Forget "Movers and Shakers." Seek Out "Schmoozers and Makers."
Long ago, I planned to move to San Francisco upon graduating from business school. Over lunch on April 24, 1984, one of my favorite professors told me to seek out the “movers and shakers” in town. Fifteen minutes later, we experienced a 6.2-level earthquake. The movers and shakers were clearly seeking me!
Frankly, I found the classic power brokers in San Francisco boring and uninspiring. So, given my penchant for wordplay, I sought out the “schmoozers and makers” instead. While schmoozers might be considered just dilettantes who like to party, I met a few networkers who tapped me into unexpected contacts that helped me with my burgeoning boutique hotel biz. Most importantly, they seemed to enjoy and gain value in just making connections. They weren’t necessarily looking for anything in return.
But, it was the "makers" of San Francisco that offered the greatest nourishment to me. After a few years of hanging out with type-A, left-brain MBA’s, I found my real tribe amongst the City’s cultural creatives hanging out in Hunter’s Point art studios, marveling at kinetic sculptures in Mission District lofts, and learning hard-knocks business skills from entrepreneurs who made things with the both their hands and ingenuity.
I’ll never forget the Grand Opening party of my first hotel where my dapper biz school classmates met my new misfit friends, the “schmoozers and makers” of San Francisco. Sparks flew…in all the right ways. Synapses fired. Relationships were forged. And, I learned one big lesson: seek out people who look at the world differently than you do. If your eyes and heart are open, you might learn more than you ever will hanging out with people who are a carbon copy of you.