One of my favorite books of 2012 was Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business, which was written by the co-founders of Get Satisfaction. Get Lucky shows businesses how to succeed by fostering the conditions for serendipity to occur early and often. One of the principles in the book is “Motion”, the skill of putting yourself in unfamiliar situations, but within familiar environments, in order to engage with previously unfamiliar people and ideas that are connected to your job, your projects, or your interests.
Motion is the reason that I’m traveling this week to Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronic Show or what most people know as CES. Throughout the year, there are handful of events in the digital industry like CES and SXSW where people and companies come together. The power of these events is the very planned serendipity that is talked about in Get Lucky. When I’m attending one of these events, I intentionally structure each and every day that I’m there. That structure revolves around catching up with old friends and colleagues, attending parties / mixers where key industry players will be, and leaving a little time for the unknown. For CES 2013, that means my week has things like:
- Dinner with a good friend (and former P&G colleague) who recently moved into a senior marketing leadership role
- Attending Twitter’s Annual CES party at the Cosmopolitan
- Giving a Lightning Talk at the Tech Cocktail / Vegas Tech event for the Las Vegas Downtown Project
- Lots of coffee meetings that are a mixer of catching up with friends and meeting new people
The pre-planning takes a decent amount of work, but the payoff is tremendous.
I personally think that too many people take a “wait and see” approach to industry events. In their eyes, just attending the event is sufficient. As a result, they end having a few fun days away from the office, but they spend the whole time with the people who they came with. What they miss is the Motion, putting themselves into those unfamiliar situations to engage with previously unfamiliar people. They miss the chance to bring a little luck to their business. And I can’t think of a better town for luck than Las Vegas.