SOBCon 2010: Bear Smashes Hive, Wants More Honey

No beating around the bush this morning. I’m unamused it’s morning, I’m latte-less and I’m wondering when I drooled toothpaste onto my pajama top.

There’s no better way I can describe the past two days I’ve spent at SOBCon here in Chicago than a HIVE. I’ve been in a room filled with worker bees. Not to say we’re all drones and don’t put on the crown and become our respective queens in our day-to-day lives, but this weekend was about working.

Less “how to” and more “how do you???” The honey that we’ll make (and perhaps that many are already making) will be sweet.

But yesterday a bear stood up and smashed the hive.

You had the audacity to stand up in a room (a HIVE) and say that you would NOT collaborate. You would not share.

And then I found out that today, you’re asking for my help.

(ahem) Pardon?

You spent two days in the hive and reaped the benefits of being in its embrace – the activity, the exchange, the complete embrace of collaboration…and then you grabbed the hive and slammed it to the ground.

“#SOBCON as an agency owner, I am always happy to refer a non-competing agency, I am not interested in partnering w/my competitors. Period.”

Then you stood up, with a voice filled with cynicism and slammed the model that makes my business work…the businesses of my colleagues work.

Build. Buy. Partner. (Though I’d never thought of it in such simple terms until I came to SOBCon.)

Some advice, if you will, from a lippy redhead:

We are here this weekend to collaborate. I respect your experiences and whatever business situations that have led you to a voice that shut down a room with its argumentative tone yesterday. However –

you smashed the hive.

My only thought yesterday was that you stood up and said “I don’t want help, I don’t need your help, I’ve been ass raped by a clown when I’ve tried to get help” and now, you’re asking us for help.

You work in the nonprofit sector and today, The Hive is supposed to buzz with thoughts that will get these groups off the ground and help them take flight in the social media space. Admittedly, I’m a whole lot less interested in that process today since I found out yesterday evening that you’re the one in charge of it.

But I’ll play. You stuck your hand into my hive and smacked me, not even knowing me or what I do. You shut down Erica O’Grady when she asked you WHERE you live and do business, saying it didn’t matter and frankly, being a bit of a dick about the entire thought of collaborating with perceived “competitors.”

But hey – I’ll play (even though I’m half inclined to sit at Starbucks and drink an overpriced mochalottafrappawhathefuckever and put the hive in my head to work).

I had the microphone yesterday when Terry shut down the comments and I’ll end this post with some thoughts that I can hope may influence something you think or feel. If not, hey – I’m still going to be there this morning as YOUR clients are more important to me than apparently they are to you. Nonprofits bring hope whereas YOU made it abundantly clear yesterday that you’re not open to the idea of collaborating and putting yourself on the road to shifting hum of the hive for good. Sure, you might get stung a time or two, but if the stinging keeps you from moving onward and upward and striving for a better way to do business – buddy, you’re in the wrong gig as an agency owner.

Where you do business is critical and one of the most relevant questions returned by a panel member I’d heard all weekend. While you shut her down, my brain NEVER shuts down. Here we go:

You came to SOBCon for some reason or another. From the majority of your Twitter stream, I’ll say you liked the information shared here. You benefited from it. Hopefully your clients will as well. This weekend, SOBCon is WHERE you did business.

So yes, Geoff – WHERE you do business matters. I live and work in a hyper-localized tech community in the greater Denver-Boulder area. “Who are you? What are you doing? Can I help? I know a guy who can help. Can I connect you? What do you need?” There’s room for everyone and sure – screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. But that’s the benefit of hyper-local. The collaborative and inherently protective nature of the community. Don’t shit where you eat. It’s also the benefit of the hive. The hive is the where and YOU are part of the how.

What you did yesterday is stand up in front of the hive and say, “Thank you for the honey” and summarily throw the hive on the ground.

Today, you’re asking us to make more honey. FOR YOU. For something important to you.

After smashing the hive.

I’ll be the jerk and say I think it’s arrogant.

I stand behind everything I put out onto the interwebz, balls out on the porch in a snowstorm. Think about who won’t be in that room today, those who might have lost the passion after you slammed a panel and smashed the hive. I’m hoping the trickle down economics are few, but hey – SOBCon is WHERE you’re doing business this weekend. We collaborate. I’m digging what might happen today and hope that perhaps you’ll become part of the hive instead of the bear. Change is scary as shit…but good.

My business runs better each day because I’ve learned one simple trick: humility. The power of the “I don’t know.” I’m looking for my OS!Ms (Oh Shit! Moments) and hoping things will fail fast so I can put on my Big Girl Pants and move the hell on. I surround myself with people each and every day who are smarter than me/better than me at certain things/know people I do not. And why? Because each conversation makes me smarter and lets them spend their time doing what THEY love so I can spend more time doing what I. I love the hive. My clients love the honey.

Sugar sugar….(uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh) Oh, honey honey.

4 comments
The Redhead
The Redhead

I love the HIVE. It makes me better...and THAT is always time well-spent. Thanks for stopping by!

Paul Jones
Paul Jones

One thing that I learned in my tenure in non-profit, is that collaboration is key. In 2010, we have to work together. Let the multi-national corporations beat each other senseless, small biz folks have to grab each other and come through together. Your HIVE is an awesome description. Does brainstorming work as well with one lout sitting in a closet as with a group of diverse people with no barriers other than the pen for the whiteboard running dry and the coffee tasting burnt? I go with the group. Keep working the HIVE, you may see that fellows resume sooner rather than later.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I love the HIVE. It makes me better...and THAT is always time well-spent. Thanks for stopping by!

Paul Jones
Paul Jones

One thing that I learned in my tenure in non-profit, is that collaboration is key. In 2010, we have to work together. Let the multi-national corporations beat each other senseless, small biz folks have to grab each other and come through together. Your HIVE is an awesome description. Does brainstorming work as well with one lout sitting in a closet as with a group of diverse people with no barriers other than the pen for the whiteboard running dry and the coffee tasting burnt? I go with the group. Keep working the HIVE, you may see that fellows resume sooner rather than later.