What’s your personal Venn Diagram?

I’m a graphic information freak.  My idol in Edward Tufte.  I don’t how many times I’ve read his books about graphically displaying nouns, verb and adjectives.

I’m also a database freak.  This probably stems from my headhunting days when my life was dependent on my databases.  I was always in pursuit of the proverbial “Black Box” that would automatically find the right candidate for the right position and would render the best relationship for me.

Those days are gone.  But new days have arrived, and Twitter is an integral part of them.  And I’m back in the same game – the pursuit of the “Black Box.”  “The Black Box” has a different purpose these days though.

My current professional endeavour is my 1:1 marketing company, the bleedingEDGE.  And part of the “Black Box” will definitely be identifying and furthering the proper connections in that genre.  Unlike recruiting, the bleedingEDGE will need relationships much more in-depth and longer term.  The people I work with have will essentially be partners and collaborators.  This means connecting on more than just a business front but also personal.

I want the “Black Box” for more however.  Life is more than just business, and longer I’m around, “the wider I cast my net.”  But I don’t want my life to be segregated.  I don’t want to be a salad bowl.  I want my life to be a melting pot – my relationships multidimensional.  Our most scarce resource is time .. so my time needs, as should yours, be spent to its fullest (that sound very cliché – but it’s true).

Getting back to Tufte and graphics.  At the core of my “Black Box” is going to a Venn Diagram.  You remember those things we had to make in high school math class.  Those circles that we didn’t think had any practical application;  those circles, where as we got older, we tried to find a use for … just because they looked neat.  Well, I’m going use them.

This is where Twitter comes.  Twitter as great way to get in contact with people in a myriad of disciplines with a myriad of interests.  Now the key is to find for where the overlap is.  Who is a good business prospect, that say likes antique lamps and is a Led Zeppelin fan.  On Twitter, you’ll find, categorize and follow who you want – how you want.

For example,  here’s some of my interests:

  • 1:1 database marketing
  • communication theory
  • generational analysis
  • wind energy
  • education reform
  • Pop Art
  • sociology
  • Minnesota Twins baseball

To maximize my time, productivity and fun … I need to find people who share more than of them and how they intersect.  How do I represent that.  With a Venn Diagram, that’s how.

Now I’ll be able see, using my right brain, the people I have the most in common with.  It kind of sounds like ‘match.com’ but without the marriage stuff.  Imagine the potential as a time management / productivity tool.  You’ll find the people you have the highest likelihood of connecting with … business or personal.

You can use the concept for whatever you want.  It doesn’t make any difference.  It’ll also provide a great tool for 1:1 marketing.  Just structure a campaign, any campaign, around not just one interest variable but several.  Neat!

I suppose you don’t have to actually make a Venn Diagram.   Nobody says you have to run out to the school supply store – you  probably had enough of that recently.  But as long as you get the concept, you’re good.

Our time and resources are limited.  We have use them best we can.  And that means choosing and maximizing our relationships.  Too many times we have a tendency to be reactive.  Who ever comes our way, professionally and personally – is who we end up spending our time and effort with.

I know being reactive is easier.  We just have to … well, react.  But where does that really get us.  Does it put us on “The Road to our Perfect World?”  Maybe … maybe not.

The best way ensure you get where you want to go is drive yourself  And when you drive, you need a map.

Maybe you can thank your high school math teacher after all.


If you like this … please Tweet it and follow me on Twitter @clayforsberg


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3 thoughts on “What’s your personal Venn Diagram?

  1. You express what we’ve all got swirling around in our heads and illustrate it. Thanks for bringing back the Venn. I’d like to see all your points in the same diagram. Brian Solis (@briansolis) does a great job with graphs and charts about SM stats.

    1. Diane,

      The idea is the easy part. Mapping it out is the hard part. I’ll check out Brian’s stuff later today. If you have any other sources … please tell me about them. Maybe we’ll just have to put together our own “system.” Hmmm!

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