Value of the Connector

Making connections –for myself, and for others makes me feel alive and happy. For example, the Unity in Diversity project that I’ve been working on for the past 4 months, is a core team that is across NZ, California, Connecticut, France and Germany. None of us knew any of us this time last year, but the ease and grace with which we do the work and hold the space is something to behold. 

Last week, I had the chance to have a conversation with one of my absolute heroes in the world my brain inhabits (participatory organizations), Bonnitta Roy. I have so many examples of my just noticing, thanking, commenting, and requesting that have resulted in connecting with people whose brains and hearts inspire me every day. 

Back in the day, you’d write a letter and hope for a reply – maybe a signed photo! 

Today, it’s completely possible to initiate real relationship with pretty much anyone who is open to it. And wow does it make you feel good when you receive an enthusiastic reply. 

I also get it that it doesn’t always happen. I remember writing a heartfelt note to Tony Schwartz, and feeling nice about the fact that he stalked my Linkedin page. But he didn’t accept my invitation to connect, nor did he acknowledge my note. That’s OK, people are busy – but I use that example as, in my experience, the exception to the rule. 

I suppose the team at Linkedin isn’t dumb – I like to think that when they put together their user stories back in, or around the turn of the century ( I love saying that!) that one of their user stories would be someone like me, in little New Zealand, with big ideas about the power of connection and influence and network, and that they designed with me in mind. 

(Interesting aside, I was one of Linkedin’s first 10,000 users!) 

Maybe 10 years ago I received a personal note from Reid Hoffman thanking me. I love that. I like being a market maker – and really appreciated being noticed for my place in that. 

I think that partly what has happened for me is that my Working Out Loud practice moved from ‘something I did as a project’ to something I do as muscle memory –reflexively. 

My friend Ben and I talk a lot about conversation, connection, and technology (he is such a guru on the practice!) and recently that talk has transcended the technology into the Hx (human interface), which is this subtle and potentially undervalued but so important role of connector – curated, specific, intentional, appropriate connections. 

And isn’t it curious and wonderful that technology can now allow us to reallythink about the Hx?