Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Rearranging My Brain in Boulder, Colorado

People often say they "don't know anybody" when they first start out networking, but that's not true at all. I took a business trip to Boulder, Colorado, a few weeks ago that proved conclusively that everybody knows somebody. You can't get much more basic a relationship than the one you have with your sister, yet it was the people my sister knew that made the whole thing happen.

Photo by Molas

I grew up in Colorado, but I'd never done any business there. (My sister, Alison Picher, has a growing marketing and PR practice herself in Boulder, specializing in sustainability.)
It was a whirlwind trip, very fast and very mind-blowing. I'll give you the blow-by-mind-blow.

I went to Boulder to meet with a client I had met through my sister. I've been doing business development and market research with Andy Gaudette for over a year, but we'd never actually met in person. (Strange how that works sometimes.) Gaudette International develops some rather specialized software for the health care industry, and it has tremendous word-of-mouth buzz. Gaudette International's clients are almost fanatical about the software, with suggestions on how to improve it or on who else in the industry should know about it. We were talking to Andy about how to build on this momentum. He's really brought together a community of people throughout the industry who had never talked together before, and the results could be electrifying.

After our discussion with Andy, Alison took me to her chiropractor for a session. The chiropractor didn't do much, but what she did do had tremendous results. The peak point of the experience was when she was applying pressure to the top of my head. I had a vision that she was picking up pieces of my mind and moving them around.

Next day, I went out on a photo shoot with my sister. Alison works professionally, and, as a Christmas present, she took some portrait shots of me for marketing my consulting practice. I wanted something different than the usual head shot, and I think I got it.

Photos: Alison Picher

I then had lunch at Chez Thuy with Chris Locke (aka Rage Boy), one of the authors of Cluetrain Manifesto. Chris and I have a friendship that extends back 15 years, but we'd never actually met in person. (Strange how that works sometimes.) Chris was skeptical of my brain massage the day before, but he regaled me with stories from the time he was a Teen-Aged Brain Surgeon. I was skeptical, but he swore it was true.

Chris is up to his old tricks as an industry gadfly and visionary with a new web site. When I told Chris about my blog and my directory/calendar, he encouraged me to search on krugle.org to see if I could find some open source software that I could use for it. Interesting stuff. I also recommend Chez Thuy very highly, if you are ever in Boulder.

Later that afternoon, I had a Diet Coke with Michael Edwards, another person I've met through my sister. Michael is developing a bang-up health-related web site and needed some marketing guidance. We got so wrapped up in the conversation that we lost track of time. I hope that someday I can tell you more about what Michael is doing, because it is a fabulous idea.

Me, my sister Alison, her husband Chris, photo by Insight Designs

We ended the day with a party at Insight Designs, which provides web site design for brother-in-law, Chris Allan, who works at Global Greengrants Funds. It was fun being at a networking function in Colorado. Nico Toutenhoofd of Insight Designs had a room set up with a camera and professional lighting, so that guests could come and get their pictures taken. Nice bit of client relations.

As always, when people found out I had grown up in Colorado, they asked, incredulously, "Why do you live in Philadelphia?" Well, I'll tell you. Philadelphia may not have the mountains, but it has diversity, history, and a sense of place that is hard to find in today's world. It is a walking city, with hidden surprises around every corner. Boulder is beautiful because Nature made it that way. Philadelphia is beautiful because of the people in it. Happy Networking!
I'm looking forward to some Mummers.


Cameron said...
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Cameron said...

Offering professional photos as client relations never crossed my mind, but it's definitely a creative way of reaching out to the community. We might have to try something like that at the web development company I work for. ;)