Recently, I had one of those humbling insights that forced me to realize how much bias I carry around with me.  I met up with the younger brother of a friend at lunch, Jared.  The first time I met Jared, he was 17-years-old and understandably cocky.  We used to play board games together, and he would boss everyone around the board.  He always had a word of advice to give, and in my opinion, not good advice.  He gloated a lot when he made minor victories.  He was the kind of person I avoided when choosing board game partners, and I decided a few years ago he was not the kind of person I wanted to hang out with.

“And with that, I’ve sunk your battle dragon.  Er, or something.  Mwahahaha!”

So in today’s conversation, I started talking with Jared about Fellowstream and how I’ve been marketing it.  Mind you, it’s been a while since I talked to Jared.  He’s 19 now, and he seemed a lot more calm.  Still, when he started his conversation with “Marketing is easy…,” I thought, Ah, here we go.

But Jared surprised me.  When I poked a little into what he meant, I found that he actually knew quite about about Internet marketing.  He asked intelligent questions like what the bounce rate for the Fellowstream site was.  He talked about crafting messages to fit different types of customers.  He talked about cutting out bad marketing spends and focusing time and effort on being first in mind when the customer needed your services.  These were all insightful comments that not all MBA students know to ask when thinking about marketing a business.

Jared reminded me that people grow and change all the time.  Just because you “knew” someone in one situation, doesn’t mean they’ll act the same in another.  A person who fails at opening new accounts for your business may rock at customer support.  Someone who didn’t know anything about C++ programming two years ago may become really good at it.  It’s always good to keep an open mind about the people you know because they just might surprise you.

-Deborah Fike

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