Networking Pays Off in Hollywood and SIPA

On any Level, Networking and Involvement Work Wonders

The scale that Hollywood people work on is obviously glitzier and more grandiose than what we’re used to, but it can serve valuable lessons. For today, it’s about networking and making important connections. I attended the premiere (pictured left) this week of the new film “Fair Game” starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. It’s about the former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, the former ambassador, Joseph Wilson, and the story involving her covert status. The Wilsons were in attendance to do a Q&A along with director Doug Liman (“Swingers,” the Bourne movies) and moderator Neal Conan from NPR.

A question came up about the casting and how Liman got Watts and Penn to star in the movie—which he said was produced “outside the studio system.” He said that his screenwriter, Jez Butterworth, knew Watts and volunteered to approach her with the script. “She just had a baby and wasn’t reading scripts yet, but I knew that if she could read 10 pages, we’d have a good shot,” Liman said. He was right. Liman also knew that Watts was on good terms with Penn from a film or two they had appeared in together. So he asked her to do the same deal: “just get him to read 10 pages.”

Now that’s networking.

SIPA had two events this week that brought people together to listen and network—a Chapter dinner in San Francisco and a Capital Content breakfast (co-sponsored with SIIA) in Washington, D.C. Both received excellent reviews. Anthea Stratigos, CEO of Outsell, spoke at the breakfast, giving a thought-provoking presentation on the outlook for the information industry, which she quantified at $366 billion. (I will report more on this next week, including her 10 Trends That Matter and Essential Actions.)

Besides Stratigos, what stood out were the great conversations that took place. I was standing with SIIA’s program manager, Jennie Lewis, noticing that nobody was eating the bagels, muffins and granola. They were too busy talking. Situations were being discussed—companies like NASDAQ, Aviation Week and a Canadian information company, CEDROM-SNI, were among those represented—business cards traded and future meetings planned.

This networking will continue tenfold in three weeks at SIPA’s 27th Annual Marketing Conference in Miami. Frequent “networking breaks” are built into the program, as are receptions, lunches and a new session called IdeaSlam, kind of an interactive exercise in solving real problems for different-sized companies. (In fact, we’re still looking for a couple more “problems.” Want free solutions from peers with expertise? Contact my colleague here Julie Utano.)

One of the biggest benefits we deliver on is bringing members together. When in-person isn’t possible, we have the online forums. A discussion two weeks ago on the marketing forum raised the issue of optimizing your web content for mobile devices—which will surely get discussed in Miami. One member reported that mobile now takes up 7.3% of traffic on her main site; another’s was 3.3%. But we know that those numbers will only be growing in the coming months.

What comes across from a content breakfast or a film premiere or any other successful venture are the advantages of having good connections and people to bounce ideas off of. Liman said he was fortunate that although Plame Wilson couldn’t reveal a lot of the details of her CIA career, she and her husband could be very forthcoming on their conversations while everything was taking place. (He said that’s the opposite of a typical movie that tells a true story—where the overall facts are pretty clear but the small conversations must be intuited.)

We encourage you to get involved in what we’re doing, be it a breakfast, conference, webinar, holiday reception (DC has one on Dec. 8!), an online forum, an IdeaSlam or just posting on the job board. It will be a good experience for you and make the association experience better for everyone else as well.

We may not have a red carpet for you to walk on, but we will have some bright lights and a very involved audience.


So come join us in Miami and be part of our premiere!
Network with entrepreneurs like yourself who
know what you’re going though and can offer advice.

SIPA’s 27th Annual Marketing Conference
Wednesday – Friday, November 10-12, 2010
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Miami

Book now, last year rooms sold out!

View complete agenda and expert faculty here
Questions? Contact SIPA at 703.992.9339 or email us.
Sign up today and we’ll see you in Miami!

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