Office Hours Update by Nate Westheimer

As you may recall, a few weeks ago I announced a new experiment called "Office Hours": I opened six 15-minute time-slots in my schedule -- setting aside Fridays from 11:00am - 12:30pm -- and opened my doors in an effort to meet folks I ordinarily wouldn't get to meet. I'm very pleased to report that the first week my experiment was an absolute success, as each visitor turned out to be proof positive for the concept of Office Hours!

Besides the people being perfect, I found the setting to work very well also. 15-minutes was just enough to get the important stuff out in the open fast, to get down to business, and say our goodbyes. I'm sure I'll see a few of the folks I met again, but as a first meeting, a quarter of an hour is just fine.

To give you an idea of who I met and why Office Hours was the perfect venue, here are a few sentences on each person I met:

  1. Suki Fuller (@sukifuller) took my first time slot. She's an independent competitive intelligence consultant who works for big pharma companies in New Jersey -- certainly outside my everyday network. Suki's also a social media buff, and is a co-organizer of Social Media Breakfasts here in New York City. She signed up because she wanted to meet me and also ask me in person to be the guest at one of the breakfasts in the near future. I accepted, of course, and we spent the final few minutes of our time brainstorming on some ideas I had for the New York Tech Meetup.
  2. Cat Laine (@cat_laine) was up next (now this is a great story!). Cat is the Deputy Director of AIDG.org which "helps individuals and communities get affordable and environmentally sound access to electricity, sanitation and clean water" in developing countries. Now, AIDG has a unique approach to their work, in that they use business incubation as a primary delivery mechanism for the technology these areas need. So how did this drive Cat to me? Cat Googled "Entrepreneur in Residence" because AIDG wants to get more seasoned entrepreneurs involved with startups in developing countries (smart!). The post I wrote back when I joined Rose Tech Ventures ranks 4th or 5th in Google for the phrase, so that brought Cat to my blog. Coincidentally, Cat's Googling and clicking happened  on the same day I announced my Office Hours! So, Cat came in with about 6 prepared questions, and after a breif introduction to her program she asked away, I answered, and in 15 minutes we got a lot done!
  3. Jason Adler (@jason1706) was the next person I got to meet with. Jason is an MBA student at Forham and wants Fordam to be more involved in the NY tech community. Great! Jason and I took our 15 minutes to do regular introductions and chat specifically about the Forham Finance Society, which Jason is the President of, and talk about my plans for the NYTM.
  4. The last person I was supposed to meet with -- unfortunately she got sick and couldn't make it in the end -- is a friend of mine from Brandeis who now works for Digitas. Neither of us imagined we'd end up in the digital world back in college, but now we're both very involved. Unfortunately, we rarely hang out and tragically we never talk business. When I announced Office Hours, Laura was the first to sign up, seeing that it was a great way she and I could quickly catch up and talk business. I look forward to her attending office hours next time!

Speaking of next time, you can already go and register for January the 2nd. Already 3 slots are taken (one will be via Google Video Chat), so hurry up and sign up!

As for Office Hours, I'm very convinced this is a good thing and will be encouraging friends and others to do Office Hours as well. It's a wonderful way to meet new people and perform a little -- and just a little -- triage on your calendar.

If you do Office Hours, let me know! I'll be the first to come by and say hello!

Office Hours by Nate Westheimer

Make an Online AppointmentBeginning this Friday, I'm starting a new experiment and holding office hours.

The problem

Because of an increasingly hectic schedule, I'm discovering that there are a lot of people I don't get to spend any time with or meet face to face. Since normal meetings take at least an hour, meeting face to face --  even at my "level" -- doesn't scale.

The solution

Office Hours. [Well, this is an experiment, so I imagine I should say, in Ron Burgundy form, "Office hours?"]

In order to meet with more people and learn more about my community, I'm setting aside 1.5 hours every Friday to meet with 6 new people in 15 minute time slots.

Meetings will take place here at the Rose Tech Ventures incubator and new time slots will become available every week following the completion of that week's office hours.

