them to make the entire process effective.

How can we eliminate this ill will and save lots of people time? It’s hard to top these posts by the prolific VC, Mark Suster…so I’ll just underscore some of these points with my own twist in the hopes that this in some small way reduces some frustration and wasted time for all in the future.

(1) Make it Forwardable: This is my ongoing mantra and listed as Suster’s #4 here. I’ve lost count of how many long email threads I have with friends or contacts sussing out how well I know someone, how I suggest reaching out to them, etc, only to end in, “Thanks!” The expectation is then for me to package up all the thinking (and whatever attachments) were embedded in the previous emails to create a version that is digestable by the prospective intro. Making me realize my friend etc. is absolutely clueless or zero in the empathic category. Continue reading →