Gun For Hire: Connections

I love meeting people who live, work, and breathe the web industry. There are plenty of places I would like to go and people I would like to meet, but sometimes the “right” connections are right here in my own backyard.

One of my favorite speakers once said: “This is merely one beggar’s effort to tell other beggars where he found bread.” I think that simple description is key to how we see our interactions in any space or industry, especially something like online publishing. There’s STILL this crazy idea that we need to horde our knowledge, that every bit we know is somehow putting us in a position of great advantage over the other people in our field.

This doesn’t make sense.

Over the last several months, I have really been trying to branch out and make more connections. Since I live in the middle of nowhere (related to technology, anyway) that makes getting to the hip-city conferences a bit tough. Only recently did I really start to take the space around me seriously, looking for people who “get” what I do in this local area. The journey has been a ton of fun, and I’ve been able to meet some neat folks along the way.

I’m an introvert. I don’t like big crowds, congested meeting rooms, or stadiums packed with people. Why should I want to meet, confer, and be vulnerable with a group of people that I don’t even know? Well, I’ve had to learn the hard way that unless we can learn from the people around us, we probably don’t have much business wanting to publish things for other people…at all.

Part of this mini-series I’m writing about has to do with breaking apart the lone gunman approach – the rest is me being open about why doing that for three years running has been a hard decision to live with. Next, I’ll provide a few more thoughts on how this mindset can both cripple professional growth and limit your connections between doing great work and meeting great people.