About voluntary work, contributions, and learning about the future

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google swag
Some Google swag. If you can associate with big name institutions, brands or individuals, either locally or (better) internationally, you win powerful marketing credibility.
Googleplex
The Googleplex (doesn’t sound quite right to call it the Alphabetplex . . .part of the summit is held on the Google campus.)

In a little more than a week, I’ll  experience three days of extensive programming and events in San Francisco co-ordinated by Alphabet, Inc. (Google’s new holding company.)

The experience is quite unique. In the event’s first plenary day, we gather in a large conference room with enough simultaneous translators to associate the experience with the United Nations. Then there are more specific discussions and meetings relating to the company’s specific products.

I won’t be able to report on the summit’s specific content/details because of non-disclosure agreement requirements. However, in previous summits and meet-ups, I’ve gained insights into the business, technology and the future.

Your business, like mine, presumably doesn’t have the spare cash to pay the travel, accommodation and hosting expenses for 400-plus people from every corner of the world each year. However, we can still learn from the experience.

I won my invitation to these events by volunteering on one of the company’s online help forums, resulting in a rather nasty run-in with a disgruntled and angry person who sought to cause my business harm because he didn’t like my answer to one of his questions. You could say I was providing Google with some really good customer service (as our business earns a small amount of revenue from its advertising serving program, AdSense.)

Related, but somewhat distinctively, community service and voluntary initiatives, when sincerely applied, will generally result in much more solid business than hard selling and overt expensive marketing. Sure, you can purchase advertising and brag about your good deeds. However, if the deeds are genuinely good and you really give your best to the community, you won’t need to spend too much money bragging.

Finally, there are benefits of association. The ideas I will pick up at this event – and others in the past – influence policies, directions and client relationships. We learn much by reaching deeper into our own industry and equally by experiencing and learning about other communities and cultures.

Please get involved. Respect your clients and the community. And, while you don’t need to brag, let us know about your contributions. We’re always happy to share the news.

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