Five Places to Check in for Connecting


On New Year's Eve, I spent midnight in Paris.

The midnight hour is quite magical to a night owl like me. It's when creativity visits, and focus becomes easier. Going on a journey with nice views, exquisite dialogue and atmosphere, and enjoyable company is the premise for a good time.

I confess I didn't expect the story to be so engaging, and Wilson manages to involve us in the narrative with innocence and awe. It was easy to feel transported to a different era… let me start from the beginning. 

(I bet you smiled when you realized I was talking about a movie.)

The plot

Gil, a successful Hollywood screenwriter who expresses a desire to move to Paris, is struggling to finish his first novel. He's with his fiancée, Inez and her wealthy parents. Inez dismisses his ambition as a romantic daydream.

By chance, they are joined by Inez's friend Paul, a pseudo-intellectual who speaks with great authority but little actual accuracy on the history and art of the city. Inez idolizes him, Gil finds him insufferable.

One night, Gil gets drunk and wanders the streets of Paris where he gets lost. At midnight, an antique car pulls up, and the passengers—dressed in 1920s clothing—urge Gil to join them. They go to a bar, where Gil comes to realize that he has been transported to the 1920s, his Golden Age.

He happens upon Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who take him to meet Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway agrees to show Gil's novel to Gertrude Stein. Over the next few nights, Stein agrees to read his novel and introduces him to Pablo Picasso and his mistress Adriana, to whom Gil is instantly attracted.

After spending each night in the past meeting many of the artists he admires and each day not fitting in with his reality, Gil discovers his encounter with Adriana turns romantic from reading her diary from the 1920's, which he finds at an antiques stall.

In the following midnight strolls to the past, following the "script" from the diary, Gil confesses to Adriana he's taken by her. As they kiss, they are invited inside a carriage by a richly-dressed couple and are transported back to the Belle Époque, Adriana's Golden Age.

They go to Maxim's Paris, and eventually to the Moulin Rouge where they meet Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and Edgar Degas. When Gil asks what the gentlemen thought the best era was, the three determine that the greatest era was the Renaissance.

Adriana decides to stay and live the Belle Époque. Gil, realizing ach age has its nostalgia Golden Age comes back to his present life. The movie concludes with him deciding to stay in Paris and getting to know Gabrielle, an antiques dealer and fellow admirer of the Lost Generation.

You could say this a happy interest-graph ending.

Considerations on place

There is much more detail in the movie. The internal/external dialogue is also well played.

One of the advantages of observing and listening as a viewer is you get to see and notice many things at once, while the characters get to uncover them as they go. Imagine what you would see if you could zoom out and watch people interacting at events, for example.

How would that change what you do?

We now have the tools to check in virtually for places we visit physically — and to remember those places by pinning or posting images, maps, names of people who were with us. Our social network(s) can view and share based upon permission(s).

There's an app for digital nostalgia, for example, which makes a technology meaningful to the people who use it.

I don't use Foursquare. According to Anil Dash, who is a reliable source (= I trust) on tech, it is the best executing technology startup. You'd need to be to make the promise of outsourcing part of my memory, and making commercially meaningful introductions.

The definition of place for many (not everyone, though, something to keep in mind) now includes many virtual outposts and communities.

Why is this important to highlight? Because while we can bump into many different people and lots of potential, assessing opportunities is still the domain of relationships. And relationships are about now.

There is a place (and time) for relationships, and other times (and places) could potentially derail us from our present moment, which is where the action is, as in the movie plot.

Five places to check in for connecting

Where are the real relationships? The people (and they could be customers, too) who are connected to you or you feel connected to by real things

Try checking in these places:

  1. at home
  2. your team at work
  3. the community of those you actually meet. For example, if you sit on an advisory Board
  4. where you volunteer your time
  5. a mastermind group committed to helping each other get things done

These are my five places to check in for connecting. Is this too small a pool? If you look at it as a pool, maybe. I see it a a river, where things change slow and fast.

Where do you check in for connecting?


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