I’ll Have What He’s Having

"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich.

I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.

And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night."

This is part of a dialogue scene in When Harry Met Sally, the 1989 movie starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal.

Before we got to that scene, both characters over analyzed every aspect of other relationships, while never questioning their own friendship.

It reminded me a lot of what is happening with online influence today. You know who your go-to people are, who comes through for you, yet you seem to be ready to chase after all kinds of people you don't know.

And online celebrities have skewed the delicate balance we had with subject matter experts, too.

There's a famous scene in the movie when Ms. Ryan's performance in a public restaurant elicits a response from a neighboring table: "I'll have what she's having". By seeing another person enjoying an experience, a stranger to them, someone decides it's worth a try.

When is it a buy, though? It's when Harry truly meets Sally as in the quote above.

As I said last week, there's influence, and then there's influence. There is a deeper kind of influence — that of a relationship.

When it comes to making true decisions, we naturally gravitate toward those we know. Often because we're comfortable asking. It came through in some of the comments last week. Others focused on the buzz-building, message-spreading component we call "influence".

See if you can tell the difference from these highlights:

"I think we need more wisdom about influence, what it is and isn't and how to use it wisely." Jeff Hurt

"I do believe we can and should measure influence – if for no other reason than to find the people who are fascinating to read, follow and interact with on the topics we have a passion for." Gary Lee

"Klout is just the new (one of many) reputation score (analogous to a financial FICO score). It's very early, but I believe they'll be doing a lot more in determine your influence and online reputation." Mark Fidelman

"I am glad that people are still taking on this topic, it's one of the most relevant subjects being discussed with all the flawed tools measuring influence out there." Joe Hackman

"I can believe that one day each social profile will live as a social object (think Open Graph) and thus influence in ability to drive traffic might be measured, but for the most part that need is served by… individual Websites/blogs!" Brian Crouch

"It's all a popularity contest – a game – and it's all designed to get product in front of eyeballs with the least amount of concern for the individuals who make up the market." Brian Driggs

Spreading news and trafficking messages has its place. Although both kinds are useful and have a role in our society, the relationship-based kind is the game changing one.

Building stronger, more resilient, and enduring businesses requires a different kind of commitment. One that is very much in demand and, judging from the news, in scarce supply.

What does this kind of influence look like?

Teaching others what you know, leading by example, collaborative building (in business and in our Government), using more empathy and com-passion — no opportunity to improve someone/something left behind. Involved, interested, and energizing.

How does it happen? We'll talk about the power of connections next week.

I'll have what he's having. What about you?


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