I was in Atlanta last week reuniting with my college roommates and decided to bake in an extra day to meet up with a few BatchFriends. No specific agenda, no deals to broker, I just thought it would be fun to see some of BatchBlue’s online pals in their natural environments.
It was quite a jungle at the world headquarters of MailChimp.com. There is apparently a pretty spunky monkey living there because there were mini stuffed offspring swinging through the entire office. I finally got a chance to meet the head chimp Ben Chestnut, who despite the fact that we’ve integrated our products, co-founded the Small Business Web, sponsored joint promotions, blogged, tweeted and just gotten downright social, I had never actually met or even talked to him person. While it was a treat to finally meet Ben and much of the MailChimp.com gang in person, the thing that really made it worth the trip was the in-person, real life witness of their passion for MailChimp, for small business, for e-mail campaigns and for monkeys. This are the things that let you know you’re doing business with good people.
The other part of my visit was an unexpected camera-in-the-face live interview by that prankster Brent Leary of Social CRM (and Barack 2.0) fame. I know from following Brent on Twitter that he regularly DJs a retro hip-pop stream over the interwebs. So I had thought I was going to be sitting in on a WKRP moment, watching Venus FlyLeary rocking the airways. Boy was I surprised to spend the time talking about BatchBook, social CRM, #sbbuzz and cheese grits instead. It was the first I’ve ever had a giant microphone in my face and you know what? It was great fun.
If you can, it’s important to get out from behind the computer screen of and spend a little time meeting folks in your “social network” in the real world – you’ll learn new things about them and probably have a lot fun.
Thanks to Ben and Brent for being excellent hosts – our time together was definitely a highlight of my trip.