On earned relationships and assuming otherwise
A year and six days ago, I started a dream job. I got creative and worked hard to get it, and knowing this made it all the more sweet. I’m still at Bazaarvoice, and I still feel like pinching myself on occasion. This is a job that has allowed me to work with people like Sam Decker, to help shape the brand of a company that defined its own space—to feel, for the first time in my 26 years, like a person worth looking up to. I know that having Bazaarvoice in my email address and in my Twitter bio has given me access to some people that would have otherwise given me little of their attention. Those aren’t the people I care to deal with anyway, but it’s always not so easy to pick them out (and trying to do so is a tremendous waste of time).
One of the questions I’ve heard more than any other in the last year is, “how’d you land that ____?” At first, the blank was almost always filled with “gig” or “job”. But lately, it has been filled with “guest post,” or “shout out,” or “meeting.”
I heard the question when Augie Ray mentioned me in the same tweet as Jeremiah Owyang, Steve Rubel and other social leaders. I heard it the first time I guest wrote for Jay Baer, and when I did so for Brian Solis. I nearly asked it myself when sitting down to lunch with Shel Israel. You can bet I heard it when part of my conversation with David Armano made it into Harvard Business Review.
Luckily, it’s an easy one to answer: I earned it all by building relationships. It was pretty fun, too. I chatted with them on Twitter, commented on their blogs and made sure they knew who I was.
People ask the question quite innocently—they’re excited for me, or they want to do something similar. But many that ask it seem to think there just has to be something going on behind the scenes, or something else at play for whatever it is they’re asking about to happen.
Most of the time, there isn’t. Stop looking for shortcuts. Focus on crafting valuable content, build a network of people who give a damn, and look for opportunities to take the next step.
Earn the relationships and the rest will follow.
Here are some things I’ve written lately: