Thursday, September 4, 2008

Networking - and learning

As mentioned in a post two days ago, I'm in Adelaide at the moment.

Our company is a sponsor for a large national event for our industry. A couple of us are down here, manning a stall and rubbing shoulders with existing and potential clients.

This event gives us a lot of exposure to these guys, and so we get to meet with some great people.

But we also get the benefit of learning. When we're not manning the stall, we've got opportunities to sit in on the various seminars.

There's so much to learn. This morning a couple of experts in climate change addressed us. The focus then shifted from the global to the local, and the examination of national demographic trends and national water issues. Then finally down to the local.

I really appreciate this opportunity to learn. Even though a lot of these people will probably never work with our technology, they have so much excellent knowledge to impart. From my perspective, the value we get out of paying sponsorship dollars isn't only in terms of coming along to promote our technology; it's to get alongside people who know their disciplines well, and to learn from them.

'Networking' is a dirty word to many because it often smells of using people to get what you want from them. I'm not seeing networking that way; for me this is a golden opportunity to get alongside people who care about their work, know their disciplines well, and are willing to share.

Sure, some of the contacts will be business. But a lot of them will open up the sheer joy of learning something new, something useful. I'm looking forward to coming away armed with a few scraps of new knowledge that make me a bit more useful to the world I live in.

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