The value of a network: An advisory board of smart friends

jeff-cram
Jeff Cram from Connective DX has been a J. Boye group member for the past 5 years

What is the value added of being a member of a network which you have to pay for? It’s a simple question with many different potential answers. That’s why we have asked some our members why they joined the J. Boye network.

In this blog, Jeff Cram explains how he makes use of the network and what he gets out of it. Jeff lives and works in Boston as co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Connective DX, a digital experience agency founded in 1997. He also organizes the annual Delight Conference, and publishes the CMS Myth blog.

How to benefit from your network

I’ve been a J. Boye member for the last three years, participating in the CMS Expert Forum, as well as the annual J. Boye conference in Philadelphia. The relationships I’ve built from J. Boye have played a significant role in my own personal growth and the success of the agency that I own.

Specifically in the CMS space, J. Boye over the years has helped facilitate access and connections to some of the smartest folks I know across analysts, end customers and vendors. I find myself relying on this expertise to grow our business, be better consultants and shape my own perspective.

In growing our own Delight Conference, I’ve also found inspiration for the attendee/member focused environment J. Boye creates which is very different from many events that are simply trying to deliver an audience to sponsors.

I still haven’t managed to use J. Boye to finagle a vacation (I mean, educational experience) to Denmark for their annual European J. Boye conference, but I’m working on that.

The network between meetings: advisory board of smart friends

Being in a forum with the same people over time can feel like you have an advisory board of smart friends to reach out to when you need it.

I regularly keep in touch with many of the members and often reach out informally to compare notes, get advice, or gut check an upcoming decision. Of course, the most valuable conversations with members often happen at the bar over drinks.

What’s the value added of a network?

The value is entirely in the group that is assembled and the relationships that are built over time. It’s a rewarding experience if the network can convene the right people with the right motivations.

My business partner, Paul Williams, is very involved in Entrepreneurs Organization, which has also played a significant role in our agency’s growth.

Give – and take!

Like anything in life, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. It pays much bigger dividends to think about how much you can help others versus just what you want to get out of it.

I’ve seen a lot of people join networks with the goal of getting new leads or consulting gigs. There are better places to spend your time if that’s your goal.

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