The Internet has come a long way. We are no longer in the age of anonymous chat rooms and funny-looking avatars. Personas that are online today, for the most part, correspond to real flesh-and-blood human beings out there in the world. For those of you unfamiliar with Internet lingo, “IRL” means “In Real Life,” and it is a testament to the depth and breadth of communication platforms available to us today. You no longer have to really meet someone in order to meet someone. You can have genuine friendships with people you’ve never even met. 2012 has been a banner year from me in building fantastic professional connections across the globe. A few of these fine folks, I’ve had the opportunity to meet in-person. All of them are brilliant business people and thinkers in their own right. I would be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t tell you a bit about them…
Meetup with Steve Weiss
Although, it was technically on December 24, 2011 that I met Steve at Starbucks in Boardman, Ohio, it was my first time meeting someone in person that I had met online. I had initially met Steve on Twitter through a mutual connection, Anthony Iannarino. Steve had been a student of Anthony’s in a Social Media course at Capital University. I had found Anthony’s The Sales Blog and become a loyal reader when I was in sales. Steve started doing social media consulting after graduation and eventually went out west to pursue his interest in adventure sports. He created Mountain Enthusiast, an online journal for enthusiasts of climbing and other extreme sports. Now, he is the social media manager for Niche Snowboards. Steve is a hero of mine. He is the embodiment of purusing your dreams and making it work, no matter the odds.
Meetup with Mike Kunkle and Anthony Iannarino
On January 5, 2012, I met up with Mike Kunkle and Anthony Iannarino at BJ’s Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. I had originally met Mike Kunkle (pictured on the left) through digital sales and marketing tribe (The STA Triberr you’ll read about soon) in which he and Anthony are original members. Mike is a long-time sales trainer who writes prolifically on his Transforming Sales Results blog about sales, with emphasis on quantitative research and analytics. Mike is as congenial as he is brilliant. I’m happy to know him.
As mentioned earlier, I met Anthony (pictured on the right) by reading his blog, The Sales Blog. Anthony is pretty much my intellectual hero. I’ve learned more about business, sales, marketing, self-discipline, and personal growth from him than from any other person. Period. He’s a great thinker. He’s a great doer. He’s a very nice guy. To keep from sounding like too much of a fanboy, I’ll stop talking about how awesome Anthony is an move on. Just read his blog. The proof is in the pudding.
Meetup with Mike Lehr
On April 2012, 2012, I met up with Mike Lehr at Ruby Tuesdays in Streetsboro, Ohio. I originally met Mike through the 12 Most community–a digital tribe of now over 100 brilliant folks that I was introduced to through–you guessed it–Anthony Iannarino. Mike is brilliant business consultant–at the intersection of human resources and technology. Mike writes regularly on the psychology of business leadership on his Omega Z Advisors blog. He also has had an excellent book out for years, The Feminine Influence in Business.
Meetup with The STA Triberr Group
In May, I traveled to Chicago for the grand-daddy of all meetups. Earlier in the year, I had been given the opportunity to be part of the Triberr group of many of my digital heroes–the folks I had been a student of in the sales and marketing space online. Suddenly, before I realized what was happening, they had invited me in to BE one of them. The opportunity to be in the same room as nearly 20 of these people was a dream come true. Below is a brief description of the people present (listed clockwise, beginning with the bald guy with an iPad on his lap).
- Anthony Iannarino of The Sales Blog. Follow @Iannarino.
- Richard Ruff of Sales Training Connection. Follow @saleshorizons.
- Karin Bellantoni of Blueprint Sales Management Science. Follow @blueprintsms.
- Babette Ten Haken (not visible in picture) of Sales Aerobics for Engineers and author of Do You Mean Business? Follow @BabetteTenHaken.
- Gary Hart (the elbow in picture) of Sales Du Jour. Follow @salesdujour.
- Miles Austin of Fill the Funnel. Follow @milesaustin.
- Steven Rosen of Star Results and author of 52 Sales Management Tips. Follow @stevenarosen.
- Lori Richardson of Score More Sales. Follow @scoremoresales.
- Tibor Shanto (head of table in picture) of Renbor Sales Solutions and author of Shift. Follow @tiborshanto.
- Leanne Hoagland-Smith of Increase Sales and author of Be the Red Jackets in a Sea of Gray Suits. Follow @coachlee.
- Andy Paul of Zero-Time Selling and author of Zero-Time Selling. Follow @zerotimeselling.
- Robert Terson of Selling Fearlessly and author of Selling Fearlessly. Follow @robertterson.
- Mike Weinberg of New Sales Coach and author of New Sales Simplified. Follow @mike_weinberg.
- Kelley Robertson of Fearless Selling and author of The Secrets of Power Selling. Follow @fearlessselling.
- Me, Douglas E Rice (in the red shirt). What the heck => Follow @douglaserice ;-D
- Mark Hunter of The Sales Hunter and author of High Profit Selling. Follow @thesaleshunter.
- Peter Notschke of Score More Sales. Follow @notschke.
- Charles Green (closer head of table in picture) of Trusted Advisor Associates and author of The Trusted Advisor. Follow @charleshgreen.
- Don Perkins (unpictured) of Mind Mulch. Follow @donfperkins.
Meetup with Becky Gaylord
On May 31, I met up with Becky Gaylord from the 12Most community at Cafe Ah-Roma in Cleveland, Ohio. Becky has had an extensive career in journalism and now has a thriving public relations consulting business, Gaylord LLC. Becky is a brilliant writer and has a tremendous amount of expertise in many things, including public relations, marketing, customer service, and social media.
Meetup with Steve Birkett
Over the summer, I met with yet another “12Moster” when Steve Birkett and I met up at Starbucks in Austintown, Ohio. Steve had spent several years doing social media consulting for artists–most commonly musicians–in his own business (a ridiculously clever name), Above the Static. At the time of our meeting, Steve had also just taken up a position as a marketing associate for the Esvee Group in New York. Obviously, Steve is a highly intelligent guy in marketing and social media. But he’s also just a really cool guy to chat with. I met up with him again at the same place on Christmas Eve of this year. You should definitely get to know him too.
Meetup with Margie Clayman
In the fall, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite online personalities at one of my favorite coffee shops–Angel Falls Coffee in Arkon, Ohio. I can’t remember whether I original met Margie through the 12 Most community or on Twitter, but she has been a part of my digital interactions for the entire year. She is both witty and insightful, a great conversationalist and fantastic at stimulating as well as contributing to friendly debates on controversial topics. Margie works in marketing as the director of client development at Clayman Marketing Communications in Akron (Read the AMAZING company blog). However, she also has degrees in history and library science. She is amazing writer (check out her AMAZING personal blog). She is a brilliant lady. I can’t say enough nice things about Margie. Get to know her and you’ll see what I mean.
I want to thank everyone in all of my online communities for the support you’ve shown and insight you’ve given me in 2012. I look forward to someday meeting and deepening my relationship with all of you. The world is getting smaller and I’m happy to share it with such brilliant and kind-hearted people. Social media, in many ways, has saved my life.