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Getting a Bear Hug Tracking Down Market Leader Active Rain at NAR San Diego 2009

bear hugI really wasn’t prepared for what a gift it would be to meet very Active Brad in person.  When I dropped by Saturday morning, he was actively giving out bear hugs and ‘Safe SEO’ advice to anyone who could come up with a good bear story.

You see, when Brad was but a wee lad of 12, he was camping out under the stars when he was awakened in the deep of the night by a bear performing a lice check on his noggin.  Fortunately, he’s found a way to transcend the terror of that encounter by facilitating a support group he calls “Bearly Recovering” for folks, like me, who have been through a Major Ursa ordeal.

OK, obviously I’m having some fun here, but that’s what it was spending almost 45 minutes there on the couch with Brad . . .  fun.

I felt self-conscious of the fact that I was taking up so much of his time and attention, but he wasn’t very good at projecting an awkward vibe, or darting his eyes about, or anything that would suggest he was ready for me to get lost.  He was extremely present and generous with his time . . . I basically got Rain Camp 101 accelerated (if you miss him at NAR, you’ll have to make it to Rain Camp at Inman Connect 2010 in NYC next January).

As a special bonus, he made me cry when he shared what it was like dropping off his son at college for the very first time.  With 4 teens at home ranging from 16-19, his words shot straight through my heart.  Empty nest syndrome is right around the corner for me, and I’m excited and dreading it at the same time.

Brad is passionate and real, and embodies what it takes to be an effective blogger and social networker.

“Write like you would talk to someone over a frothy cappuccino.  Share, don’t sell, use photos and videos, and put in 3-4 links to other sites for every 1 taking someone back to your outside blog… “ [Quotation marks used recklessly]

I was touched and inspired by my visit with Brad and the vision of Active Rain that I really hadn’t been able to get my head around before.  And guess what?  The point of Active Rain is not to get points (but all the same, you’re going to use your God Console to grant me a few extras, right, Brad? 😉

I’m grateful to Bill Exeter and the Deferred Sales Trust for getting me to the conference . . . making that personal connection has made all the difference.

P.S. I really did get a nice bear hug from Brad . . . anyone else score this year?

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