It is two days since I returned from Paris where I attended WordCamp Europe 2017.
Since I am struggling for time today, and since my WordCamp recaps always end up being thousands of words long (see my recaps for 2015 and 2016), I will not be able to publish the review of my Paris journey until tomorrow or the next day.
In the meantime, I would like to share a story that I heard at the conference from Colm Troy as it is something that really hit home with me. It is a story in which entrepreneur Jean Galea passed on a simple word of advice to a friend in the WordPress industry.
Who is Jean Galea?
For the benefit of those who do not know him, allow me to quickly talk about Jean Galea :)
Like myself, Jean has been involved with WordPress for a long time. He runs the successful WordPress blog WP Mayor and the WordPress business podcast Mastermind. He has also developed many WordPress plugins such as WP RSS Aggregator, EDD Bookings and WP News Desk.
I had spoken with Jean via emails for a few years, but it was not until WordCamp Europe 2015 in Seville that we met for the first time. He's a really friendly guy, but he is also someone who is very modest about the success he has achieved.
Jean's Advice to Akshat
One of the nicest people who I have met through WordPress is BlogVault owner Akshat Choudhary. I met him for the first time in Vienna at WordCamp Europe 2016 and I chatted with him at this year's event too.
Akshat had a booth at the conference so whilst we spent all our time enjoying coffees and pastries, Akshat was busy working.
When he first attended a conference in Europe, Akshat did not know anyone. Seeing that he was one his own, Jean apparently made a point of befriending him and making sure he was OK.
Akshat was keen to make new business partners and was keen to talk to many of the main players within the WordPress industry.
Jean advised him that instead of trying to make partnerships with those who are already very successful, try and partner with those on the way up.
Grow with Those Around You
My friend Colm from Create & Code told me this story whilst in Paris. It was something that really connected with me.
When you go to these larger European WordCamp events, many people are desperate to get a photo with Matt Mullenweg and chat to Joost de Valk and other industry heavyweights from companies such as WooCommerce and Automattic.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to speak to influential people from within the WordPress industry, but if you run a small to medium WordPress company, you are undoubtedly going to benefit more from seeking out people who will work with you directly.
Large multi-million dollar companies tend to work with other large companies. They aren't actively seeking out smaller companies and developers. In fact, some may be somewhat dismissive of what you can offer because you simply haven't come onto their radar yet. Perhaps this is short-sighted on their part, but I can see the logic of them looking to only partner with other large companies who have the staff and funding to help them grow.
For me, Jean's advice on this issue is right on the money.
The connections you make with people now will last for many years if you nurture the relationships. As your friends become more successful, you will too, as they will remember that you were working with them and helping them from the very start.
We all want to connect with influential people and make profitable connections, though I believe that if we spend all of our time focusing on who is ahead of us, we will maybe forget about those who are standing shoulder to shoulder with us.
Thanks for reading.