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How do you cross the line?

How do you cross from the online to offline world?

I wrote a post where I mention Gnip as an innovative service, one that can help to increase web services’ scalability on one end and to ease building new mashups applications on the other. Consequently, I was invited by Eric Marcoullier Gnip’s founder and CEO to meet.

I was excited about this meeting but at the same time very confused. I was only blogging for few months then and I had no idea what to expect. I did not know what kind of hat should I wear when I’ll see Eric. On one end I could be a reporter, with a notebook quoting and taking meeting minutes. On the other end I could come to this meeting as a “consultant” (for free) discussing new ideas.  I had no clue.

We met and we talk for an hour but I was still missing the context. I did not took notes and I was probably too nervous because I remember very little from our discussion. I only remember that Eric was very nice and actually have strong roots in MA where I live now. I learned that Gnip is a very young startup but it already did a lot in the short time of its existence. It is changing the way that web services integrate, from the constant, wasteful, chatty data pulling to the scalable and efficient data push. I  learned that the next step for the service/platform  is delivering the actual data along with the event (they are using the publisher subscriber model) then normalizing it for the same entity across multiple web services – a very cool capability. My take: I think that Gnip can become the backbone of the online APIs world. The metaphor is a “smart router. This time not just for packets but for data and metadata. This “router” can be optimized to distribute data fast, reliably, and to eliminate dups. The service can monitor the health and activity across multiple web services (reporting and dashboard). And maybe even help other web services to recover by storing undo and redo logs. There is always the option to mine the data (across multiple data sources) but I’m not sure how much both sides off the track will be happy about it. The questions? whom to charge the fee from? The producer or the consumer? It is too early to answer these question though.

I probably should have consulted someone before meeting Eric so I could come better prepared to the encounter. I’m sure that Chris Brogan has few good tips on how to deal with this kind of situation.

Anyway, what would you do? I guess that it has to do with your personal/blog’s objectives. But, I’m still working to define mine.

If this meeting would have happened today I would probably come up with a note book or some other means for capturing the content of the meeting. I would probably should’ve think about several key questions to ask and I should have listen more and talk less (always a good advice ). Yet, I’m still dancing between the two options: consulting or reporting?

I feel somehow bad because, at least from my side, I could have done better with this opportunity. Meybe it is like the fist pancake:) I guess that one has to stumble some before acquiring new skills. I’m still grateful for the experience.

So how do you cross to the (off)line? 

cross the line

What would you expect from a meeting with a founder, CEO, PR rep, other blogger? 

I look  up to the professional bloggers for some insights. For the noobies I can only offer the advice to ask for an advice before you meet.

Picture from Ed Schipul photostream (I think) – thank you.

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