Personal google 1No, I’m not here to tell you about a new app or some high-tech device.  In fact this kind of technology is a little more old school. You gotta admit, though — it’s a catchy title.

Particularly with the advent of the ‘feed’ – aka information whizzing by at breakneck speed – we have to think a little more strategically to find efficient ways to stay current. And, why do we want to stay current? Well – assuming I need to explain – you would want to incorporate into your brand the notion that you’re aware of and interested in new marketing models, whether you are on the job, in school or just plain looking for the next career thing.  Employers are continually seeking and nurturing team members who can take them places they have never been.  And, if you’re older and looking for work, as I discussed in a recent post, currency is pretty much table stakes.

Most of the ways to keep up-to-date you would have thought of. Twitter and blogs are two necessary evils.  A lot of trial and error here as you’ll find that eventually your network is feeding the same stuff, at which point you can start culling your follow list. If you’re just starting on twitter, perform some searches for most influential Twitter accounts or blogs for any category that interests you.  These days I’m about many different topics in digital and social marketing. Came across this post listing the top content marketing Twitter accounts (ie here’s your list of who to follow and you’re good).

Meetups and gatherings like TED talks get you richer information on a whole gamut of subjects from technology to marketing insights to personal development. These are mostly held in larger cities or in college towns.  Get engaged in these events for a more contextualized understanding of what’s coming. Most times there are concurrent networking opportunities which also prove invaluable.

And on the subject of networking, I bring to you the central point of my post that relates to the title. It’s not something that occurred by design, but instead developed spontaneously. Much like the list of most influential subject matter experts that I alluded to above, I have met and built relationships with a number of truly special people who just happen to be on top of all of the subject matters of interest to me. What’s more, they themselves have a number of strong connections to marketers, executives and other phenomenal growth hackers.  I affectionately call these people my personal google(s).

personal google filterWhy? Well, mostly because they help me distill everything that’s going on in my fields of interest and can also help me identify dated information while incisively extracting relevant bytes of info and (importantly) insight on these topics. Feeds don’t tend to do that particularly well…although with their algorithms they are trying.  Going for coffee with a person who can sum up my business universe in sixty minutes is an experience like no other.

What’s more, because of their relationships, they have their fingers on the pulse of what you are not yet going to read or hear about. They can tell you about the trajectory of strategic plans for related companies; technology that’s still a little under wraps; new ways that companies plan to adapt to the marketplace through people and process. This is the stuff you need popcorn for, because it’s a smidge ahead of the game versus what’s current.  These contacts of mine are often serial networkers but also tend to be CEOs of marketing or technology agencies, or some other person whose business and social universe is expanded to a level that you and I may never experience.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s not easy to find these people or tap into their superpowers. One issue is the number of used car salespeople out there who seem to have too much information to share and ultimately, to your chagrin, comparatively little insight. Further, you do have to achieve a certain level yourself to be able to hobnob on the regular in this circle. But when you do, you feel empowered and you appreciate the high ROI on your time.

And that’s my value add for this week. To take a step back, though, really, meet people just to meet people and build rich and lasting relationships; don’t show up with a hard core agenda. But still, keep your wits about you for opportunities to develop this treasured kind of business relationship. Knowledge brings confidence and personal power, and, if used properly, can bring people closer together.