Surround yourself with smart people


WordCamp Chicago was awesome!

This weekend I spent some time with some amazing people at WordCamp Chicago. Aaron Holbrook and Michelle Schulp (along with many others) put on a great event.

The sessions were filled with great speakers and the social time always makes the trip worth it.

But most importantly, the best thing about a weekend like this for me comes down to one thing: hanging out with some really great folks.

Who are you hanging out with?

Imagine you could meet with someone who had spent time with one WordPress business owner after another. Imagine you could hear directly from them all the key takeaways he'd had after interviewing them all. Imagine you could learn quickly (and painlessly) instead of doing everything the hard way.

Would you want to hang out with Matt of The Matt Report? Of course you would. And that's what I did this weekend and am smarter because of it.

Imagine you could meet with a marketing automation expert. You could find out what he's up to with his clients and all the secret sauce he uses to help them automate much of their prospecting and deal flow. Would you want to do that?

I got to spent an hour or two sitting with Erik Wolf learning more about ORBTR.

Here's what I know – if you have a value for constant learning, then you need one more value too!

Surround yourself with smart people!

I know what I don't know – which becomes a longer and longer list every year. I don't mind not knowing things. Because the truth is, I can't know everything. If I'm trying to develop certain amounts of actual expertise, I can't do everything.

So instead of trying to be the smartest in the room, I want to surround myself with really smart people – who are doing great things in their own areas of expertise.

Invariably, I learn stuff. I can't help but learn stuff – because I'm hanging around with some really great, smart, and generous folks.

Are you doing the same?

Having lunch with 10up's most recent hire, Aaron Holbrook, I asked him what caused him to leave freelance work and to join 10up. His answer was exactly what I'm talking about here. He said he wanted to work with smart people, to learn like a sponge, and to have fun being the dumb one in the room.

If you've met Aaron, you know he's not dumb. In fact, he's really really smart – because he's choosing to work in a context where he can keep growing and learning.

What can you do?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that you can't possible meet with the same kind of amazing people that I can. You don't know them. They don't know you. It's not the same thing.

Well let me tell you what you can do – I know from direct experience.

Take them out to a meal. Or just pay for their meal. It can be lunch and tacos. Burgers. Salads. It doesn't have to cost more than $10. Or it can cost you $100. It won't matter, because great people are worth spending time with – even if it costs you a bit.

But I bet if you invite them to eat, they'll say yes. And you can then ask them a question or two (but dear God, let them eat, too).

So what are you waiting for – call up the people you want to learn from and invite them to grab a bite.