What a difference three years make.
I was at DEMO in 2005 as was Robert Scoble. We had this proposal for a book to be called Naked Conversations, that we had been dangling in front of publishers. Several showed interest, but in the end it came down to just two Thomas Nelson and John Wiley. Both had become aggressive in offers to us, and--now it can be told--both going well past the amount of money it would take for Robert & I to say yes.
Robert was impressed because Nelson's CEO had a blog, but no one at Wiley did and Robert was fearful of a publisher who just didn't "get it." Meanwhile, I was growing pretty desperate to get hands on an advance. Robert had a job. I did not. It had been three years since I'd sold my PR agency to employees and my resources were zeroing out.
The Wiley guys, Jim Minatel and Joe Wikert, asked if they could fly down to Scottsdale, AZ take us out to dinner and maybe persuade us to go with them. It was short notice on Valentine's Day and the only place they could reserve a table was at the very center of a very large room at Mason's Steak House. It was an extremely noisy table, impossible to say more than "pass the salt" and be understood.
As food started being served and the wine started soothing high-pitched voices nearby, our table became slowly audible. The Wiley guys presented a financially generous package. I was ready to sign and dance and celebrate, but Robert was remained somewhat aloof. Even I wasn't sure which way he was going to go on the offer.
Then Joe Wikert, said to Robert. "I want to start a blog. I want to do it as soon as possible. If we publish your book, will you help me get my blog going?"
Robert brightened. He grinned from ear to ear. He became engaged in the conversation. We had a deal.
The Wiley guys left, and Robert and I stayed behind and drank Couvoisier XO cognac at $50 a glass. As I recall, Robert stuck me with the tab. We walked outside into the desert night only to discover one of the rainiest deluges I had ever seen. I called my wife and she was overjoyed. I would later find out she had been notified that day that she would be laid off from her job of seven years.
That was not my most romantic Valentine's event, but it was my most fortuitous. Joe and Jim are still blogging and others at Wiley have started. I have a hunch those blogs have helped the publisher in deal flow, but I'm only guessing. The book has been very good for Robert and me, and it has probably forwarded the cause of business blogging forward a few inches.
So happy Valentines Day Joe & Jim. I send you big hearts in a platonic sort of way.