Take Notes About Who You Meet and Then Follow Up… Building Community

Regardless of whether your a politician or a hockey mom, throughout your life, you’re going to be meeting people and building a community around your interests, thoughts, and ideas.

Often, you’ll end up meeting more people then you can keep track of.  One tip that I find helpful is to take notes about who I meet.  If I don’t get their business card, I try to write down their name and some facts about them in a notebook that I carry with me.  I’d highly recommend getting one of those small moleskine notebooks.

Then… I’d recommend using a CRM tool or some type of Contact Manager.  At work, we use Salesforce but I’d also highly recommend 37signals’ Highrise.  I know some that use Facebook or LinkedIn as the way to keep track of the folks that they meet.  The key is use something.  Use it to make notes about how you met, their interests, and maybe the substance of the conversation.  If you can grab things like their birthday that’s even better.

The key is that you want to be able to more easily recall the data about them when you run into them next time.  Sometimes even writing down the information about who you meet and how will help to fuse that into your brain.

One cool thing you can do in Highrise and Salesforce is that you can immediately schedule a followup of somesort.  When you meet folks, it’s great to send them a note saying something like “it was great meeting you.”  The goal is to keep that level of engagement high.

The next step is… once you’ve made that initial contact, you need to keep them engaged.  You need to keep talking to them and have them stay a part of your community.

Broadcasting My Sister’s Wedding Live on Ustream

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of broadcasting events live over the Web but never really had the opportunity.  When I jokingly suggested that my sister let me broadcast her wedding, I totally excpected her to say “no way in heck.”  She blew me away and said yes. 🙂

My sister and her now husband Adam have some good friends in Bosnia, where they’d done some mission work together, that wouldn’t be able to make it to the wedding.  Broadcasting the wedding on the Web would be perfect for them.

I chose Ustream.  I had used them before to watch other events.  I have a few friends that use them  A LOT and speak highly of them.  Plus I’d met and gotten to know some of the staff at Ustream at various industry events that I’d been to.

It was SUPER easy to setup.  I literally plugged an old iSight camera into m MacBook pro.  I went to Ustream.  I hit broadcast and record.  That was it.   You can now watch the video right on Ustream.

Friends from around the country and around the world were able to join us for this incredibly exciting event.  Ustream helped to bring my sisters “global neighborhood” together.

I’m truly blown away by how easy it was.

More and more in our lives, we’re creating personal communities for ourselves that transcencds the typical local geographic boundaries.  As was demonstrated this weekend, we can now share the experiences we have in our life with our entire community, not just the folks that can physically be there.

So… we can broadcast weddings live online.  What’s next? Someone’s already done a birth, which is kind of gross.  Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of using ustream to talk to his community during breaks he has during his day to day.

What else?

Where is your community? That’s where you need to be.

I talk to a lot of folks.  They ask me, “there are all these social media tools. I’m not sure where my company and I need to be.”

First, let me say… take a breath.

Now, my first question is – where is your community?  What tools do your community use?  Is your community talking about your on Twitter?  Are they talking about you on Get Satisfaction?  Are they blogging about you?

Does your community even use social media tools?  If they don’t, do they gather somewhere specifically?

You need to be where your community is.  If your community uses social media tools, use them.  If your community all gathers at a conference, be there.  If they all spend time at a coffee shop, go there and drink coffee with them.

I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you need to sit down and create a comprehensive plan about.  If you make product X and someone is twittering about how they’re having a problem with product X, you say “hey, how can i help?”

Got a Ticket for Future of Web Apps Miami in February 2009

Today, the cool kids at Carsonified released 100 conference tickets for $100 and 20 conference/workshop tickets for $200 for their Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference in Miami on February 22-24, 2009.

I was lucky enough to snag a conference/workshop ticket for $200. 🙂 So… I’ll see you guys in Miami at the end of February.  I’m super excited!!!!

I had so much fun at FOWA Miami this year.  I met so many great people and made a ton of great friends.