Steve Levinson is a long-time client who has become a cherished friend.
The fact that he’s a brilliant and insightful Ph.D. in psychology and a world-renowned expert in human motivation (and also very funny) is gravy.
Over the years, Steve has taken as much interest in my business as I have in his, and I can’t tell you how valuable his insights are to me. (We even like it when the server goes down because it gives us an excuse to catch up on things.)
Hey, let’s create a business together!
Steve and I figured out early on that we’d love to find something we could work on together that isn’t either his or my current business. (We’d both keep our day jobs, by the way.) We share common values and ideas and approaches to business and to life (and, as it turns out, shamelessly adolescent senses of humor), and we can’t help but think that there’s some joint venture out there waiting for us to venture into. At the very least, it would be fun trying.
After knowing each other — only virtually — for about a decade, we finally met in person in July of 2010. The Levinson’s daughter had just moved to Atlanta, so Steve and his wonderful wife, Teresa, acquired a compelling reason to fly (from the outer reaches of northwestern Minnesota) to my neck of the woods every few months.
It involves food
Whenever Steve and Teresa come to town, Margie and I typically meet them at some Atlanta eatery for brunch, and we end up gabbing long past the time the server has given up on ever turning over the table to another party. (We do tip accordingly.)
We talk about life and family and pets (Teresa will think that’s redundant, since I already mentioned “family”) and work. We talk about politics (and I thought Margie and I were liberal!). And we marvel out loud at the fact that we have not known each other for decades, because that’s how it feels.
What we don’t talk about much is the still-mythical “joint venture”. Respecting that our better halves haven’t been involved in those discussions, Steve and I don’t want to hijack our precious brunch time with such matters. At most, one or the other of us will mention it in passing, and then we both bemoan the fact that we haven’t done much yet to progress the idea.
We bemoaned again the last time we got together, at the end of April.
And then we did something about it.
Bi-Weekly Tuesdays with Steve
We committed to a regular bi-weekly video hangout.
No agendas necessary. No need to shower or shave. The only requirements are a high-speed Internet connection (more of a challenge for parts of northwestern Minnesota than I would have imagined), access to a Web conferencing service (e.g., Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting), and a working Webcam (more of a challenge for some people from northwestern Minnesota than I would have imagined).
I’m happy to report that Steve and I have followed through on those hangouts. Our third in a row was yesterday. I’m still on a high from that meeting.
Is our joint venture ready for funding? No, far from it. But the value of these regular face-to-face confabs is inestimable.
I highly recommend you try it yourself.