Contact anyone you want: Personally, with respect, and before you need them

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Seth Godin was invited to join the Forbe's network of financial bloggers... by bulk e-mail:

I wrote her back, pointing out that she hadn't even bothered to pretend it was a personal note... just a mail merge missing my name.

She responded (this is the entire note):

I'm not sending these out. I have people working for me that send out 500 a day. Are you interested in joining, Seth?

The juxtaposition of the third sentence with the second just highlighted the inanity of the entire enterprise. It's a high-quality network, but 500 people a day are being asked to join, and it's okay to spam people but do I want to join anyway?

Godin breaks it down:

Here, it's simple:

You can contact just about anyone you want. The only rule is you need to contact them personally, with respect, and do it months before you need their help! Contact them about them, not about you. Engage. Contribute. Question. Pay attention. Read. Interact.

Then, when you've earned the right to attention and respect, months and months later, sure, ask. It takes a lot of time and effort, which is why volume isn't the answer for you, quality is.

That's a great way to get a job, promote a site, make a friend, spread the word or just be a human.

That's the way People Who Give a Damn has to be run, by thousands of volunteers, building a network that belongs to nobody.