Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Small Adventures #24

Most people probably know about the Kevin Bacon Effect, or the Kevin Bacon game. Originally, the game consisted of linking two otherwise unrelated actors based on which movies they'd appeared in that also featured Kevin. Some researcher decided to study this concept and determined that you can link any two people together through just 6 steps (i.e., I know the manager of my department, he knows the regional manager of Toastmasters in Texas, who knows the regional Washington, D.C., Toastmasters manager, who knows Dick Cheney, etc. So, if I ask around, I could conceivably get a chance to be introduced to Cheney. (Fake example.)) Some of the current social networking services (specifically linked-in) are built based on this premise. The idea being to maximize the number of people online that can find you for your skill set or for increasing the number of contacts you can exercise.

Bottom line is, the more people you talk to, the more that know who you are, the greater your chances of the unexpected happening.

Last Summer, I went to the Kagoshima City aquarium. As I was getting ready to leave, one woman at a cash register in a souvenir shop near the exit asked if I was an English teacher. I had to apologize to the group I was with for delaying them, in order to talk to this cashier. She said that she wanted to study English, and was wondering if I had a business card so she could contact me later to discuss the details. I gave her my card, and that was it. She didn't email or phone me after that.

Suddenly, a couple of nights ago, I got a call. It was the woman from the aquarium. She stated that she'd been talking to a friend of hers who works for a tourist group in the city, and the friend needed to find a foreigner for something her company is working on. The aquarium woman remembered my business card, and suddenly I'm talking to some travel planner out of the blue about play-testing a new city walk tourist brochure for a couple of hours one day next month.

Sure, why not. I might find more chances of handing out my business cards along the walk.

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