Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. ~ E.M. Forster, Howards End
The thing, I think, that keeps people from building successful businesses, especially online, is that business seems complicated.
And it is, in the sense of having a lot of moving parts. (Which, of course, is why we work so hard to build tools that make the technical part easy.)
Like anything worth doing — raising a family, building a house, growing a garden — there are a lot of small things you need to figure out how to do correctly.
But arching over all of these is the Big Thing — and if you get it right, the details will tend to work themselves out.
It is my strong belief that we are on this planet to help one another. And that business is a way to do that on a greater scale.
To help each other, we have to connect
I first got online in 1989, when “social media” was called virtual community, for those who had a name for it at all.
Of course we knew that it would change the world, because it had changed our world so much. And yet, it didn’t change as much as we imagined it would.
(In case you’re curious, online community looked pretty much exactly like it does today; the connection platforms are just easier to use now. Spam and scandal, connection and conflict all looked remarkably like they do in 2015. Human nature is a stubbornly consistent thing.)
There were always a few mysterious denizens in any community who remained purely “virtual” to us. Some had dark secrets — on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, in the words of the 1993 New Yorker cartoon.
And you only had to come across a couple of dogs before you learned to pair online communication with old-fashioned offline connection. To go “F2F” as we said back in the olden days.
Here we are, on the cusp of 2015, and things haven’t changed so very much.
The age of miracle and wonder
The Internet allows us to connect in ways that are remarkable and new. We can form friendships with anyone on the planet. We can share our message with thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions — at virtually no incremental cost. We can even watch an astronaut play a favorite tune … from space. (And talk with him on Facebook or Twitter about it.)
And the more amazing the technology gets, the more it brings us right back around to who we fundamentally are.
I like Jonathan Haidt’s definition of our nature — 90 percent ape and 10 percent bee. We are a social creature. (Even confirmed introverts, like Brian and me.) And it is our deepest nature to connect and to work together.
What made our 2014 Authority conference such a profound experience for all of us at Copyblogger? (Jerod put it nicely in yesterday’s post.)
It was the sitting together in the halls, throwing around ideas, musing on business problems, joking and brainstorming and engaging. Or even forgetting all about business for a few hours to dance in a nearby club.
You can ask anyone who was there: The energy of connection was palpable.
Making face-to-face connections with longtime “virtual” friends like Henneke and Sean.
Catching up with loved friends who live in faraway lands, like Darren.
Why have we talked so much about this year’s upcoming Authority Rainmaker conference? Because we crave more experiences like that — exhilarating, exhausting, deeply satisfying.
Just like we did last year (but on a larger scale), we’ve organized the event around profoundly useful content, yes — but also with all kinds of social spaces for connection and conversation. (This year we’ve scored the very beautiful Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, which has not only a superb theater space but also spacious, welcoming areas for conversation away from the main stage.)
We’ll organize a rock-solid program of sessions, which will make you hate to miss any of them.
And then we’ll tempt you to miss some of them.
To venture out into the wide hallways, grab a drink and a snack, meet up with someone you’ve only known online until now. Reconnect with old friends. Make new connections and expand your circle beyond where you thought it might ever go.
Whether or not you can join us this May (I sincerely hope you can, because I want to meet you), make it your resolution for this year.
Only connect — more deeply, more strongly, more widely. Help more people. Accept help from more people. Build cooler things. Deepen your connections. Grow your business, and grow your brain.
And I very much hope to see you in Denver. 🙂
Here’s where you can find out more about how to do that: Learn about Authority Rainmaker.
Will you join us in Denver this May?
We’re looking forward to connecting with you at this year’s Authority Rainmaker, on May 13–15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. It’s live content marketing training and networking for real-world results.
Super Early Bird pricing is now in effect, which saves you $500 off the full price. The price goes up on January 16, so don’t wait and pay more.
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Evan Osherow.