Auren Hoffman in DC...
Just last week I blogged, Do You Know Auren Hoffman? - Not Yet! You remember Auren, he's the guy that gets paid handsomely for introductions.
After my blog post, I sent Auren a quick email pointing out my blog post at Spiderware.Com. He responded with a polite email thanking me for the nice blog. The next day Auren surprised me with an email Evite to a gathering in DC, just a short distance from my office in downtown Washington, DC. Seems that Auren was flying in from the West Coast. I checked the guest list and found that I actually already knew some of Auren's friends in DC. It was great to meet Auren in person, but I learned some very important and valuable lessons about "networking", and about "friendship".
So, last night, there were probably 25 of "Auren's friends" at the Russia House, an elegant and comfortable venue with couches and coffee tables just off Dupont Circle, and just perfect for impromptu conversations. Everyone I met already knew Auren, and most of them knew each other, so I could tell that these guys must make an effort to do this often. That made me feel *very* appreciative of Auren's personal invitation to me. There were lots of hugs and neck grabs and barrel squeezes, much like a fraternity. I don't see much of this type of camaraderie between the entrepreneurial CEO techgeeks, venture capitalists and government contractor "suits" I hang with (not at the same time!). The fellowship here was quite comfortable. I found that a simple "How do you know Auren?" was the perfect icebreaker and that each guest had a different story to tell. One I talked to met him at Renaissance Weekend, some through some of Auren's political activities, and one (the [only] liberal?) from some of Auren's work with high school kids.
Of course, a few of the guests asked me, "And how do you know Auren?". I answered, "Well I blogged about "not knowing Auren last week" and that he was polite enough to invite me tonight." Most thought that that was just totally cool, and "just like Auren".
I shared a few words with Auren and he seemed pleased that I already knew a few of his "friends". I stayed for a couple of hours and felt totally comfortable discussing all of the things Auren's friends talk about, things like what's going on on Capitol Hill, the White House, Foreign Policy, Immigration, the economic explosion of freedom in the former Soviet Union, and the firing of the blogging Washingtonienne, and her new book deal...
I appreciate Auren for revealing his life to me through the gathering of some of his closest friends in Washington (I guess "43" couldn't come). The thing that struck me most was that Auren knew these people face-to-face, knew them well, even though most of them live in DC, 2500 miles from where he lives in San Francisco. I thought to myself, that if I went to San Francisco and invited people who knew me there to join me for conversation at a club, NO ONE WOULD COME! I wonder what would happen if I gave the same invitation HERE in Metro DC, where I live, would anyone come?
So, Auren, although we only spoke for a minute, I have learned a lot from you. I learned that I need to reach out and touch my acquaintances more, call them, go visit with them, but most of all, spend TIME with them, face-to-face, engaged. I need to invest in my relationships even more, deepen them, so that I might be blessed with people who might just call me "friend".
So, cheers to you, Auren, my new friend. And thanks, I owe you a lot already... If there is *anything* I can do for you, you've got it.