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A couple of weeks ago, I was having coffee with a friend, who mentioned that he had worked with a good designer.

As something who runs a business with the help of a “federation” of freelancers and independent contractors, I asked if he could make an introduction. I’m always interested in meeting new people to see if we can help each other personally or professionally.

After I sent an email to explain the connection and why I wanted to connect, the response was surprisingly tepid. I got the impression the designer was too busy to be interested, or they didn’t think that connecting was worth their time. In the seven years that I have been running my consulting business, it’s the first time that I have been soundly rebuffed.

To be honest, it struck me as strange because networking is the bread and butter of running a business. While you can connect digitally, business really happens when you do it face to face or, at least, over the phone. There is something about making a personal connection that changes the dynamics of a relationship.

A key part of networking is being open to different experiences. Some networking events are awesome. You meet interesting people with new ideas, promising companies, or opportunities for new business. Some events, however, can be unproductive and uninspiring. But you never know what’s going to happen unless you put yourself out there.

With this in mind, I’m looking forward CIX today. For people in the startup community, it’s a great day of networking with entrepreneurs, VCs, academics and suppliers.


If you’re looking to jump-start your startup marketing, I can help you make it happen. I recently published a book, Storytelling for Startups, that provides strategic and tactical guidance to entrepreneurs looking to embrace the power of story-driven marketing.

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