An entry in the Minimum Viable Network series.
I remember once telling an artist that if you want to be in the music industry, you need to be ubiquitous. Turns out the same is true for tech and startups. Who knew?
A few weeks ago, I attended a talk here in Atlanta during which Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital talked about how she broke into VC and how she’s driving her vision forward. As much as I enjoyed the talk, this post isn’t about that discussion. It’s about what transpired after.
After the Talk
Up until then, I’d been lucky enough to converse with a few of the amazing people at Backstage, other than Arlan. I’ve had a wonderful experience getting to know Partner & Chief of Staff Christie [Pitts] and Backstage podcast producer Bryan [Landers].
As neither Bryan nor Christie were in attendance at this event, though, after the talk wound down, I proceeded to go say hi to Dianne [Cherrez] and Chacho [Valadez], other Backstage team members I’d only interacted with briefly on Twitter. I received almost the same response from each (as if it was practiced ha!): “Adam…oh you’re Adam Marx! From Twitter!”
Both were fantastic to meet, and clearly integral parts of the Backstage team. While other attendees asked Arlan questions, I spoke with Dianne about the normal stuff; how she got involved with Backstage, her role there, exciting things Backstage has going on, etc. During the course of our conversation, she matter-of-factly quipped, “You know, you’re just everywhere on Twitter…I don’t know where you find the energy.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course, but the point she was making stuck out to me: ubiquity matters — people notice.
Why Ubiquity Matters
When you’re setting out to build your network, whether it’s your Minimum Viable Network or a more mature version, ubiquity is a key factor in that network’s success.
It’s important to keep in mind that the term “ubiquity” might itself be somewhat of a misnomer; it’s not about actually being everywhere at once, all the time. It’s about appearing to be ubiquitous.
One reason that people remember ubiquity is precisely because of the immense time commitment it requires. Time is energy (and, as always, time is money)—indeed, time is ultimately your most precious commodity. Your time and attention are what businesses want, and what dwindle as you check off the basic boxes like your spouse, family, friends, coworkers, etc.
When people perceive you as ubiquitous in relation to their project or mission—especially when it’s characterized by a positive dynamic—it’s a (sometimes subconscious) recognition that tends to stick with them.
Ubiquity and Reality
Of course, you can’t actually be everywhere at once, all the time. People are realistic and only an irrational person would believe otherwise.
Rather, it’s about creating a perception that you devote a significant portion of your time and energy (as much as one could ask, or even more) to something you’re really passionate about. This might be tuning in to a podcast weekly to tweet constructive thoughts (something I enjoy as well), volunteering one of your professional skills across a variety of projects (for me, editing and proofreading), or simply promoting a company whose product and/or mission really resonate with you. This type of long-term commitment to a mission creates the perception of ubiquity.
Ultimately, this is how you want people to think of you; as someone who just seems to consistently pop up at the right times. You don’t need to be associated with every project; but by being open to working on new opportunities, the natural side-effect is a quality of associated ubiquity. This creates a positive feedback loop of potential.
The More People Create…
The wonderful thing about ubiquity is that as people create more things and start more projects, more opportunities are had to further one’s reputation as a thought-leader, team member, and colleague.
No doubt, many of these initial opportunities have the potential to germinate into extended relationships with the right cultivation. In this sense, the ubiquity becomes self-fulfilling; the more you “pop up” and people know you, the more people want to know you. This dynamic becomes naturally and iteratively expansive.
In the end, ubiquity is about a constant collection of “small victories” rather than pursuing a “one-and-done” approach to the opportunities before you.
Find me on Twitter @adammarx13 and let’s talk music, tech, and business!