Batman has been very good to me. A few years ago, I mentioned that I liked Batman, and that led to a conversation with Michael Sampson, expert enterprise communities professional from New Zealand. We had a great conversation that day. Since that first conversation via Skype, I’ve seen Michael twice (once in Boston, and another time in San Jose). Through this relationship, I was able to review Michael’s book. I’m sure there’s much more to our relationship left to come. I have Batman to thank (partially) for that.
What I want to talk about is what this means in the sense of online relationships, in business development, in relationship management.
By visiting comic stores from time to time, I stay attached to my sense of wonder, my appreciation of good line art, my taste for the fantastical. By visiting Mick’s store, I’ve built a relationship with Mick. We talk when I come in. He tweets out new releases that might appeal to me. I share the occasional business-related idea with Mick. I’ve never met people who are interested in comics that aren’t also bright, visionary, and forward-thinking. Because of this, I’m always appreciative of the chance to keep my finger on the pulse of the comic book industry. I do that through Mick’s store, and through reading a few publications.
A week or two ago, I saw a really cool Batman action figure in a store. I’d never seen it before, but it was evidently related to JSA: The Liberty Files. I sent a Twitpic out into the ether of Twitter, just saying that I was in love with the statue. I think it’s the goggles, and the steampunk-like vision of Batman that excited me.
Imagine my surprise when the guys from Stadium Comics in Brampton, Ontario (Canada) sent me a message offering to send me one. These guys owe me nothing. They didn’t expect any kind of write-up. Heck, they don’t even have a website for me to point you to ( only a Facebook profile), so they couldn’t have done it for the hopeful publicity.
Maybe, just maybe, the guys were just nice, and thrilled that they could support a Batman lover like me. However, you know what? When I talk about Batman in a presentation (as you know I will), this story will come up. (Info that I found on the web about Stadium – Stadium Comics & Sportscards / 499 Main Street South / Brampton, ON L6Y1N7 / Phone: (905) 451-3751.)
Somehow, in all this Batman-based discussion, I also learned that famous Batman artist Dave Dorman was following me on Twitter. (I learned this from his wife, Denise Dorman, who’s also there.) Amongst other things, Dave has quite a killer collection of Batman art and I’m looking forward to visiting the next time I’m in Chicago (they’re a little ways away in Geneva). Score another for the Batman thing.
DC Comics and Zemoga
A few weeks ago, Sven Larsen and DJ Edgerton met me outside 1700 Broadway, the headquarters of DC Comics. If you think I’m connected in social media circles, Sven is the me+20 of the comics world. Sven knows everyone in comics, it seems. We were in the hallway of DC, and we walked by former Marvel editor in chief, Bob Harras, and he just says, “Hey, Sven,” like they’d had coffee the day before. Everyone there knew Sven. So, in turn, I got a great visit.
Sven and DJ work at Zemoga, a really cool interactive agency, with offices in NY and Bogota, Colombia. They’ve got a great agency with all kinds of really cool stories. The thing is, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have sat still to hear about it, given the pace of my days. But because Sven was so generous with his time and with the chance to visit DC, and since DJ turned out to be equal parts interesting and fun, I really am glad we got together, and thrilled we hung out.
Here’s one of 13 videos shot during the trip:
Relationship Building and the Web
So if you’ve stuck with me so far, what I’m thinking about is this: we are in an unprecedented time, where our personal lives and our business lives blend. People can share more about themselves through their blogs, through Facebook, through Twitter, and other platforms, such that you can learn more about your prospective business colleagues. For instance, if you meet someone during an interview, of course they’re going to talk about what a hard worker they are. Is that so? Check his Twitter stream or his Facebook status. Does it line up?
Need that important meeting with Jeff Pulver? Maybe you can talk to him about music. He’s shown you what he likes on Facebook. It’s right there for you to work with.
With tools like Twitter and blogs and Facebook, we can learn more about the people we need to reach. For instance, I once was trying to connect to Len Devanna of EMC. It only took a quick scan of Len’s Twitter stream to realize that he was at a conference, that he needed more coffee, and that if I were to have contacted him at that very moment, it wouldn’t have been a very good phone call.
It’s like magic, really. It’s not new magic, but I swear that it’s something we’re not really looking at with enough rigor. How are you connecting with people? Are you finding ways in through their personal connections to you and your interests?
What’s your take?