Trade an Hour of Expertise

I’ve been thinking a lot in Venn diagrams lately.

Today, I see one circle that is the power of the internet. And one circle that is the power of one-on-one time. In the middle is today’s idea.

This past weekend I gave a workshop on writing about music with my friend of almost a decade, Heather Browne of the highly celebrated Fuel/Friends music blog. We had an informal workshop at the Music District, a state-of-the-art music incubator that I could write a million odes to. We were also joined by the Music District’s director Jesse Elliott as a featured guest, speaking as a musician who writes – or actually, how he sees himself, a writer who musicians. Look how happy we are.


It reminded me how much more powerful it is to actually meet with people. The members of the workshop told us they felt inspired. We felt inspired. Meeting with an actual person means more interactions, more edges for ideas to bounce off and multiply. It wasn’t just a win-win, it was exponential. It was a win-win-win-win-win and you get the idea.

Nothing in my career has felt more satisfying than either sharing my experience or being mentored by someone else with expertise. But maybe that’s just me.

I have formal and informal training in writing, journalism and publicity, but I’ve pretty much taught myself elements of web design, marketing, SEO and social media. Many of us are performing jobs that we’ve never been formally taught. Sometimes we don’t even know the names of the duties we are performing. We don’t even really think about it until we are looking for another job. What do I put on my resume?

I often wish I could talk to a web design, marketing, SEO or social media expert – just for an hour.

Sometimes, I wish I could talk to a neurologist. Or a historian. It just depends on where my brain is that day. I’m interested in a lot of things.

I would love to create a website where experts swap an hour on Skype (or in person, if it is large enough to go local). I sign up and volunteer to share my wisdom on writing; in return for each hour I share on writing, I get an hour with someone on whatever subject I need help with. As my husband said, it’s like Quora but developed a few steps further.

I actually worry if this website were created. I worry I would not want to do anything else but swap hours.


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