Robbie Abed wanted to have coffee with me in 2011. Then in 2012 and 2013 and this year. I kept saying No.
Robbie told me he has 250 coffee meetings a year.
So in one way of thinking about it, I’m one in 250. And over a period of four years, I’m one in a thousand. So not so special.
I don’t usually meet new people for coffee. I like to sit in my room and read and write and deal with business stuff. A few months ago I was on a three week vacation to Thailand one block from the beach and it took me two weeks to get to the beach.
Robbie wrote to me and said, “I’ll even come to where you are”. I live 80 miles north of NYC. I figured he was bluffing.
So I said, “ok, but I only have 15 minutes.” Who is going to drive 1.5 hours to have coffee with me for 15 minutes and then drive 1.5 hours back to the city.
He said, “ok”. And I said, “ok, meet me at 12:15 and I gave him the address, “but I might be late” because I had a podcast that started at 11.
When my podcast was over, he was there. I didn’t want to have coffee. So I said, “come back to my house and let’s do a podcast. He came back with me and Claudia and I did an ‘Ask Altucher’ podcast with him, “Why do you have 250 coffee meetings a year?”
He described that he was in a bad job situation he had several years ago but he had no network at all.
He was scared. He wanted to go on his own but he was afraid to go broke.
He wanted to figure out how to make connections. So he joined a networking group and then started having coffee with everyone in the group and asking them, “how can I help you? Who can I introduce to you?”
This is a great question. About 50% of people consider themselves too shy to introduce themselves to other people. Maybe the real number is even higher. I consider myself a shy person. In a party I hide and just like to watch people.
For Robbie, if someone said, “I want to meet X.” he would then try to have coffee with X, he’d mention that the other person wants to meet X and why. If X was agreeable, he’d make the introduction.
I call this “permission networking”. If you just introduce two people without their permission then you just contributed to ruining their lives.
You outsourced the question of “Why should these two people meet” to them instead of solving the problem yourself.
Many people don’t want to figure out why they should meet someone. They are already busy enough.
Hence, everyone will hate you, the guy in the middle that gave them more work to do.
Robbie described all the ways he benefited from these coffees.
Sometimes he would and sometimes he wouldn’t. Some people would pay him and some would ignore him. But bit by bit, having 250 coffees a year allowed him to build a successful marketing business.
THE 250 COFFEES A YEAR TECHNIQUE
- Join a networking group, or have some other excuse to call people and tell them how you could potentially help them if they had a cup of coffee with you.
- Try to learn at least one thing from them in the coffee.
- Research them in advance so you might be able to guess what their needs are.
- Focus on the other person’s needs. “How can I help you?”
- Do this 250 times a year.
- Follow through. Be that guy.
- Stay out of the way and have no expectations.
Only one out of 20 or even 50 is going to pay you but 100% of the people will remember you wanted to help them.
This creates potential energy in your future. I know from experience that having a lot of potential energy has a way of working itself out in the long run, even decades.
I don’t know what Robbie learned from me. But I learned enough from him to get a podcast out of it. I think I got the better deal.
Garin Etcheberry has been sending me great ideas for awhile. He’s a machine.
Yesterday he wrote a blog post on medium, “How I Landed 5 Dream Jobs GIving out My Best Ideas for a Month”.
He had written down 300 ideas in 30 days and sent them all out to people he wanted to help.
Most didn’t respond. Some wrote back “Thank you.”
But, as he says in the title, he got 5 dream jobs. He never would have gotten them if he didn’t write down 10 ideas a day.
Here’s his post.
In the post he says, “James told me to not stop. “Keep sending ideas to people.” he said. “You’re already an idea muscle; send ideas to people every day and you can’t fail to create wealth for yourself.””
THE DREAM JOB TECHNIQUE:
- write down ten ideas for other people every day. Good ideas or bad. Do your research beforehand so the ideas are as good as possible.
- send them with no expectation of having any response back.
- most people will ignore you. Some people will say “thank you” (future potential) and 5 people will give you your dream job. BAM!
Someone the other day wrote me, “how do I give ideas out and make sure I get paid for them?”
If you are giving ideas with the expectation of getting paid for them then you aren’t really giving. I told him that.
And this guy wrote back and said, “but isn’t it a law of the universe that if you give, you can also take?”
The answer is “no”, that’s an ugly way to look at the universe.
As Robbie said to me, even if nothing happens, you keep in touch now. You send updates. You drop notes. When you plant a 1000 seeds, only a few might blossom.
What Garin gave was the best gift of all – his blog post. He showed many people, without any expectation at all, how just giving ideas works to create abundance.
Becoming an idea machine makes you an abundance generator.
Now all I have to do is start implementing the ideas Garin has given ME.
Before Robbie left my house he described someone who’s created an interesting model in the restaurant business. “Whoah,” I said, “that’s pretty cool.”
It made me think, “this person would be interesting for my podcast. What an innovative way to do restaurants.”
Within 40 minutes Robbie had reached out to the person, got his permission, and then sent an intro to the two of us.
I looked back through my emails. I saw that Robbie wrote me in January 2011. He said, “Thank you everything you’ve done for me” even though I hadn’t done anything for him.
I’m not even sure I responded to that one.
Well Robbie, thank you for everything you’ve done for me.