The original title of this post was, "The Reason We Didn't Meetup When I Visited Your City" and it was geared towards explaining what it's like to be busy with lots of correspondence. The post grew past this. This one will be useful for people who expect that they might have huge correspondence increases in the future - rarely do people talk bluntly about what it's like. It'll also be useful for the expansive sort of person who reaches out to people they don't know, so you can understand the mindset of who you're reaching out to. It rambles a little bit in the middle, but I think the mindsets and details could be useful for you.
The Reason We Didn't Meetup When I Visited Your City...
...is because I'm disorganized and you didn't drop a line again.
So, I get a lot of correspondence. Which is great. I really dig that. A couple days ago, I had a great Skype chat about international investing and business expansion with a really smart and cool guy out in SF, and then I met three people locally in Tokyo who are all exceptionally cool guys. I learned a lot, and I think so did the guys I got to hang with, and it was good. I like seeing other people thrive and make money, and got to have some good talks on business and entrepreneurship with everyone I met - I think everyone can hustle a bit more cash here or there.
I really enjoy that. I like meeting smart and enterprising people. I say that everyone - on my site, in posts, on my "About" and "New? Start here" pages,
But I'm really at the edge of my capability of managing it all. Volumes of questions, emails, offers to work together, ongoing projects, potential projects - they're at an all-time high. Actually, I'm handling it quite well, but I'd have been drowning even six months ago. All those organizational/time/efficiency skills have been necessary.
So I'm keeping my head above water on the essentials - everything that I've got duties and obligations on is getting done.
But I'm still disorganized on a lot of the stuff I'd like to do that isn't mandatory.
Someday, I'll build a custom CRM-like relational database to track everyone I know in my life. It'll pay attention to recent correspondences, interests, goals, work we've done together, places we've met up, your interests, our mutual interests, etc.
I'll be able to look up books I've recommended for you or bought you, and books you've recommendd to me or bought me. After I read a book a year after having had it recommended to me, I'll be able to do one search and thank everyone who recommended it to me.
One field in the database will be location. So when I go to, for example, Manila, I know to drop you a line if you're in Manila.
Because I get a ton of emails like that. "Hey Sebastian, great blog, thank you for X it's been helpful for me, I have a question if you don't mind, here's a book recommendation you might like - and, I'm in Manila so drop me a line if you're here and we'll link up."
Here's how I reply to those emails more or less every time - "Hey, thanks and glad X is working for you, I love hearing that. That's a good question, my thoughts are __________________________ (some of these become blog posts later, many don't if they're not generally applicable). Interesting book recommendation - okay, I'll add it to my to-read list, but my list is quite long right now so I don't know when it'll happen. Thanks for the invite to Manila - I'll be in Tokyo and Chiba the next few weeks, then Hong Kong or Beijing, and I *might* be in the Philippines sometime quickly in the next 2-3 months, but I'm not sure. I want to go, but I'm not sure where I'll squeeze in. But yeah, I'd love to link up if we're in the same place. Regards, Sebastian"
But then? I wind up going to wherever, and I don't drop whoever it is a line.
I'm disorganized. Well, no. I'm organized okay. But I haven't built systems to handle all the people I know. I've had at least a few hundred people reach out to me over the last year, and I have *ongoing* correspondences with at least 100 people.
I went through my correspondences file last night, and I was shocked - there's a guy in there I massively respect, we've chatted three times on Skype, swapped a bunch of emails, and I think he's brilliant and we'd probably be great friends and colleagues if we linked up somewhere and got to know each other better.
But I'd forgotten he existed entirely.
Don't take that the wrong way. Please don't. It's not callousness - I was kind of shocked when I realized it. Basically, he's not someone I think about, at all, ever, unless I happen to search my email for a topic and see one of the threads we had, or if he writes to me.
Why? Because I haven't adjusted to the amounts of correspondence and opportunity in my life. And I think it's only going to get worse, and I don't have a lot of faith in my memory getting better.
So yeah, eventually I'll get some CRM-like relational database thing going on (I tried to make a custom one with Filemaker Pro, but I couldn't figure out how to make it do what I wanted after 10 hours of screwing with it, and moved on to other more pressing things).
I'm rambling a little bit, but there's two important points here:
First, for the kind of person who is eventually going to do things in public and encourage correspondence, be aware that this is going to happen and plan for it. Get some technological solution working sooner than later and you'll thank yourself. (And get good email habits - you'll drown if you don't have them, so work at touching email once, clearing the inbox regularly, etc)
Second, and this is the important point - I think a lot of people are afraid or shy to repeatedly reach out to someone. Fear of rejection? Fear of failure? Fear of success?
I don't know.
Maybe you said "Let's link up if you're ever in Hong Kong," I swung through HK, and I didn't drop you a line.
Do I hate you?
Do I think you're a loser?
Have you been rejected?
Should you cry?
I'm just a little disorganized. I haven't adapted yet. In fact, I'm going to hazard a guess that most people who started getting letters and correspondences are this way.
For new people who come into my life, I don't necessarily wind up meeting the people I respect the most, like the most, admire the most, or think I'd get along with the most. I wind up meeting the people who are most persistent and timely.
So, don't be shy. I don't hate you. I don't really hate anyone, actually, probably 99% of the correspondence I get is really thought-provoking and interesting and enjoyable. But many of those correspondences die out, even though I'd *really* like to meet some of the brilliant and cool and enterprising people I've connected with through here or elsewhere.
On my end? I'm still a little too disorganized to handle the increased volume. Eventually I'll crack that nut, probably sometime in the next year, two years at most.
In the meantime, don't be shy - with me or anyone else you'd correspond with. The persistent and timely will inherit the Earth.