Management and other marketing recognize using the words thought leadership are good, but mistake claiming thought leadership doesn't you a thought leader.
Monday night we had a data center social with thought leaders. Thought leadership is not how we market what the event is. Thought leaders are the type of people we are looking to invite. So, why do the thought leaders we invited make time in their busy schedule and some flying in from Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, NY, and Seattle? The event works because it is about friends being able to chat in a comfortable environment. Spending 10 minutes, 20 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes just chatting about whatever they want. There is no hurry, there is hovering salesman looking to interject. In fact some of the vendors who we let come in because they wanted to meet with some others who were in town recognized that they need to tread softly as the slightest hint of someone to sell a product, get a business card could set you in a bad light in front of influentials.
People catching up what's up with their kids, their latest vacation or hunting trip, funny data center stories, doesn't fit in with someone who is trying to explain the value of their product/service.
So, what is the value of people attending? It's about friends catching up who haven't caught up in months, maybe years, and making new friends in the data center industry. The #1 type of people we almost always welcome are data center operations people. These are the people who many times who are so busy running the data centers, they don't go to many conferences. Also, there are some of the people who make the data center circuit, but want some downtime to just catch up with friends.
How valuable are data center friends? Oprah.com has a post that will help explain the value.
Why do you want authentic, deep friendships? Friends touch your heart, challenge your mind, inspire you to pursue your passions, double the good times, halve the bad times and make your life a happier and more fulfilling place to be.
And that's not just my opinion! Here are the researched facts from Tom Rath, a researcher at Gallup:
- If you feel close to other people, you are four times more likely to feel good about yourself and life.
- People who claim to have five or more true friends with whom they can discuss important problems are 60 percent more likely to say that they are "very happy."
- People with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work! However, only 30 percent of employees report having a best friend at work!
"Friendships are among the most fundamental of human needs," Rath says. "When we asked people if they would rather have a best friend at work or a 10 percent pay raise, having a friend clearly won."
It is a little corny to read the "friends who touch your heart." In thinking though, the one friend who touched all our hearts is our departed Olivier Sanche. One of the best qualities of Olivier is we all remember the first time we met him, and how everyone can recall that first conversation. Olivier is a true friend and one we all miss so much in the industry.
And a great lesson is the quality of your friends can make life so much better.