Monday, May 28, 2007

The thrill of success

Since I live in the city, and work a few blocks from home, I don't get many chances to go loco. So right after I had booked my plane trip to attend a conference last weekend and then a rental car, I posted the trip on GoLoco: National Airport to Loyola College, Columbia Maryland. The likelihood of actually sharing the ride and rental costs was incredibly low, but at least I was trying to share.

I was shocked to see the GoLoco email 12 hours before my flight to DC: "Someone wants to join your trip." Incredibly low now modified to incredible.

I click through. His note says he is going to the International Community Wireless Summit which is the same one I'm attending. So now I know he is one of about two hundred people. And note the "he." Just like most women out there, I'm not about to jump in a car with a man I don't know. I click through to his profile.

Doesn't look like an axe murderer - whatever that might look like. And then I see that he belongs to the community. That's the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based non-profit. Then I see his blog. Hey! I know a number of people at Embarq and have had meetings there discussing wireless applications in the transportation sector. We obviously know people in common. I suppose I could have emailed them to double check. Instead, I choose "accept" and write him a note about the best place to meet up.

Success #1: Hey, hey, hey! This works! Context, content, and social networks do what we had hoped they would do.

But wait, there's more. Getting out of DC and onto the right highway to Columbia was nontrivial. I handed Rhys (my GoLoco co-pilot) the directions, kept my eyes on the road, and listened to him guide me through the quick series of lefts, rights, merges, on those blasted high speed parkways that DC loves so well. I absolutely positively would not have gotten to Loyola College without mistake without Rhys. The stress reduction probably added a couple of minutes to my life. Thanks Rhys. That was unexpected Success #2.

Expected success #3 was that he paid for a quarter of my car rental (one half of half the travel I was doing with the car) and expected success #4 was that we had a great conversation in the car about transportation, developing countries, travel, and spouses.

Now I have even more connections at WRI.

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