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I’m a high-volume person. That doesn’t make me important. It doesn’t mean I’m not accessible. It means simply what I’m stating – high volume.What that means is that in a typical week I might see 10-15 new company pitches. Sometimes more. I speak at conferences where I might meet 75-100 people and have conversations. I do dinners too often as my waistline can attest. I have long one-on-one conversations with people for hours.
I have Twitter chats, respond to blog comments, trade e-mails, respond to comments on This Week in VC.
You get the picture.
I actually do have a very good memory. People are often surprised at the small details I sometimes remember from our initial meetings. Little tidbits, random facts. ‘m especially good with numbers – for some reason that’s how my brain is wired. I’m less good at names.
So here’s the thing. When I see you I’m probably thinking, “Damn, I know that person. How do I know them? How do I know them? How do I know them?” Sometimes this happens even with people I’ve met several times if I see them out of context (i.e. where I wasn’t expecting to bump into them).
All I need is a little context. “Mark, we met last year at the NYU event. I spoke briefly to you about my startup in the x, y, z space. I was formerly at the AP as an international journalist before coming to Stanford to get my masters.”
BOOM! I remember! “You’re the guy who built the Twitter plug-in for blogs. Yeah! I remember. I thought that was a cool idea. So what’s the latest?”
Even if for some reason it slips my brain the context ALWAYS helps. I know it sounds dumb. That you could sit in somebody’s office for an hour and they don’t instantly remember you even though you had a big chat. Or even somebody that I had breakfast with! I do remember these meetings. I PROMISE I remember them – I just need the context.
And if I’m like this, I’m pretty sure other high-volume people are, too. And many of the people you want to interact with (VCs, Micro VCs, angels, biz dev teams, corp dev teams, CEOs, journalists … they are ALL high-volume people). Just remember to give them a little prompt. Even if you’re pretty sure they know you it never hurts to err on the side of caution.
It will save them from trolling the depths of their mental database trying to place you while you’re speaking. And if it’s me and the lightbulb doesn’t instantly go off – please don’t be offended. I promise once I have access to my ROM memory I’ll click into gear. If only I was a newer model wired with SSD. Alas.