It has been a few weeks since I met Mike Levin, a Philadelphian now living in New York, on my home turf. Mike and I were in attendance at Seth Godin's first book event for The Dip. As we discovered during our conversation and I just found out in the last couple of days, we have more that one connection between us. This is not a six degree of separation post, although it could easily be.
That is great news, as I believe that when we meet people who are extremely passionate about what they do, demonstrably good at it, and nice to boot, we should pay attention. I just caught up with Mike's post on the event and his background, which he so aptly titled Benevolent Design Confluence & My Life Straw Revelation. In it, he self defines as a frustrated mechanical engineer who realized he should have gone into "applied engineering" and actually got into graphic design as a sort of cop-out.
You will see in a few days that I consider mechanical engineers a special breed (hint, look for my father's day post). And I think there is a consensus on a conversation that experience designers are indeed amazing problem solvers. Look at David Armano's approach to creating experiences, and you will see what I mean. Wait, it gets better, because as Mike writes, "it's never too late" to make a contribution in meaningful ways.
He's talking about HitTail, because he sees it as
...an interesting intermediary project between graphic design and tangible social good. HitTail allows people around the world to pursue their dreams, and work towards becoming the best in the world at their niche specialty.
Mike wants to get things done and make a difference. Well, he's already had me pay attention to what he is doing at HitTail, and I must tell you, I'm not exactly a WebMetricsGuru here. Marshall Sponder is, and I found out he also knows Mike at the ProBlogger get together this past weekend in New York City. The recap of the evening is here. [that is me with Marshall at the Speakeasy]
Want to know what else Mike and I have in common? We both know Michael Port, see his write up about sex and the city, small worlds, marketing gurus, and a new book promotion technique here. Michael did an event with Fast Company readers' network a couple of years ago just before the publication of his book, and people are still talking about it. He was the first one to greet me at Seth's event, and I could not have asked for a nicer person to do the honors.
There is a marketing lesson in talking about SEO. In Mike's words:
As all HitTailers already know, and mainstream marketers are beginning to discover, it's not the keywords that give you bragging rights that matter. It's the conglomeration of "everything else" that counts. And lurking beneath the surface of "everything else" are tons of under utilized, most promising keywords that have the real potential of leading potential customers, clients and new audience to your site.
Yes, the world is slowly turning in the direction of applied engineering under the auspices of design. More and more companies want to hire people who are hands on and not only understand but also know how to make things work with their own hands. Is this a return to the guilds of Medieval times? It surely looks that way, doesn't it?
I like the way Mike, David, and Marshall think. In a future that is more and more project-based, hands on wins. Wait, we also need to become more flexible to go across disciplines. This marketer and communicator has been learning how for years. So let's not sit on the sidelines waiting for things to go mainstream. Let's not dip our foot in the water too timidly. Let's give it a try and see how it works.
Irony of ironies, Mike, a Philadelphian living in New York City, returned to Manhattan to meet a Philadelphian that day, Josh Kopelman. I do not know him personally; I know his former Chief People Officer and many of his friends. Now I'm going to see how this HitTail works -- I will report back, promise.