Conference-goer to fellow attendee at the coffee station:
“Hi, I’m [name]. Nice to meet you!”
Fellow attendee in response:
“Hi, I’m [name]. And who are you with?”
Here in the Twenty-Teens, this question no longer tells us much about what someone knows or how he or she can help.
This thought struck me at the Information Governance Conference the other week as I watched Whitney Bouck share her smarts with an eager audience – the same Whitney I first met when she worked for Documentum, and whom I continued to know and follow as she flew such notable flags as from EMC, Box, and HelloSign.
Her answer to the question has changed over time, as has so many of ours. But isn’t she still the same person, and doesn’t she still possess the same expertise? So whose credibility is it really, hers or her employers’?
Hers, of course.
This distinction is especially important to me because I have so many different identities:
The Info Gov Guy™
Principal Consultant, Holly Group
Co-Founder, Information Coalition
VP of Consulting, Optismo
and another soon to be announced (teaser!)
And yet, I’m still me. Still the same person, still possessing the same expertise.
It’s now so easy to get Web domains, email addresses, business cards, Twitter handles, and the like that “who we’re with” really doesn’t matter as much as it used to – after all, we can be “with” someone new in barely more time than it takes to type this sentence.
So as you navigate the conferences, meetups, vendor pitches, and all else, focus more on whom you’re talking to than the companies they represent – for better or for worse, you may be surprised by where the credibility comes from.