Me & Larry The Radio Guy

Today (10/23) at noon (EST), I will be on the radio with one of my favorite BNI directors, Larry Sharpe.  He is the host of the Ivory Tower Radio program.  We will be talking publicity and networking.

Listen live @http://www.neo-sage.com/ivorytowerradio.php

To participate, you can call or email:

Via phone at 877 480 4120 
Via e-mail at
IvoryTower@neo-sage.com

Xoopit Leaves Gmail, Opening The Door For…Gist?

Gist Screen You may have heard the news last week, that Xoopit will now be exclusive to Yahoo.  Xoopit is a great tool.  It arranges all of your email attachments, enabling a much easier search for pix, files, videos that were sent to your email account.

But as of November 13, Xoopit for Gmail will no longer exist.  And if you don’t feel like using Yahoo as your dashboard (no offense), like you do with Gmail, then I have a simple solution.

Get a Gist account.

On your main page, there is a recent attachments box.  And when you look up a contact or company, the attachments that have been sent between you and them, show up in the attachments section.  Very easy search.

So if I know that Ruben Quinones sent me a powerpoint attachment in the last 3 weeks, all I have to do is look up Ruben in my Gist dashboard, and that attachment will probably be first or second.  And while I’m there, why not look at his latest tweets.

Gist is really an impressive organizing tool. And I’m a sucker for easy file/attachment search.

Not Surfing The Wave Yet, But Practicing In The Kiddie Pool

I signed up for Google Wave, but my invite has yet to come.  The hater in me would point to all the negative press and say, “I don’t want it anyway.” But I’m not a hater, especially when it comes to Google.  I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t use Gmail, Google Voice, and Google Reader, to name a few.

However, if you are looking for that special email/social media relationship that  Google Wave is supposed to supply, then here are some options that may ease the wait.

Threadsy.

Threadsy Screen

Before I go any further, let me confess.  I am a layman. I do not know the first thing about being a developer.  I don’t know CSS or HTML.  What excites me about Google Wave is how it may enhance or replace email.  I know that email is dead.  That’s what I heard, anyway.  But until it goes the way of the facsimile machine, many of us laymen will continue to use email. So when I talk about the applications that I like to use while I wait for my invite, it has to do strictly with the ease of emailing and staying connected with the popular social media platforms.   Nothing complicated, here.  I’m not ready for email replacement right now. I just want email to be threaded or side by side with all my other important streams. That is the GWave appeal for me.

Back to Threadsy.

I asked for an invite to this web app and got one in what felt like seconds.  Once you set up your accounts, and it is an easy walkthrough for that, you will have a screen that allows you to receive and send email (called Inbound) from your various accounts and do your Twitter and Facebook thing too (called Unbound).  It’s a nice look.  The best part of it is when your contacts pop up and it shows you what other networks they belong to.  You knew your buddy was on Facebook, but you didn’t know he was on Flickr, Bebo, and Last.Fm.  Of course, you find this stuff out when you and your people are on the  same aggregator or lifestream app, like FriendFeed.  But not everyone is on that and not everyone has a Google Profile or a ReTaggr or DandyID.  And it is so much simpler to find out on Threadsy, especially if you have a few hundred contacts.  And Google Talk is also available.

However, it seems to be a memory hog and will sometimes give browsers fits (I have had problems on both Firefox and Safari).  And the option to put a signature for return emails would be great.

Inbox2

Inbox2

This web app does give you the option to put signatures for emailing. There is a lot of potential in this one.  Robert Scoble said that “email was saved,” after playing around with this.  Like Threadsy, you see all of your email accounts, Twitter and Facebook in one screen.  This is a non-US development team, so American Yahoo accounts don’t work yet.  LinkedIn will soon be on board  and more Facebook and Twitter functionality are on the way.  Right now you are able to get your replies and DM’s, but not your whole feed, but you can update your status.  You can update your Facebook status, but you can’t get messages.  Email retrieval is far from real time.  I know what you are saying, there are lot of buts, BUT this app is going to be a monster.  The five man development team is listening to what everyone is saying and they are making changes.  This is still in Beta.  What is hot about Inbox2 right now is the Facebook app.  If you are in Facebook all day, you will be able to check your email messages from Facebook, because all of the email accounts that you uploaded to Inbox2 show up in Facebook.  Just look for the red numbered bubble near the bottom of the Facebook screen (Applications notification box).

