We were all sitting around a long oval table, a comfortable murmur of voices and a couple of exclamations punctuated the greetings.
The ice cubes in the tall glass that was sweating in front of me were melting lazily producing that familiar clicking sound.
When the meeting started and introductions were made, the client, an angler himself, asked: so what's the next Facebook?
They filed in the small room in groups of two or three, setting down their leather folders and note pads while still talking with one another.
Something about returning from vacation and being semi-comfortable with catching up in the glow of recent rest.
A couple of stragglers joined a few minutes later while we were fiddling with the projector and the screen — we didn't quite seem to get it adjusted right.
Our focus was zooming in and out to take in the dynamics of the group.
Who sat next to whom? How was the energy in the room? As soon as we got into the analysis we learned the answer: it was leaning forward.
These are just two examples from engagements in the last year.
They are candid shots of group conversations taken from memory in very different states and cities. I once worked with a gentleman from Texas and I can tell you that is almost a different country.
The one thing they have in common: they are representations of people at the beginning of a conversation. Engaged, leaning forward, expectations primed.
What happens in the next few moments will determine the stance in the room and the resulting outcome.
More than four years ago I wrote about Web 3.0 Artificial Intelligent agents will be Conversation Agents where I outlined a few thoughts about how pull technology will replace push completely. Go see the details, if you're so inclined.
I posted it on G+ and Facebook today and got a few reactions and comments. We're starting to see some of the implications I outlined there now:
- dealing with data — how about starting small?
- growth of networks — here I said, We need to make our Internet smaller, not bigger, yet more relevant to us. The social network lives inside your data network. Tailored to your needs and universal key to all your connections and relationships
- end of selling as pitches and the beginning of the true era of conversation — I have some fresh ideas around big picture listening as model of influence and why you need to have a buy strategy
- opt-in email — how are we doing on this one?
- dealing with bandwidth — for our data and digital stuff we have Dropbox and we have the cloud. How about personal bandwidth?
Thinking about the developments of the last four plus years, I missed a couple of pieces:
- remembering is the new discovery — apps and tools to trust with your memories and information from which to build product-based markets — think Etsy and Pinterest in different executions — creative work — think Evernote — relationships — think Engagio, Path, for example — trusted recommendations — think Vineloop (more on this in a separate post)
- the storeless store and saleless sale — with the rise of mobile, transactions occur wherever you are — I used to marvel at being able to check out with an iPhone at the Apple store, and now we're talking about NFC mobile payments in testing with PayPal, and more
With all this excitement a person who spends as much time online as I do could forget that we still do so much offline — because that's where we live and love.
Skype video is great; being able to take someone's hand or hug them in greeting is still the best app ever.
How do you connect now?
I've been thinking about this as I'm planning to change a few things around in my work.
I don't know if this happens to you as well. When I put my focus and intention on something I'm really passionate about, things show up. Talk about magic.
It was the same realization Jonathan Fields shared in his annual report that lit up my ah-ha during the end of the year.
As I'm reconnecting with my network in Philadelphia and doing some planning for 2012, it occurred to me that where all this is driving, something I implied and never said, is the next phase of the web is integrating offline, not the other way around.
Because connections happen in real life.
(I'm going to talk a bit more about how this is changing 3 Ps of marketing in the Premium Newsletter that will come out next Tuesday.)
For now, I'm curious to learn from you: how do you connect now? Where is your sweet spot with work and play? Anything you'd like to do more of or less of this year?
How about your third place? Where do you branch out? Is there a favorite coffee shop or are you moving more to a learning experience like Skillshare or Next Door Community Cafe' where you can take financial coaching classes.
[image by Jeannie Fletcher]