Reading that book was like a lightening bolt suddenly shooting down and lighting up the world around me.
Gladwell explained me to myself. I remember sitting there reading it and thinking “So this is what I do!”
I mean I had known what I was doing but I also knew no one else who operated the way I do.
Maven is a Yiddish word meaning “one who understands.” In Gladwell’s terms
Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.” They accumulate knowledge, and have a strong desire to share it with others. As Gladwell states, “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know”. 1
I am almost pathological in my mavenness. Seriously.
Someone asks me something and I give them thorough, well thought out information. I spend time doing it. I will pull together some resources and write them a long email.
I do not do it with everything and everyone. I am not that pathological! But I do spend an extraordinary amount of time providing people with information. Time that would probably be better spent on my own endeavors.
For instance, today has been a very maveny day. Here is how one thing leads to the other in my mavenness.
- A friend in New Hampshire, Steve of BlueOx Farm, emailed me this morning asking me about alternatives to using the Square for taking credit cards at his farm stand. We had talked about this back in October when I visited.
- So I looked up the articles I had read and sent him the links to LevelUp and some info on other Mobile Wallets. And I also took the time to tell him the reasons I thought the Square would be the best choice for his needs. (The Square does not require any change in behavior on the part of the buyer whereas the mobile wallet apps all do. Requiring an action on the part of the customer can be a barrier to purchasing.)
- We had also talked about social media and digital marketing when I visited. So I wrote him another long email sharing with him all the new information I have found about blogging and social media. (This info will be in a blog post within a few days at which time I will have a link to it.)
- I was impressed with his website and the changes he and his designer had recently made so I asked him for the name and contact information for his designer. (Dave Morin in Winsor, VT is the designer. His website is http://www.rgb247.com/. Great work.)
- When Steve sent me the contact info for Dave Morin, I wrote Dave because I wanted to tell him how much I liked his work. I also decided to forwarded on the email I had sent to Steve, so Dave could be in the loop with the info I had shared with Steve.
- Then I sent another email to a friend in Vermont who has a pottery studio and gallery but does not (yet) have a website. I gave her Dave’s information.
I have no idea how long that whole thing took me. But I can tell you that I neglected other tasks there were more important.
The thing is I love connecting people and information. It is like an addiction in that I get a lot of juice from it. I wish I could figure out a way to make a living doing this! I would be on seventh heaven.
The example above points out not only my Maven strengths, but also the Connector aspects of my personality.
A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. Connectors usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. They are people who “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.” 2
My gallery owner friend has never mentioned wanting a website, but I saw she did not have one and remembered it. So, as soon as I discovered a good designer in her area, I passed the information on to her. I have no idea what she will do with the information or if she will even appreciate it.
I am not attached to the information I offer or to the people I connect to one another. There is no control issue here.
The information and the connections are an offering because I love doing it.
I hope it is useful, of course. But I offer it without an agenda or expectations.
I think this Maven-Connector personality is also a big part of why I blog, why I am working towards writing a book.
I have been reading a book about blogging and in it the author talks about choosing just a few main topic areas for the blog. The obvious ones for this blog are brain injury, time & life management, and neuroscience research.
But it also occurred to me today that it makes sense to share some of the Maven information that I pull together for people. So there are going to be some posts that are just that – interesting and useful information that does not entirely fit into one of the main topic areas.
In fact, I think I am going to add a “Maven” category!