You Just Never Know

You just never know. You just never know where this social web/social media adventure will take you.

As I launched Chalkboarder in the summer of 2009, I became aware of a social media evangelist with deep restaurant experience. I think I first became aware of Paul Barron by seeing his name as a presenter on social media and the restaurant industry as a speaker at both the Western Foodservice Show and the annual conference of the Oregon Restaurant Association. I began reading his blogposts and learning his take on the social web as applied to the restaurant industry.

That August, I was fortunate to participate in the Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour – exploring how food companies and restaurant operators were incorporating sustainability into their operations in the Pacific Northwest. It was at this conference that I met Paul. I think we exchanged a total of ten words the first day.

The second day we sat at the same table in the morning. I remember writing a little note about the speaker’s content on a blank business card and sliding it to Paul. He read it and later asked me if I always carried blank cards, which I did. He suggested I print at least the web address or my email on the blanks – as a way to incorporate my brand into a useful tool.

We traded a few emails back and forth over the next month and then I got a surprise email from him, asking if I would be willing to replace him as a speaker on social media at Coffee Fest Seattle. I felt pretty humbled and honored that he would think of me and immediately accepted. The folks at Coffee Fest have told me that my presentation was considered one of the best by their attendees.

Paul and I have built the beginnings of what I hope will be a great friendship. My respect for his thinking and vision is immense and grows with every communication.

Here is why I’ve written this post – you never know where the social media adventure and journey will take you. As a result of getting to know Paul, I have added a major client to our Chalkboarder roster with Coffee Fest. A year long social media strategy and execution with Coffee Fest as a client, with a deeply well-regarded brand image, will lead to other clients in the specialty coffee and tea industry. The ability to share Paul Barron and Coffee Fest as referrals to prospective clients of any industry is of huge value to us.

Paul, meeting, listening to and knowing you – created one of the early legs of Chalkboarder’s client base. I owe you much for entering dialogue with me and being willing to share so much. Thank you for being a mentor, sir.


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