Back in June I heard the 140 Conference was coming to Ontario, and I immediately bought a ticket. 140 conferences are basically speakers talking about how the “real-time web” has changed everything from how we raise our children to how we launch and run our businesses. I heard about the very successful ones in LA and New York and I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people involved in the social media, marketing, and online spaces.
I wanted to submit a speaking proposal. Without the boring details, the bottom line is that just didn’t happen. Because of some of those same boring details, I won’t be able to go tomorrow either. I though about selling the ticket but then I thought, I have a ticket (and really want to go) but I can’t go. Why not give it to someone who really wants to go but can’t get a ticket? That’s what I’m going to do. Leave a comment telling me why you want to go and I’ll pick someone to give the ticket to. It’s electronic so I’ll just email it.
I’ll work out the details at the end of the post, but first I just want to get my thoughts out. If I was able to get the speaking proposal together, and give my talk, this is what I would have said.
The 140 Conference Talk I would Have Given
A guy walks into a networking event. He’s nervous (like we all are at these things) but he’s read the sales books and a few blogs and he has his his elevator pitch ready. He takes a deep breath, and approches a circle of people. He looks at the one that just finished speaking, makes good eye contact, extends his hand and says, “Hi, I’m Joe Networker. I launched a website for parents that will solve the time management problems we all have and I would love to tell you about it. It’s really great. (He looks at all of them and says) You’re gonna love it! Can I get your business cards?”
They all smirk at each other, and the one that was talking says, “Sorry, I’m all out of cards. And actually I need to speak to that person over there before they leave. Sorry.” The others say the say thing and they scatter. He notices a few minutes later, they are all back together talking. He thinks, “What a bunch of douchebags!”
Woman walks into the same event. She’s nervous (like we all are at these things) and approaches a circle of people talking. She listens to the conversation, not eavesdropping, just listening to what they are saying while she waits for an opportunity to introduce herself. When the one talking is finished, they all look at her. She takes a deep breath and says to the group, “Hi! I’m Jane, and these things make me so nervous! But I have a small business which can feel really isolating sometimes, and I promised myself I would come out and meet some interesting people. You guys look interesting, what do you do when you’re not wearing name badges and eating food on toothpicks?”
They all smile, and introduce themselves. They talk about whatever interests them at the time, and she holds up her end of the conversation. Then they ask her about her small business. She tells them she has a website that helps parents plan what to pack for lunch and make for dinner each day. It has information for for the parents, like recipes and nutritional information, and games calendars and schedules that are geared to kids, so parents and kids can figure it out together. She says our community loves it because when the kids are involved the parents say they are more likely to eat what you pack them for lunch and make them for dinner.
It so happens that each of the people she was talking to have kids and love this idea. They also have huge followings on Twitter, and blogs in the Ad Age top 100. Without saying anything to her or each other, they all tweet that they just met Jane, who has this great website for parents that solves the what’s for lunch/dinner problem. link…
Site gets massive traffic, things snowball from there, and Jane lives happily ever after. This is the fairy tale we business owners tell ourselves at night before we go to sleep (and after the thoughts of accounts payable, that overdue proposal, and that presentation we have in 2 days finally quiet down).
But this can happen. It does happen every day. That’s the power of authentic networking and the real-time web. When you network, on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or in real life, please don’t treat it like an opportunity to collect business cards from people who care nothing about you.
The real-time web is full of people who are talking about things you are interested in. Get to know them. Get into these conversations. That’s where the gold is. You need to have the widest, most diverse circle of people that you know and who know you, as you can.
Does blogger out-reach to total strangers to get online buzz for your new product work? Sure. If it’s done right. Is it better to already know people who tweet and post to Facebook and have blogs, so when when you need a favor, they are happy to help? You becha!
The real-time web and tools like Twitter, Facebook, and now Google plus, and the rest, make it easier for people to connect with each other than ever before. I started my first business before the internet. Not just before Twitter and Facebook, yes, there was a ‘before the internet’. It was very hard for me to find other business owners to talk to and share ideas with. It was very lonely at times.
You don’t have to be lonely anymore. Yes, I get all of my breaking news on Twitter now, but it’s the people. There are real people out there, and if you’re real too, you can make connections online that are as real as any made face to face. That to me, is the beauty if the real-time web.
How about you? What do you want to get out of the conference tomorrow? Please let me know in the comments. And if if you know someone who wants a ticket, tell them to read below.
Want A Free Ticket To 140ConfON tomorrow?
Just leave me a comment telling me why you want to go. What you think you will accomplish by going. I’ll pick someone and send them the ticket. It’s that simple. I’ll let things go until
7pm 7:30 pm eastern time tonight, to give anyone with a job that wants to go a shot. Sound fair?
8:15 pm, Sept 14.
I am overwhelmed and humbled by the response this post received. I figured I posted it mid-day, the day before a md-week event, I would be lucky to get a few interested people. The amazing twitter community involved in the 140 Conference spread the word in a big way, tweeting and re-tweeting it so the friends they knew still wanted a ticket, would have a chance at one. Eight of you left comments with amazing, thoughtful, worthy responses (Chris is a speaker ). There is no way I could pick one as more worthy than another. No way. I decided after the second comment that the only fair thing would be to throw everyone’s name in a hat and pick one. So that’s what I did.
And the winner was … Amy Baskin! Congratulations Amy!
I really wish I had 7 more tickets to give out. Actually I REALLY wish I was going, and I had no tickets to give but that’s another story.
For everyone else, they will be live streaming the event, so look for the hashtag on twitter: #140ConfOnt for the link. I sure will!
For networking, you should definitely go to the after-party. It’s at McCabe’s Irish Pub.
Thanks again to everyone for reading this post, and participating.