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December 11, 2007

News & Opinion: Post Pow-wow Thoughts

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:42 PM – Filed under: The Company


I promised I'd write more about the pow-wow. With the assistance of the words from some of the pow-wow-ees, here goes. This year was our second annual Author Pow-wow. It's two days where business authors and some of the best of the publishing world gather to pick each others' brains, meet interesting people, and walk away a bit more energized. The setting: the brilliant Catalyst Ranch in Chicago.

Nearly a week has passed since the 50 (or so; thanks Phil) of us bid farewell and journeyed home. For us, the pow-wow is the only time in the year where we meet many of our customers and colleagues in person. It's easy to forget how important quality face time really is. As Mike, one of the pow-wow-ees, explains,"there is still no substitute for face-to-face, real-world meetings."

There's an amazing dynamic that occurs when a group of people are brought together; especially so when a group of people who usually play the role of teachers and consultants come together to learn, converse, absorb and share. Each of us had to unbuckle our egos and leave them at the door and so we did. For many authors, like David, it was the first conference they attended that year for themselves and many, like Raj, didn't know what to expect but brought their passion. I imagine they felt like the business leader who sits down to hear the consultant's advice or read the business book that will help them turnaround the company strategy.

"In a world where cut throat competition is celebrated and civility too often gets lost, it truly was magic to watch people who compete for contracts, shelf space, and media time, willingly reach out to those around them to offer insight from their own experiences that would help their colleagues. I'm guessing that no one left this two day session without learning at least one thing about publishing that had never crossed their mind." (From Barbara.)

As Erika blogged, "It was a delight to be in a room full of smart people trying to get smarter." At the end we had an exercise where everyone reflected with one word on what the pow-wow was for them. [I'm stealing this from Kevin's blog.] "Words included: fun, invigorating, energy, relationships, generosity, memorable, learning, and fattening (that was right on Ben).I [Kevin] chose the word Remarkable. The group chuckled at my choice, but it truly is the best word I could have chosen."

Remarkable it was. You see, as Jose points out, "There is nothing more personal than business and as long as we continue to exchange currency for goods and services, relationships will be the foundation of our economies. And as long as we have business, we will need to understand how to navigate the pitfalls and adventures that come with work...Business books will never die because there will always be incredible people with wonderful stories to share." That is really what the pow-wow was about: connecting and sharing. And for that, I thank each pow-wow-ee and everyone that helped make the two days a success. We can't wait to do it again!

Photos of our days at the ranch: via Phil, Jose, and our collection. And a pictorial representation of the two days by Dan (woot. woot.).