By Kevin O'Keefe

Who do you need to get to know?


Learning for me has always been about getting to know others. Others who had experience in an area in which I wanted to grow and who were a lot smarter than me. It was not hard for them to meet the last hurdle.

Notre Dame Football Coach Lou Holtz wrote that the only thing that’ll change you from the person you are today to the person you’ll be five years from now are the books you read and the people you meet. For me, books—right or wrong—have taken a back seat to reading via social media.

One big advantage of social media is that I get to exchange ideas with the authors and often times meet them face to face. That rarely happened with books.

Today I want to learn more about journalism and publishing. I also want to learn how to better run a company in the publishing software arena.

For years, LexBlog has been looked at as a marketing agency—we do blogs and custom media platforms for law firms and some other professional services operations, ranging from health care companies to sportswriters to real estate agencies to engineers to accountants.

LexBlog is taking a bit of pivot in the coming year. We’ll move to being a web-based provider of publishing software. Rather than an agency approach, we’ll offer three tiers of service in a SaaS model. After all, software is not very useful if you do not how how to use the software effectively.

In our case, we’ll offer a publishing platform to professionals with features and offerings they’d not find in off the shelf WordPress or other software. We’ll then teach and support our professionals now acting as reporters, editors and publishers on how to publish and blog effectively.

Seeking out reporters, editors, publishers and producers to learn from has not been too hard. I connect with and befriend them on social networks, Facebook being the best.

I learn by example. What are they reporting? What are they sharing? How are they doing so? As with blogging lawyers, some are good and some not so good. This is true for employees and veterans of The New York Times, CNN, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, ABC News, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

Not living in New York City and not personally knowing these folks (yet), social networks are really the only way I can get to know them.

In the area of developments in digital and social media, I follow people who teach, write and build companies in these areas. Via blogs, news articles and Facebook. I could probably use Twitter more effectively here.

In the area of building a publishing software company around a SaaS model I need to up my game. I do follow the term ‘SaaS’ in my reader where I get mixed results. I have not done as good a job as I could at identifying the folks I should be following and getting to know here via Facebook.

You ought to give it some thought. Who do you need to know to up your game? Being a lawyer or other professional is a constant and never-ending learning experience. Being at the top of your game is more fun too.

The ability to learn from the leaders in your field is at your fingertips today. Literally.

Follow the best bloggers and writers in your industry and area of the law. Get to know them professionally and personally via Twitter and Facebook. Exchange ideas and comments with them.

Are you using Facebook to meet the folks you can learn from? If not, big mistake. Facebook, especially for those who have built a ‘professional presence’ via a blog so as to be taken credibly is where you can really ‘reach’ those above you and engage those in the know. You’ll be surprised how many of them are beginning to use Facebook—especially publishers and other media.

Reach out and meet them in person. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be sitting down, one to one, with Dave Winer and Matt Mullenweg, pioneers in publishing and software. But it happened this last year by getting to them as people via social networks and blogging.

Over the next week or two as I take some time off I am going to refocus on what I need to know—and who I need to know to get there. Join me, we’ll compare notes in a year.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Patrick Nouhailler

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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