Kel Kelly

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Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to [email protected].

Peace out.

Lick Subway Railing Or Attend Networking Event?

September 28, 2010 12:52 PM

I would rather lick a subway railing than attend a networking event. It’s a harsh but true statement. I will go so far as to say I loathe networking events and I rarely attend them. In the spirit of honestly, I am just not driven to grow my business. I have never been motivated by money and because of that, making connections solely to drive growth has never been on my radar. The good news is that K&P has enjoyed terrific growth in spite of what some may call a dumb perspective.

Last night Kel & Partners had the incredible opportunity to host a party as part of Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness bus tour. As most of you know, Tony’s book, Delivering Happiness, hit # 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. It’s a gripping read that tells a rare story of how Tony’s commitment to corporate culture lead to extraordinary success while delivering endless amounts of happiness along the way. Although Tony sold his first company to Microsoft for hundreds of millions of dollars and recently sold Zappos to Amazon for close to a billion dollars, it is Tony’s humble demeanor that most impresses me. While his business success is jaw-dropping, his kindness is even more notable.

Interestingly enough, Tony is also not a fan of networking events that are self-serving for pure business purposes. He prefers to get to know people as people regardless of their position in the business world and believes this indirect approach often times still leads to something good for your business. As such, we asked that people who attended the party only put their first name on the name tag and not include the name of their company. As a conversation starter, we also asked everyone to write one thing on their name tag that’s a little weird but makes them happy. My name tag said “Kel” and below that it said “Flossing.” The weird but happy comments were striking and acted as a catalyst for dynamic conversations that dripped of genuine passion versus obligatory motivation. The weird but happy comments included things like happy sea turtles, snoring bulldog, yawning pandas, hoedowns, bit o’ honey, polka dots, demolishing buildings and cats doing flips — although I’m concerned about the cat comment since most cats don’t do flips out of self-motivation. The conversation buzz level in the space felt lighter and more natural than what I usually experience at a networking-like event. As I looked around at the 150+ people, I saw unusual pairings deeply immersed in animated conversations. The insightful takeaway was that for as passionate as people are about the business they work for, most, if not all, get even more lit by something that has absolutely nothing to do with business.

Imagine a world where delivering happiness held the top spot on every corporate objectives list and displaced today’s reigning champion, Driving Revenue Growth. Last night, it was so invigorating for me to speak to so many young entrepreneurs who are as passionate about delivering happiness as they are about becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. Even more exhilarating is the thought that because so many people have bought Tony’s book, propelling it to the #1 spot on the NYT Business Best Seller List, that maybe we are about to witness a shake up in the business world. Maybe passion and purpose will learn to coexist with profits. Maybe business leaders will have an “a-ha” moment where they have the epiphany that unheard-of customer service can lead to a business that exceeds even their wildest dreams. Maybe these same leaders will put their employees happiness ahead of their own and realize true nirvana is better measured in smiles than in dollars.

I’m really hoping Delivering Happiness becomes a thread in the fabric of all businesses. I’m kinda tired of licking subway railings and it is a total buzz kill to my flossing efforts.

Would you rather lick a subway railing or attend a networking event?

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Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

17 Comments on “Lick Subway Railing Or Attend Networking Event?”

  1. Meagan Shaffer Says:

    Oh, Kel – you crack me up! I will say that I have enjoyed many a networking event in my day, but that may be because (after leaving my sales career behind to enjoy the wonderful world of PR) I have never walked into one with a single goal or agenda. Instead, I have enjoyed the energy of crowds and feeding off of the random interactions that come about.

    That being said – last night’s was clearly the best “networking” event I’d ever attended, and I feel very lucky to have been there. Tony’s book is amazing and inspiring, and it was a great feeling to get to meet so many passionate people with big, fun personalities! :)

  2. Kel Says:

    meagan, in knowing your personality, i think it would be hard for you to do anything without delivering happiness along the way. hugs.

  3. Jay Groccia Says:

    I would totally love to shoot that scene.

  4. Kel Says:

    jay, as soon as we are ready to start production i will give you a shout!

  5. Jon Bornstein Says:

    Kel, were you an editor in a previous life? What an awesome title!!

    Needless to say, I’m with you. People don’t like to be sold (and most of us don’t like to sell). The best conversations are just that – actual conversations.

    The karma you mentioned on Twitter yesterday? A people-first approach will come back 110%!

  6. Kel Says:

    jon, i was never an editor…as a matter of fact i use @ginnypitcher to edit my blog posts. i believe the title will make or break traffic to a post. seems to have worked here — although the somewhat rhetorical question at the end didn’t drive as many comments as i usually get. regardless, it was a fun post to write. go karma!

  7. Angela Minardi Says:

    Kel, is it bad that I first thought of delicious sandwiches rather than the train station? :) I recently hung out with Jared Fogle and it’s just crazy how a normal guy can be such a celebrity….our country is obsessed! I actually came on your blog to find your email, as I wanted to invite you to speak at our American Heart Association social media gathering. I met you at the PRSA event – and I didn’t have a name tag, but I’m hoping you remember me;). We’re all about instilling passion and making it viral – let me know if you can share your expertise, we’d love to have you…and no networking, it’s laid back!

  8. Kel Says:

    angela, of course i remember you! as i mentioned that night, my mom died of heart disease, so the work you do is near and dear to my heart. send me an email with the details to [email protected]. if my schedule allows, i would love to attend. thanks for taking the time to post a comment!

  9. Caz Wilson Says:

    It’s a funny coincidence the amount of people in marketing and PR who do not like networking events.

    But I love the ethos and the message of Tony’s book and I agree that it would be amazing for happiness to be top on the list of corporate objectives. I feel it’s a shame that bottom line numbers are promoted more than delivering happiness. The recent movie Wall Street is a classic example of this.

    Great post as ever!

  10. Kel Says:

    caz, “ethos” is a great word. you must be “wicked smaht” as we say in boston. haha. i really think people are toast after the tough economy and rethinking the way they approach all aspects of their life. if there was ever a moment in time when adopting a delivering happiness approach would gain traction, i think it is this moment in time. bring it on!

  11. Kevin Says:

    couldn’t agree more about networking, kudos to you

  12. Kel Says:

    thanks kevin!

  13. Rebecca Xiong Says:

    What an awesome idea, delivering happiness! Would be great to have more of us entrepreneurs focusing on that. I was at the Unconference Pre-Party last week, where entrepreneurs connected via ‘passions’ noted on their nametags. I had a couple of amazing conversations with people on running marathons and finding your life’s passion. It’s a great way to really connect. Thank you for your very positive post.

  14. Kel Says:

    rebecca, this world needs more unconferences!

  15. Dianna Huff Says:

    I agree with Meagan way up at the top there. I’ve read all the networking books but have found that I come home happiest when I attend events and am myself — no agenda, no sales pitch. I like networking events because they allow me to catch up with people I know. You know, the way it used to happen before Facebook. D’oh!

  16. I’m Late! I’m Late! For an Important Date (with Myself). | DH Communications Says:

    [...] tasks that make me unhappy and upload the projects that make me happy. (See Kel Kelly’s post, Lick Subway Railing or Attend Networking Event?, about happiness in [...]

  17. Kel Says:

    dianna, i can’t even imagine you having an agenda. also i just noticed that dh communications could also stand for “delivering happiness” communications. you were ahead of your time. who knew?!

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