Sunday, January 13, 2008

JWN: How Far We've Come

Life and Times of JWN: How Far We’ve Come

JWN Holiday

I have to take time to reflect this week as today marks a critical day in the history of The VIP Profiles. It's our One Year Anniversary as a publication.

A little over one year ago I was a junior in college with a twinkle in my eye as I enjoyed my fall semester. As usually is the case in my life, I was a little all over the shop; this time coming back from Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society's Leadership Conference in Austin, Texas. Who would have thought the book I picked up that day in the Atlanta airport would inspire the opportunity I have right now to interact and add value to you.

You ask, "What book?"

Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Black Book of Connections. Buy it. Read it. Try what it says. You won't regret it. I sure haven't.

So, there I am back in Geneseo in late October 2006 searching and ordering six copies of Gitomer's little slice of genius. They come in and I make the fateful decision of who gets them. Guess who did?

Benjamin DeGeorge. For those of you scoring at home he's the other "VIP Guy."

Ben and I had a pretty good relationship at that point; we often chatted on our runs together as part of Geneseo's Cross Country team about business, life, investments, or nonsense, but nothing too crazy. At least, until we read Gitomer's book.

I got the idea about starting a value based e-Zine to send out to my personal and professional contacts. It was a natural progression for me at that point in my life, as I found it imperative to find an efficient and effective way to stay in front of my growing network of relationships. Originally, that publication was going to be called "The Norman Report."

I sent out preparatory emails to friends and colleagues, asking them what their goals were for the year ahead: the year 2007. Most responded with a wide variety of aspirations.

Then, I get a phone call from Ben. I remember it vividly. "Hey Joe, I think we should interview executives like Gitomer talks about in his book. Then, we can feature them in the school newspaper or some School of Business publication."

Ben, the idea man, had me thinking. I, the contemplator, took some time to work this over in my head while Ben viciously toiled with his consistent flow of ideas and ADD.

After what seemed like probably endless silence for Ben, I respond with the idea that is now The VIP Profiles. "Well, I was thinking about putting together this value eZine for my contacts. Why don't we put them together and feature people to our friends?"

The rest of the conversation laid the groundwork for a pursuit that has literally changed the course of Ben's and my life.

Since that time Ben and I have grown pretty close as our unique skill sets, or “factory installed equipment,” seem to complement each other in a profound way. We have learned an incredible amount from one another and are both better off for it.

This isn’t the end of the story for either of us though. Trust me. You’ll be hearing our name a lot in the coming years; probably working together and not just with The VIP Profiles. They say dream big right?

Our first edition, featuring Michael Woods and Louise Wadsworth, came out on January 21, 2007 from a series of Gmail accounts. It was greeted with spam responses, angry administration, and countless questions. I’ve seen the phrase, “What is this?” more in the last 52 weeks then you can imagine.

One of them was probably from you. For that I thank you.

Your constant feedback and questions have helped Ben and I adapt The VIP Profiles from a pretty crappy email with profiles in the form of Microsoft Word attachments, to an archived eZine (that looks classier every week) with a distribution of 2,000 people (and with your help; over 100,000 by the end of 2008).

We’ve tapped our entrepreneurial instincts and created monumental learning experiences for ourselves, our VIPs, our readers, and our growing fan base. That’s AWESOME!

The relationships that I’ve built over the last 52 weeks courtesy of The VIP Profiles have helped make me the professional I am today. But, most importantly, it is the relationships I will continue to build and maintain through The VIP Profiles that will enable me to make my dreams and many other peoples’ dreams (hopefully yours) a reality.

For that, I celebrate the One Year Anniversary of The VIP Profiles.

But, don’t expect The VIP Guys to back away from this little literary and business endeavor now. We have too much spirit invested in this baby to let her go. In fact, if I have it the way I want it. You’ll be reading The VIP Profiles for the rest of your life.

“Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ Others dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’” - Robert Kennedy

From the depths of my heart, “Thank you.” The VIP Profiles wouldn’t be where it is today without you; our devoted readers. Keep spreading the word. The VIP Word.

Appreciatively yours, ~JWN