In the wide, wide, wonderful world of the ‘Net, you can have a full-on relationship without ever meeting the person you’re having it with.
Believe it or not, this described my own relationship with my marketing coach and blogging colleague (blolleague?), Ilise, for the past year and a half. Peleg and I met at his excellent workshop on Pricing and Marketing for Designers, but though he "introduced" me to his partner in New Jersey, Ilise and I had only ever communicated via phone and email.
Fortunately, that was rectified a couple of weeks ago with a delightful Marketing Mentor rendezvous. Ilise, Peleg and a trial assortment of Marketing Mentor clients gathered to share stories, ideas and some very delicious food for a few hours of a Sunday evening, after which shanghaied another restaurant patron to document the event:
In addition to how delightful it was putting a face to the voice (it’s definitely enhanced our weekly checkins on the phone), it was interesting to meet the other "me’s"—those drawn to the way Peleg and Ilise work. We run the gamut, us small biz folk: in our little group alone, there was a designer, a union organizer, a lecturer who officiates on the side and a documentarian. Even better were some of our previous day jobs: copywriter, punk electrician, Hollywood exec and priest. (Talk about working for stately institutions.)
Bottom line? It was incredibly invigorating to sit with like-minded souls operating at different spokes of the wheel and share ideas in person. Lots of overlap, lots of great new perspective.
Like this list, for instance. Ilise (or Peleg, I forget), asked what was the best book each of us had read in the past year:
- What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World
- Austenland (just for fun!)
- Made to Stick
- Eat. Pray. Love.
- The Brand Called You
- Body for Life (out of print—link goes to half.com)
- Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
My own suggestion was Steven Pressfield‘s excellent The War of Art, which I’ve pimped both on my blog and in my own newsletter, so impressed was I with what it had to say about the day-to-day challenges artists face. Of course, if you’re counting, you might figure out that some of us had a problem narrowing the field to one choice, but it’s all good. That kind of excess is welcome (other titles we threw out were Crucial Conversations, Emotional Intelligence, and yes, Don’t Shoot the Dog.)
The evening just confirmed for me that for as wonderful as my online relationships are—and for as grateful as I am to have an Internet that makes them possible—there’s nothing like the exchange of energy, ideas and enthusiasm that happens when real people gather in real life. In fact, one of the things we discussed was ways of making it happen more often for Marketing Mentor.
What do you think? Do you get something special out of offline encounters with online colleagues? And does having those meetups enrich your relationships when you return to the online exchanges?