Digsby

I know it’s not new or even sexy anymore, but how can you beat an app that gives you all of your emails, instant messaging, LinkedIn as well as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook in the corner of your screen.  And that Global Status option is good if you are only interested in simultaneous status updates for the Big 4.  And the search feature which is available to you when you are in the buddy list (hit control+F) is the best search feature around.

Gmail

Here’s the unsexiest one, Gmail.  Forward all of your main email accounts to Gmail.  Then enable your Gadgets so that you can bring in the Twitter (twitgether) and Facebook (GBook) gadgets that will sit in a sidebar and you can log in and follow those two networks while you have your emails open.  And if you remember my post about using RSS for LinkedIn updates, you can click on Reader while in Gmail and see your LinkedIn Network activity.  All from basically one screen.

These things are definitely making it easier for the layman to wait for Google Wave.  And who knows, even when my invite comes, maybe I won’t immediately hop on the surfboard to ride the Wave.

If BNI Doesn’t Work Out For You, Try Not To Take It Personally

This is something that I have been ruminating on for years.  As an 11+ year member of Manhattan 7 chapter, I have seen many things. BNI is not for everyone.  There are rules, there’s that every week thing, and there is also that morning meeting thing. Many people are brought up networking on an event by event basis (usually in the evenings).  Many people think they are doing great if they hit one a month.

That first month of BNI membership is a cold cold shower. You have entered that next level of networking commitment, where you think of others first.

I have seen great people have a not so great time in BNI.

I have seen members give up their seats.

I have seen applicants not make the cut

And at the end of the day, they should all remember that this doesn’t reflect on them as people, not even as entrepreneurs.  It just may not have been a good fit for that particular chapter.

Sometimes:

An applicant’s category overlaps with a new member’s category, and it’s better not to confuse the chapter with these similarities.  If the chapter hasn’t yet figured out what the new member does, how harmonious will it be to add to that mix with this newer eager applicant?  It may be best to pass.  Nothing to do with their personality or business savvy.

A member can’t seem to attend the meetings on time or hardly at all. BNI has rules about this.  And beyond the rules, what does it say if you make it a habit to disregard your fellow members?  You’re not there to hear their commercials.  You’re not there to give your commercial.  How can they schedule 1-2-1’s if they don’t see you?  Out of sight is truly out of mind. If  you sit in a coveted seat (meaning that your profession is a cherished one) and don’t really feel like contributing, you are preventing the chapter from gaining by having someone else in your seat that could be a better fit.  What about the 3-4 power partners that could be having banner years because all the members of that power team are in sync and looking out for each other?  You may be asked to leave because you are breaking BNI rules, but you are also violating the spirit of Givers Gain.

BNI may not be for you.  Nothing personal.  You may be a relaxed networker who knows a great many people.  You may never feel right about handing in white sheets of paper with names and contact info.  This structure may never be your thing. Or your contacts may not be as outgoing as you are, so when you ask them to be receptive to another person calling, they tell you one thing and do another.  At some point those slips of paper you hand in become just that…paper.

There are lots of networking opportunities elsewhere.  You can flourish at lunchtime networking, or speed networking, or evening parties.  You can be the envy of your colleagues at monthly or quarterly meeting groups.  And those groups that don’t have quotas or quantifiable levels of participation could be the right place for you.

In BNI, when you are modeled after Givers Gain, then the focus becomes the good of the chapter before individual members.  Hard decisions have to be made sometimes.  But, they are never personal.

I have seen people who were run out of groups go on to great success.  People are rarely asked to leave (or not join) BNI because they are bad at their professions.  

So, when a BNI chapter says, “It’s not you, it’s us,” that’s not a line.