Plato – more networking , people not computers

It’s a co-incidence of timing , but a reminder that there are many more meetups than just Barcamp (Dublin Event is on this Saturday).

Plato North West (Louth – Newry and Mourne) launched last night – thanks to Coca-Cola concentrates in Drogheda for hosting.
Plato Ireland Logo

Plato is a self help group for small business owners. (‘Hello , my name is Paul and I’m self-employed’). All the people involved are looking to grow their business. What Plato offers includes:

  • A support group of other people in similar situations that will meet regularly over the next months.
  • Networking opportunties , both within the group, cross border , and with other Plato groups (e.g Dublin, Cork and South East).
  • Clusters of companies in related sectors that would benefit from linking.
  • A struture to plan business expansion and a peer review to ensure you execute the plan.

Most of the details of the meetings are confidential , but I’m (happily) surprised at the cross section of companies involved. External companies can be invited in by consensus of the group.

Related posts: How to network , people not computers.

How to network (people, not computers)

If you’re blogging, you’re interested in meeting people. Partly on a genuine personal level, partly on a mercenary ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’.

Nothing wrong with that – it’s no good being the best at what you do if nobody knows about it. This list from Tricia Murphy’s Website (articles – no blog) shows how to network without feeling like a politician. I’d disagree with number 3, but the rest seem common sense.

1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and building trustful and mutually beneficial relationships.
2. Tell people how they can help you, if they don’t know, they can’t help!
3. Send handwritten thank you notes, in an electronic world it makes a great impression!!
4. Keep people in the loop – let your sources hear how they have been of help FROM you!!
5. Stay in touch when you need nothing from the other person.
6. Ask someone you know to introduce you to someone you particularly want to meet.
7. Lead by example – pass on information, introduce people and be known as the connector, a valuable place in any network.
8. Keep an open mind when meeting new people – you never know who you need to meet until you have met them!
9. Be involved – be seen on the scene.
10. Nurture your network it will nurture you!!

Thanks to Tom for the (indirect) link to this via the Events Day conference.

Bar room brawl forecast for the Irish Blog Awards …

Seems that both Michele and Tom will be at the Irish Blog Awards (but not the Barcamp in Waterford this Saturday). Tom’s not happy with his hosting. Make that Tom is very unhappy with the hosting. Will it all end in a barroom brawl in the basement of the Alexendar hotel?
My own opinion is that all hosting contracts, like politics, end in tears. I’ve sympathy with Tom , having recently been in a similar situation. In my case , I have nobody to blame but myself:

  • I should have backed up my files if they were that important to me.
  • You get what you pay for. In my case , I was on shared hosting for next to nothing. I was unhappy , but not surprised when it fell over.

Overall , I can understand , but I’m slightly disappointed with Tom. He’s the closest thing we have to an ‘A-List blogger’. With that power comes responsibility – I wouldn’t diss a companies hard-won reputation (even though they may deserve it) without thinking over ‘what could I have done better’)
Note, I don’t host with Blackknight and have no connection to them.

Irish Blog Awards – What do we do?

A a sponsor of the ‘Irish Blog Awards‘ Damien has asked us to give a short piece on what exactly we do. After much thought, we’ve come up with the following:

FirstPartners.net take people’s brains and shove them into PC’s. By using Web and Java technology they make sure that your most previous asset (knowledge) does not walk out of the building every night. FirstPartners.net have been blogging since 2004 and are proud to sponsor the Irish Blog awards for the 2nd year in a row.

It might be a bit pulp fiction, but at least my Mum will understand it!

You , Paris Hilton and the value of your Personal Brand

What do you , Paris Hilton , Jade Goody and the contestants on Celebrity Big Brother have in common? No, it’s not some sort of bizarre male fantasy, but the value of your personal brand. These are all people , who may or may not be talented, but have transformed themselves into household names.
Celebrity Big Brother Logo

Wait a minute you say – I’m a (delete as appropriate) :

  • Accountant, who thinks grey suits make people strangely attractive.
  • Banker , who plays the financial markets but only relates to people as costs on a balance sheet.
  • IT Geek and proud of it , even if I’ve nothing to do but blog on a Friday night.

What’s a personal brand got to do with me? I’m (thankfully) not about to release a fitness video or a perfume. That’s only for A, B or C list celebrities. Down here in the Z-List of Technology Blogging , you get draft Web 2.0 books , and you will enjoy them!

Maybe instead of brand , I said ‘reputation’ or ‘recommendations’ you would understand better – the notion that people know of your work , and are happy to employ you on that basis. Previously , this was by word of mouth. Now , with blogging , everybody can be a minor celebrity in their own niche. We’ve written about this before (‘are blogs the new CV‘), but with tools like LinkedIn, the trend is really taking off.

Two Irish people who understand the value of a ‘personal brand’ very well are David McWilliams and Sheila o’Flanagan. Both have taken what could be mundane jobs (Economist, Writing) and turned themselves into Stars. OK , Enterprise Technology is never going to have same mass market appeal, but just as David and Sheila are well known in our own little Irish pond, perhaps someday I could be the Jade Goody of the technology world.

Update:To show the power of blogging , when I did a search for David McWilliams site, despite his massive RTE exposure , it was Joe Drumgooles blog that came up first.

Update 2: In response to a question, the use of Paris Hilton in this blog post has nothing to do with Damiens infamous ‘how to use google to get a girl and get laid‘ blogpost. Nothing at all. It has nothing to do with Britney Spears either.