I have just been to one of Jeff Pulver’s breakfasts and was completely bowled over with how effective his networking techniques are. Jeff, as he told us in his speech, is naturally a very shy person. It’s taken me ten years to realise this. In order to overcome his shyness he has developed a technique for getting conversation going.
This involves sticking bits of paper on yourself with a statement about you that is meant to be an ice-breaker. The person you are talking to, during the course of your chat, writes a comment on a small piece of sticky paper and sticks it on a label that you have positioned on your chest, and vice versa. This can be somewhat awkward if that person is a she but hey ho. The sticky note effectively works like the “wall” on Facebook
The point of these breakfasts is not to learn how to network though. Apart from Jeff, who I already know, I didn’t meet a single person who might be described as shy. Everyone there was an entrepreneur and interested in how the whole Social Networking technology movement, if I can call it that is going to change the way we work.
I can’t say I have all the answers although I am working on it. What I did pick up on though was Jeff’s comment regarding the death of the email. He has a point. Most of the younger generation (Y), me included of course, now communicate more by IM and the use of sites such as Facebook than by email.
The Timico Network Operations Centre is not at the Newark HQ and during the day I will have many conversations with the team via IM. In fact I probably only use email to open tickets to get specific jobs done. The team is largely always online whatever the time of day.
This is so much the case that if there are any developers out there working on IM products can I suggest that we need to be able to drag and drop IM conversations into folders. This is how I store emails for later retrieval. I’m not going to patent this idea (it wasn’t mine originally anyway). Consider it to be my contribution to the open source movement 🙂 .
Many photos were taken during the breakfast so I’ll see if I can get hold of one. I have to say though as a breakfast it was a complete failure. I was too busy talking to eat anything 🙂