And, while meeting are open to everyone and anyone -- including hard-to-schedule friends -- I reserve the right to moderate my time (i.e. make room for more people in lieu of hearing a sales pitch).

Nevertheless, I look forward for the opportunity to meet 6 people I ordinarily wouldn't meet -- and that very well could me you.

So, if you've been meaning to introduce yourself, get feedback on something you're working on, or just say hello, click here and sign up for office hours!

The experiment starts this Friday.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Twitter & Tumblr by Nate Westheimer

Do you follow me on Twitter? Is my Tumblr on your dashboard? Long ago, the number of people following me on Twitter surpassed the number of people who subscribe to my blog. I love Twitter and find my work and social life are measurably better for it, but -- shh, don't tell the Twitterers! -- I still appreciate my blog subscribers most of all, and think of good blogging as the highest social media art.

However, one thing you'll notice, if you've been reading my blog over time, is that I no longer add my Delicious links to this space, as I "Tweet" them out as I see them; and even more recently, my short quips of a post -- short videos, quotes, clips, and photos -- have all but disappeared. Those quips, have found their way to my Tumblr.

These days, my blog is for the pure stuff: thesis posts, essays, and slightly-more-than-half-baked thoughts. I call it the "highbrow/brilliant" (NY Magazine reference) quadrant of innonate (my name, online). It's nice, because I feel like my blog represents me well. It's who I like to say I am.

But if you want to keep track of what I'm seeing, and liking, and thinking about on a day to day basis, my blog is no longer where to find me. Those aspects of me... the cotidian, and even "lowbrow/dispicable" (another NY Mag reference) side of me are to be found on my Twitter and Tumblr streams.

So, first of all, THANK YOU for being a reader on this blog. I hope to turn it up a notch on my postings in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Second of all, please follow me on Twitter (click here) and Tumblr (click here) to see what Nate's like on an every day basis.

innonate consulting (Part 1) by Nate Westheimer

This is Part 1 of a series of posts explaining my dive back into the consulting space. If you're interested in hearing how I could collaborate with your business, stay tuned for future posts, or contact me at nate (@) innonate.com

In the last few weeks, I've been approached and encouraged by a number of people to do some freelance consulting work.

My first reaction to this was two fold: 1. humility, of course; and 2. caution.

I had been consulting for National Public Media for a while, but soon after our merger with NPR things with BricaBox started to pick up, so I dialed down my outside consulting activity and focused on building my own business. Until a few weeks ago, I didn't think much about going back.

But, as I was approached several times in the course of a few days, I started thinking about the nature of consulting again.

You see, as someone with a natural skepticism for so-called consultants, I feared that the word "consultant" meant "disinterested third-party with a know-it-all guise."

This is not something I wanted to be or do.

But then I thought about my time at NPM. This is not how I felt in their organization. Why?

My relationship with NPM was wonderful because the relationship was symbiotic. I loved being in meetings with the team because I learned so much about the advertising industry -- they had some of the best experience in the industry, and were willing to teach. In fact, I learned enough at NPM to really hang with advertising industry folks. I gained so much

Meanwhile, the folks at NPM were eager to get up to speed on the evolving web -- and this is where my value was. How could their business make use of the latest and greatest while not getting burned by all the new and shiny crap that's out there? NPM didn't have anyone inside their company dedicated to thinking about these things. I, meanwhile, was up to speed. By the nature of running a small startup, I had my entire mind wrapped around what was going on in the new media/web 2.0 world.

Tapping this knowledge and interest into the intriguing world of web, TV, and radio advertising was not only productive for me, it was measurably valuable for my client. By the time I had left, I had shapped the company's approach to advertising in downloadable media environment (podcasting, etc) and laid the foundation for a new ad network of public broadcasting-related social media websites. I had also become a smarter, better-rounded individual, with a sharper eye for how "business 2.0" gets done.

So, with this in mind -- that consulting, when between two learning parties, can be a wonderful thing -- I intend on dipping my feet back into the business of consulting. I'll be posting more about what opportunities I'm looking for and the mechanics of how I can help your business. For now, feel free to reach out with your ideas.