my masterpiece, v1.0
Tips for “Networking” at a Conference
Any of you who read my blog (loyal in my extended blogging absence!) know that the word “networking” is a little dirty to me because the intentions aren’t always as pure as “connecting”. However, I’m asked all the time how I approach networking at conferences. Here are some pointers I share:
- Do your research beforehand. If attendee lists (either specific names or organizations) are available, make sure you know background for ‘important’ people in the room, and ask colleagues/netsuite about existing relationships.
- Dont spew information. Instead, ask people questions about themselves and their work.
- Don’t make people feel like you’re trying to sell them something. Instead, listen to what’s on their mind and respond to that.
- The best conversations are those that aren’t about work at all. Get to know people to really build a relationship. That often means showing a little of your personality; you can maintain privacy, but think about a few topics you could be comfortable talking about outside of work and don’t be afraid to do that.
- Be careful what you say about other people – you never know who knows who.
- The best networking often happens during meals and evening activities, so pace your energy levels to make those times count.
- Write something to jog your memory on the back of people’s business cards as is helpful.
- Make note of what article or website(s) would be helpful to send to someone in followup to your conversation, and then follow up! Within a week is usually a good call, but up to two is fine.
And, in doing all of this, focus still on connecting and not having a transactional interaction!
44 Stock Photos That Hope To Change The Way We Look At Women.
I actually think about stock photography a little bit too much. Who do photographers look to cast, and why? What tone and feel do they ask each subject to strike, in hopes that it creates a stock image so appealing that it will resonate broadly with an unknown audience?
Stock photos everywhere build on stereotypes, especially those of gender. We see “traditional” roles tied to emotions, stature, clothing, race, and status symbols that don’t strike us as surprising, because it’s how we “normally” picture representations of circumstance. But, these boxes are false, because the false feels safe and comforting in a way. These photos represent certain stock image “risks” that we can only hope become mainstream and equally boring in the future.
Photographs of unrelated doppelgängers who have found each other.
This is very helpful for my mysterious bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise that have been hanging out for who knows how long…
The New York Public Library is training computers to recognize building shapes and other information from old city maps, and they need your help! Take a few minutes to help hone the data; no experience or knowledge required! This is a very neat experiment in crowdsourcing data aggregation for use to improve civic society.
I know a real rocket scientist.
His name is Russell Sargent and the first spacecraft he worked on, called Cygnus, recently arrived at the international space station. He built the guidance and some of the navigation software for demos 3 through 5, and also helped to design the approach trajectory in the last figure shown here. The mission went very successfully, and now leaves NASA with a cheaper alternative to bring cargo into space. Very cool.
I talked with Russell about his current project: the Dream Chaser, a new commercial mini-space shuttle. He’s building the autopilot during entry and training astronautics how to fly it in the NASA simulator.
Q: Is this is as cool as it looks?!
A: Yes it is!
Q: Is it designed to look like a giant whale, or is that coincidence?
A: To me it looks like a tug boat, but point taken. It is a strange looking thing.
Q: Your company does this in partnership with NASA, right?
A: We work for a private company, Sierra Nevada Corp (not the beer company). SNC will be payed per astronaut to go to Space Station. Its a private-public partnership. I work for a non for profit lab. (My tufts roots are showing here.) The idea is for NASA to hire companies for low Earth orbit travel to reduce costs. Unlike my other jobs all my work will be owned by SNC when I’m done, not the government.
Q: I thought NASA was done sending people into space.
A: Nope! Two programs: the private-public partnership and MPCV Orion capsule. This capsule built by NASA will take astronauts to asteroids and possibly the moon.
Q: What’d you get to do as copilot?!
A: I got to be wingman (i.e. Goose in top gun) in the sim to several astronauts and teach them to fly the tug boat. My only official function was to drop the landing gear. I got to see what they liked disliked for my next redesign. I work with astronautics Steven ‘Pinto’ Lindsey
and Lee ‘Bru’ Archambault
. Most if them live in Houston so to the astronauts I’m the ‘Boston kid’ with the accent.
Some color for your Wednesday
I’ve recently stumbled on 3 neat links related to color.
For the bookworm: colors in 10 famous books
For the person whose friends frequently point out that their clothes don’t match: a test called How well do you see color?
For the architect or designer or retired Lite-Brite master: Tangeez
The Jew, the Jew, and the Gentile
My friend Valerie and I were biking back to Clinton Hill from Williamsburg. It was evening; she wanted to take the Wythe route through the Jewish part of the neighborhood, as it was better lit and less hilly. I noticed a woman in a traditional white long sleeve blouse, long black skirt, and tights signaling quietly but clearly to me with her finger as if to ask a question. Valerie hadn’t seen and kept biking, but I slowed to a stop.
"Excuse me, do you have a moment?" she asked.
We’re trained to run the other direction in those situations (thanks, Greenpeace), but I saw no clipboard in sight. It was also a very quiet street; I wondered how long she had been standing there. I said sure.
"Could you possibly turn off our air conditioner; it’s getting colder than we expected but can’t do it ourselves."
It wasn’t Shabbat, but I realized that similar Jewish law regarding “work” (like turning a switch on or off) might apply on holidays, so I asked if it was because of Sukkot, to which she said yes.
"Ok, let me make sure my friend will watch my bike."I thought for a second and then realized what I needed to disclose: "I should tell you that I’m also Jewish but do not follow the same observance custom; does that matter."
"Oh, yes, it does matter; it won’t work. Is your friend Jewish?"
"No," I replied, a bit stunned that I couldn’t perform this mitzvah myself. I also felt apologetic. "I hope it’s not offensive that I don’t observe this custom."
She warmly thanked me for letting her know, and Valerie agreed without missing a beat to go in and turn the switch off. I stayed with bikes and she went in.
When Valerie emerged 5 minutes later, the woman sent her out with cups of water and gave a friendly wave and thanked us again, and we hopped back on our bikes and rode away.
Everything about this little interaction was exciting to both of us. Like anyone would be, we were curious; who in New York doesn’t like seeing any and every apartment possible and how people live? I was also so thrilled that Valerie could - and proud that she willingly did - perform this mitzvah for a family enjoying dinner during the holiday. I was also a bit jealous and uncomfortable that I couldn’t perform the task myself - I had no moral issue with it - but at the same time, I felt a sense of community with a person whose reality seemed so different from my own, because despite my style of dress and relative ambivalence towards the holiday, I was still a Jew in her eyes. I loved too that traditional observance truly mattered so much to this woman, despite how odd it seems in today’s times.
One more Brooklyn story…