I started writing this post after seeing Tony Hsieh from Zappos gave the first keynote of SXSW. Of course, I didn't finish it then but I wanted to post from Austin and I really wanted to get one of his thoughts across. When people ask me why I come to SXSW, I always tell them that it is about the people first. This event brings together the most diverse group of people from around the globe and I want to meet them all and tell them about me and my company. Plain and simple that is what it is about. Yes, the sessions are great, the parties are fun and the food here you can't go wrong with.
The point that Tony made that stuck with me was when he talked about "the two to three year payoff."
While I've never called it this, it is something I have talked about and firmly believe in. The fact that you might meet someone today and while it may instantly not lead to something more then a new online friend, in the long run it may come back to you years down the road. I've had this happen over and over and while some people don't put a lot of stock in it, I do personally and professionally.
We live in that fun filled world of the always on society. Everything you say, do and create lives on beyond that moment it happened. I had someone come up to me at SXSW who only knew me from a single video I made, but that video he connected with and it meant something to him. That was a pretty damn cool moment and I keep telling people about it.
You never know how the next person you are going to meet is going to change your life. Not every encounter does lead to something bigger and better, but in the long run it's impossible to know. They might mention you to someone who later becomes a client. Perhaps they know someone that can help you with a project you are working on. Heck, maybe the next time you are in their town you now have someone to grab dinner with.
Monday morning rambles are fun, but this is something I believe in. Tony was right. So put away your laptop and get out there and say hi to people today. I may be in Austin and doing it, but you can easily do it wherever you are.