So-called smart address book apps, like Brewster (or Sensobi, a GroupMe acquisition, before them), try to make how you communicate with your contacts as efficient as possible. A critical feature, for me at least, is an automatic notification to contact someone with whom I haven’t communicated in a while. It’s something I’ve been doing manually for my personal network for years, with a series of lists & spreadsheets that invariably become useless when I stop updating them.
It’s really important to do the same in BD. Often the first few times you talk to a potential partner, nothing comes of it. Or you meet someone with whom there’s no obvious business relationship. But these things are so fluid that reconnecting 3, 6, 12 months down the line may yield something awesome.
For instance, over a year ago, Steve & I had some preliminary discussions with Kristina Simmons, lululemon’s expert on emerging digital products. She’s incredibly plugged in and aware of the latest consumer internet trends / apps / products. We pitched her on a partnership, but couldn’t get anything to stick. There was interest on both sides, but no obvious opportunities.
Fast forward a few months to SXSW 2012… Figuring Kristina would be in Austin, I shot her a note to reconnect, inviting her to swing by the GroupMe Grill. We hadn’t spoken in months. And while we actually weren’t able to meet up at South By, it did restart a dialogue that led to this:
GroupMe’s API is integrated into lululemon’s latest mobile apps, for their Sea Wheeze half marathon in Vancouver and an internal employees-only leadership conference. We’re incredibly excited to work with lululemon, and we’re talking to Kristina about a bunch of other cool ideas.
Just because a first (or second, or third) meeting doesn’t result in anything doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. Stay in touch with everyone, develop relationships - good things will happen.