The Value of Meeting in Person


Cape Town, South Africa & WooThemes

Today I was treated to some time with the WooThemes team as we visiting a new spot (that even some of them had never visited). It's claim to fame is that it has wine tasting, beer tasting, chocolate tasting, coffee and a pizzeria – all in one. You would think that it was the highlight of my week in South Africa, but it wasn't the food that was incredible.

No, the really great thing about today was the dedicated time that so many WooThemes staff spent hanging out with Brian Krogsgard (my S.A. traveling companion) and I.

Brian and I solved all their problems as Brian had 14 IPAs, while I just sipped on water. (At least that's how I remember it). So if you start seeing new themes, new theme demos, changes to WooCommerce and more – trust me, it was all because of us. 🙂

Meeting in Person

In all seriousness, the time Brian and I had with Adii yesterday at dinner, today with Magnus and team, and the other night with Mark (all three co-founders of WooThemes) was fantastic. They're all great guys.

But dare I say that it was today's time with the rest of the staff that was also incredible because we were meeting in person with people that we normally deal with via email, chat, and forums.

  • When you meet in person, you develop a greater respect for the whole person.
  • When you meet in person, you discover how similar you really are.
  • When you meet in person, you determine new ways to collaborate.

At one point today I turned to Jeff and mentioned that I had an upcoming project using Sensei that meant we should catch some time together to talk thru. He lit up – I'm sure because that's his baby. His product. He spent countless hours on it, and now would get to step into details about how it was being used in real life.

At another point, I got to talk with Maria about some really cool things related to the WooCommerce community. I'm positive we'll be following up soon to explore some really amazing things.

Meeting in person creates the trust that accelerates movement forward.

I'm leaving Cape Town, but….

I'm leaving Cape Town, but my relationships with Matty (Chief Product Officer), Warren (CIO), and Joel (Business Development) are better because I've been here. My conversations with Adii, Mark & Magnus each gave me fantastic insight into what they're up to, what they're thinking about and ways I could come alongside them and support them.

I'm leaving Cape Town but I'm not saying goodbye. Meeting these folks and spending time with them has created new opportunities for us to talk more, and to say “hello” in new ways.

We've all been in those conversations where you're going thru the motions, asking what each other does, etc. We've all been in those same conversations when suddenly something connects. And at that moment you're suddenly interested, right?

At that moment, it's like you want to start the conversation all over again. It's a new “hello” as you ask, one more time, what they do (only this time you're really listening).

Meeting people in person is that way. I've traded emails and tweets with people I've never met in person. But after meeting them in person and spending time together, everything is different. I'm ready to listen in a different way.

So do me a favor. Make a list of folks you want to meet. Folks that would be worth meeting. And then do whatever you can to meet them in person.

It will change the nature of your relationships. I promise.