Try calling up the CEO of Nike and having a 20-minute conversation, without either of you having met the other. Or Disney. Or Coors. Or any corporation. Hell, any company. Doesn’t even have to be the CEO. It could be the President. Or the VP.
It’s certainly not impossible to do this, but it can be difficult at times. There are barriers to go through: telephone systems, receptionists… They’re put in place to filter you out if you’re not important. And if you’re just a 22-year old kid looking for general advice, you might have a tough time on this route. Some people have been successful getting advice by writing letters (my favorite example is the Warren Buffett postcard), but this can also be hard. In my experience, the response rate isn’t as high as you’d hope.
Then there’s the beauty of email.
It might surprise you when you find out how easy it is to get ahold of certain people. The kind of people who have their own blogs, especially. It definitely surprised me.
Why did it surprise me? Well, some of the bloggers I’ve had conversations with wield enormous influence. Arguably much more than a CEO at a big corporation. I’m not going to argue that it’s wrong that the CEOs have filters in place to make it harder to get a hold of them. I’m also not saying they should be as easy to get a hold of as some of the bloggers. I just want to point out how incredibly easy it is for you to have a conversation with someone who interests you. Don’t believe me?
Email a popular blogger that you read. Thank them for their articles, say how they’ve changed the way you think, then ask for advice. More often than not, you’ll be surprised how quickly they get back to you.