Years ago, the world’s largest affiliate marketing forum, ABestWeb, introduced an “Inner Circle” — a private forum within the forum, with one prerequisite for access: reaching a threshold of “500 of more posts.” This was a brilliant idea based on granting behind-closed-doors conversation access to those forum members who had proven their seriousness about the industry — at least to the level of contributing a substantial number of meaningful (and moderators do look at “meaningfulness” there) forum entries.
Earlier this month, I spoke at Affiliate Summit, another iconic constituent of the affiliate marketing industry, and the largest conference of its kind. As is already traditional, during its keynote addresses, as well as for meals, the show’s organizers utilized Banquet Rounds room setup — an ideal style for facilitating networking during breaks and meals. I frequently use this style at my own Affiliate Management Days show, and it works beautifully… well, almost always.
We all love our comfort zones. It is stressful and can be extremely awkward and uncomfortable outside them. That is why, when there is a choice between a group of unknown individuals and a group of the folks you know (and especially those you know well), we tend to prefer the latter. It is more enjoyable, relaxing, and fun that way.
I am a choleric subject, though an introvert. Weird combination, I know. But we do exist “in the wild.” I am living proof.
When I’m at a conference, I make an effort not to sit at tables where my long-time friends sit (at least, not during the formal part of the conference).
This behavior of mine has even been taken for arrogance at times (of which an industry old-timer once straightforwardly accused me). It’s far from it though…
Whenever possible, I try to land at a table with strangers (though, trust me, it is pretty stressful for me nearly every time) — to make the most of the conference/meeting, taking away new connections and with them, hopefully, new opportunities for growth and development.
However warm and cozy they are, I believe “inner circles” to impede growth. We prefer to hang around the same tables, same crowds, same events (How many of us get out to speak at conferences not related to affiliate marketing? I can count these folks on the fingers of one or two hands). And could it be that affiliate marketers often do not get a seat at the table (of digital marketing professionals) because we tend to confine ourselves to our own cozy and comfortable companies?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this (whether you agree with my observations or not), and that’s what the “Comments” area below is all for.