(photo credit: Courtesy Delta)
As you read this article in Tuesday’s print edition of The Jerusalem Post, I’m
somewhere above the clouds en route to New York to meet with some interesting
people I’ll tell you about later.
On my trips, I blend in perfectly when
on a route that is full of my fellow hasidic Jews. When I’m traveling on a
non-frequent route I obviously stick out like a sore thumb. (Or a beacon,
depending on who is looking.) That’s why I think planes are so wonderful for
networking, especially in coach. (In business and first class, people want to
sleep or get work done.
There are people who get into pajamas and settle
in until just before arrival!) But in coach, on long haul flights, people need
to go out and stretch their legs. Flying is like being a sled dog. Unless you
are the lead dog (the pilot), the view doesn’t change much.
excitement only lasts so long. So, I’ve met some very fascinating people while
traveling. About a year ago I met syndicated columnist Susan Bondy, whose
financial column “Bondy on Money,” was carried in over 500 newspapers and who
was featured on the cover on Money Magazine
, Good Morning America and over 200
other shows. She gave me invaluable advice and become an inspiration to me.
Worth the flight just for that! I’ve also met a high level Boeing engineer who
spent time explaining to me how planes fly, and why the thin sheet of metal
between me and the atmosphere was able to keep me comfortable and carry me
across the globe.
I’ve met the CEO of a top “green energy” company, who
offered me a ride to Jerusalem in his car (besides the free ride, the
conversation is what was key). This enabled me to advise his company on how to
counter some high profile negative news reporting, which only happened because
the reporter did not understand how the technology worked – and the executive
was not media-savvy enough to explain the technology in simplified terms.
Journalists are expert writers, not experts on every arcane topic. That’s why
they interviewed you! It’s not always about trying to meet new people and
Sometimes, it’s simply about not ignoring the people who walk
into your life.
As The New York Times
reported in February: Relative
latecomers to the social media party, airlines are quickly becoming
sophisticated users of online networks, not only as marketing tools, but also as
a low-cost way to learn more about their customers and their preferences. With
Facebook alone claiming nearly 500 million daily active users – more than 60
times the eight million people who fly each day – KLM and others are betting
that many of them would be willing to share their profiles in exchange, say, for
a chance to meet someone with a common interest or who might be going to the
Flying is a great way to have time to think and read too. I
received an advance copy of Mike Michaelowitz’s fantastic new book, The Pumpkin
(which I highly recommend). I like Mike because he originally
self-published a book called The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
the details of this great story. Mike tells it better than I; but more or less
the story goes like this: It is extremely difficult to get self-published books
into bookstores. So Mike did something classic. He reverse shoplifted! He went
into the bookstore and “donated” a copy of his book to the bookstore. Then he
came back a while later and bought the book. When he went to checkout, the
book’s barcode was not in the system.
“I’m so sorry sir; let me go get a
manager,” the clerk says. So the manager comes, and seeing a waiting customer,
one who is being put through red tape to buy a simple book, the manager manually
overrides the system and puts the book in and sells it to Mike.
paid for his own book. That may not seem like such a bright idea until you
realize what happened next. Barnes and Noble now have his book in the system,
and they went ahead and “reordered” from him as well. He was now in the major
stores and had a fighting chance of being discovered! His message? Do the
unexpected! I’ll be meeting Mike personally this week during my visit.
you are flying to New York this morning, look around and see if you can find me.
I’m the guy with the black hat. Unless someone in Delta reads this and upgrades
me to business on the hopes that I write something complimentary about the
company in the future, I’ll be in cattle class, with business cards in my pocket
and a smile on my face.
And you should do the same, expected or not.
Because that’s where the money is! The writer is a business adviser, marketer,
professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business