Another email hits my inbox. This one is from my old business partner, who I haven’t seen or heard from in over six months.
David had been busy since finishing up his MBA and heading out to the San Francisco Bay area to build his startup. I hadn’t done a very good job at keeping tabs on him since I was working on one of the biggest projects of my career to date (more on that later). This email was an unprompted virtual introduction to a startup founder who, little did I know, I would soon connect with in a much more meaningful way.
The founder on the other end of the e-mail thread was Dana Severson, CEO at Wahooly, a growth platform for startups. Part Kickstarter, part Y Combinator, this Minneapolis-based company had huge potential to help a lot of the startups in the Midwest community where I do business. So, we get on a Skype call no more than two days from the initial introduction and get face to face via video chat.
“What the heck is going on in the background there?”
Dana could see that I was Skyping in from a less-than-normal office setting. Small houses the size of tool sheds filled the massive warehouse space behind me. I went on to explain Indianapolis-based DeveloperTown and their mission to build a startup accelerator and community under one roof. Dana was hooked, and I could respect that (I remember feeling the same way when DeveloperTown was explained to me years before, in its concept stage). But that wasn’t the only thing that we connected on.
Without even realizing before the call that this was the same Severson, I had admired his writing on Fast Company and Ad Age. And I discovered that we share a deep admiration for David Ogilvy, the godfather of advertising. Interests and style aside, we shared an even deeper bond.
Dana and I both built and grew startups in the Midwest.
In less than an hour, we shared war stories, common frustrations, and shared camaraderie for non-coastal startups. It was clear that we had to find a way to collaborate, so we set up an action plan.
Now, Dana is travelling to Indianapolis from the Twin Cities, all the way up in Minnesota, to join us for our next Verge event. He’ll get to dive into our startup community. He’ll experience DeveloperTown first hand, get to work out of our startup co-working space, and meet with some of our startup founders. There’s also a good chance that Dana will collaborate with Verge in its upcoming release of one of the largest projects it has taken on.
Based on how quickly we were able to connect and find common ground, it’s hard to say what kinds of positive impact this will have on the business with which we’re involved. But I do know one thing…
None of this positive momentum would have manifested if my friend and former business partner, David, hadn’t connected me with Dana.
It probably took him less than a minute to make the introduction and it has such huge potential to create value beyond the initial inertia. Do you have a similar relationship story?
If you think about it, I bet you have more than a few. Imagine if we didn’t leave this to chance. Think about the momentum we can build if we connect with intention and make it a priority.