Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Captain Ahab - The Fisherman of Networking Opportunities
Geeg Wiles from Massachusetts was recently in Austin with his travel companion, Captain Ahab. Geeg and I met to discuss the business of speaking professionally, as he has begun speaking on college campuses encouraging students on living life to the fullest, creating experiences, and cultivating relationships.... as it is the real life connections with people that make a difference in our lives --- not just the "likes", "follows", "links" and "shares" of social media (hmmmm..... sounds like a refreshingly familiar message!!!).
He does not travel alone. For over 12 years he has roamed the United States with Ahab. His partner in crime is quiet, but always the center of attention. People stare, laugh, question, giggle, roll their eyes, look away in horror, and/or come up to have their photo taken with the two foot tall fisherman that apparently wants to be a pirate.
This leads Geeg, and anyone with him, to start interesting conversations and build friendships.
Captain Ahab is a wooden sculpture. He began his life on the front lawn of a middle-class home in Massachusetts (think "garden gnome"), but more than a decade ago Ahab was "acquired" by Geeg and his college buddies. The idea was a short series of adventures and then his being returned with a photo album chronicling his destinations. However this college prank has grown into a mission of fun, discovery and human-to-human connections.
Everywhere they go Ahab is a conversation starter. Geeg has met people near and far. Locals, tourists, celebrities etc... all come up to learn more about this little yellow wooden man. While not everyone is interested in talking to Geeg, he is sure that he has met thousands of people because of his not being shy about carting his wood carving all over the place.
I joined Geeg and his friends for lunch on South Congress in Austin, and tagged along as they took Ahab along the funky shopping district (he made an appearance at Allen's Boots and tried on cowboy hats!). Even in a "Keep Austin Weird" part of town, Ahab turned heads (one would think in Austin a grown man carrying a large carved fisherman would seem tame... but people still wanted to know the back story).
Networking apparently does not need to be just between humans. Wooden figures are not getting in the game. To make connections all you have to do is be willing to talk to others. Take an interest in people and share stories. You never know what opportunities can grow from conversations with others.
Too bad some of the real people we meet at networking events seem more like wood statues than old Ahab!
To learn more about Ahab's Adventures you can follow him on Facebook or check out www.ahabsadventures.com
Have A Great Day