Monday, June 11, 2007

Network in the Right Community

One of the horrors of networking is gathering a thousand business cards, letting them sit on your desk or in a shoe box and 6 months later not knowing who any of these people are. For many years I believed effective networking was simply meeting as many people as I could and entering them into my database. Perhaps I was in scarcity mode. Perhaps I felt that if I met enough people, the right ones would jump out and grab me.

Sigh. It doesn't work like that. Or at least it hasn't worked like that for me. It’s important to think about the kinds of people you want to me. The kinds of communities you belong in. Let me give you an example:

I am a writer. I am a published author. I have published my own books and other authors' books. I have designed books. I want to continue to do all these things. I want to interview writers and authors and others in the book world. Okay, so where am I going to meet them? I am computer literate and technologically savvy. I am a tiny publisher, but know my way around the online world as well as the offline world. I am on the leading edge of where publishing is going and I want to stay there. Hmm, so where might I find like kind? Where might I find my flock?

One place would be the TOC Conference. Tools of Change Conference -- all about publishing and how technology affects it and will affect it. Publishing is changing every day. It is in flux. There are no hard and fast rules. It's a great time of experimentation. And we need to bring ourselves together to share our experiences. This conference is being produced by O'Reilly Media. Now, O'Reilly is really on the cutting edge of what's happening in publishing. This is because O'Reilly is known for publishing computer books -- and these books are like produce -- when they are ripe and relevant, they are hot, but they can be obsolete within a few years as software changes. So, they are looking at books, content, subscription services -- all kinds of ways to get important information in the hands of those who need it.

This conference is being held June 18-20 in San Jose. I need to be there. This is one of my communities. I need to rub shoulders with these folks. This is exactly where I need to be networking. If this is one of your communities, let me know (I can help you find the right discounted registration).

So, the challenge is to identify your communities first. Those you need. Those you want. Those you want to move into. Mine are all about writing and books and content and publishing. What are yours?

TOC Conference For more information