I have come to realize that some of the most interesting and meaningful contacts I've made lately happened on airplanes. That makes sense, really. In a space so confined you bump elbows when pulling down the snack tray, you end up making eye contact at some point. Glancing out the window means one of you is looking in the other's direction, if even for a moment.
Most importantly people are quite fascinating if you spend the time to listen. Yesterday I met a gentleman who owns a software company which is totally virtual, and quite successful. In that one hour conversation from Chicago to Minneapolis, through the bumps of a blinding snowstorm, I learned a creative, inspiring new way to do a business plan, how to use VoIP to the fullest extent, and how he has enlisted a global, virtual team of programmers who are completely loyal to his company. All for the price of one airline ticket.
I gathered some great ideas on how we can make the sharing of deeply held expertise (tacit knowledge) much quicker and easier using some new (and inexpensive) media. I will cover that in the next blog and tell you all about our new colleague and his company. In the meantime, look to your right or your left the next time you are in a plane, a bus, a conference. Seek to understand before being understood. The results can be awesome.