I was sitting with the wife watching Masterchef and debriefing about the day. Now I am not normally one to watch a lot of TV if at all and I found my self likening Masterchef to some Vendors. That could be construed as a derogatory comment at first but bear with me.
In the Australian Masterchef, traditionally you started with a top 100 and they are whittled down to 50. Along the way there are bits and pieces added in to build character surrounding individuals. As a viewer watching in you get to see insights into personalities and what they are like. As the seasons and months pass their actions and the way the conduct themselves translate into how we perceive them and their future endeavours.
In our Industry social media has broken down the barriers of communication. Vice presidents can speak to the masses and individuals can reach out with alarmingly fast results. Engineers or Public relations can strike up a relationship over twitter where nothing but a question or blog post was shared in common. Going above and beyond and getting involved with the community serves a hidden benefit. We get to know people who work for companies. We get to engage those that go above and beyond. A user can gain insight into the staff who work there.
I would like to particularly refer to three individuals whose presence online should be embodied by others in their position. Francois Prowse – Senior Solutions Engineer for Juniper Networks, Ashton Bothman, Social Media and Digital Communications Strategist for Juniper Networks, Stefan Avgoustakis, Security Engineer at Cisco Systems, and Ron Fuller, Technical Marketing Engineer of the Nexus 7000 product. These people actively engage and participate with their industry. I have had direct conversations regarding a plethora of topics which for them required time and knowledge. They were at no time asked or paid to respond though they do for the passion and love of the industry. The seek to engage, teach, and in turn, possible learn something.
Now coming back to Masterchef. The actions of the Francois, Ashton, and Stefan’s interactions do have a bearing on future interactions and perceptions. If they want to talk to me about something, I am far more willing to give up my time to talk to them. I will listen and their worlds will have far more clout. This translates into a meaningful relationship. After all, it is about give and take is it not?. Without this, it takes longer to gain a trust and build the working relationship.
The 2013 season of Masterchef did not have a top 50 or 100. They cut straight to the top 25 and started eliminating. It was hard to find out a bit more about someone and you started off at arm’s length. You were a little more wary and reluctant. I miss the human and engaging element.
So thank you FP, Ashton, Ron, and Stefen for doing the work you do. You don’t get paid to engage after hours, share your discussion, or answer questions. I know the passion you have is what drives you to seek results and solutions. Oh, and if your boss is reading this, please, give them more than a pat on the back at review time.
PS. Special shout out to Amy Lewis, Community Evangelist for Data Center Virtualization at Cisco Systems. Amy, you’ve crammed me so full of digital bacon, I think I’ve turned vegetarian!