Great things often start small…

Chris Lema

pixeljarIt was a simple phone call. The kind I have every couple days. I get a tweet or email asking if I have a few minutes to chat. I reply that in my late afternoon or evening I’ll have a few. And a call gets scheduled.

Sometimes the calls are product-related. Sometimes they’re pricing questions. Sometimes they’re about an upcoming project, like a membership or an e-learning site.

This call was different. It was a strategy call. I don’t know if it’s fair to say I have a favorite type of call, but if I did, this would be it.

It was Jeffrey Zinn from Pixel Jar. In case you don’t know who that is – he’s the guy who “discovered” me. In other words, he and Brandon Dove are the organizers of WordCamp Orange County. And they were the first to allow me the opportunity to speak at a WordCamp.

I was unknown in the community. A lurker. And almost three years later, I’ve found my own way to contribute – most of which comes from this blog and speaking at WordCamps.

So I owe Jeffrey.

Somewhere in the middle of the conversation I said the words, “You should talk with my friends at VeloMedia.” 

Embrace the small stuff

We all love to be part of big things. But that leaves all of us looking for big moments. You know, the kind where you swing for a home run.

But I’ve found that more success comes from consistent singles than from the big swings. So I’ve come to embrace doing the little things.

Little things like:

  • Introducing a person to another person
  • Introducing a person to a new company
  • Introducing two companies to each other
  • Giving someone a bit of encouragement to keep working at something
  • Giving someone a challenge to reach a little further

These kinds of things won’t change the world. At least not initially. But sometimes they have a cascading effect.

Great things start small

That little line in that little call was obviously followed up by another call. And another. And eventually Velomedia and Pixel Jar started working together. And today, things have taken shape in a way I couldn’t have predicted back in that first call.

But isn’t that normally the case? Isn’t it really the rare case when we can predict everything that will result from being faithful in the little things?

A second acquisition announced

VeloMedia is almost complete with its acquisition of Crowd Favorite. As previously announced, the new combined entity will continue with the Crowd Favorite brand, and be run by VeloMedia’s CEO, Karim Marucchi. Alex King will step into the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Both Karim and Alex are excited to announce additional news. Today, they’ve entered into formal negotiations to acquire Pixel Jar – bringing both Brandon Dove and Jeffrey Zinn into the new Crowd Favorite family.

Pixel Jar is well known in the WordPress community, having contributed to multiple versions of WordPress as well as organizing WordCamp Orange County. This makes formal an existing relationship; VeloMedia and Pixel Jar have collaborated on previous projects, including working on one of the world’s largest automaker’s web presence.

Making the acquisition even more interesting is the addition of AdSanity, Pixel Jar’s premium plugin for ads, to the existing arsenal of Crowd Favorite products. It further develops a product-orientation for this service boutique. Under Alex’s leadership, and with continued investment by Brandon, Jeffrey and the rest of the team, Crowd Favorite will continue to release customer and project-based products for their enterprise customers.

Takeaways for the rest of us

Obviously it’s great news for all the parties involved. But what can we take away from this news?

I think, when it all comes down to it, the lesson we learn is all about building relationships and the downstream consequences of them. You don’t know, when you meet someone for the first time, if you’re going to get the chance to work together, to help one another, and eventually decide to formalize a new kind of business relationship.

It’s why I love events like WordCamp Phoenix, where I will be all weekend. There are tons of amazing people here. And I can’t predict where any little conversation will go.

But I know this: great things often start small.

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Comments

  1. Congrats to everyone involved!

    Ps. Jeff without facial hair is weird.

  2. There is something truly amazing about the power of turning connections into opportunities. Thanks for sharing this story Chris.

  3. Most great things and great relationships start with a simple “hello”. Enjoyed the post and am sharing :-)

  4. Congrats guys!!!

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  • People don’t fully grasp how strategic Chris is. I love that about him and count on it all the time.

    Karim Marucchi
  • Chris often breaks paradigms and has me rethinking the way I approach my business.

    Jeff Zinn
  • Chris always gives me something to think about – a new lens through which to examine my business.

    Lucy Beer
  • Chris’s advice has helped me to make better decisions about my business, and manage my clients better.

    Natalie MacLees
  • Chris has been a source of wisdom and insight in business and product strategy, startups, entrepreneurship, and more.

    Austin Gunter
  • Chris is one of those rare people who can take a difficult subject and make it easy to learn and remember.

    Dave Jesch
  • Chris has a heart of gold and is willing to reach out and help. He has helped me in several ways both in WordPress coding and consulting with me on my business. He has been a blessing in my life and look forward to a long friendship with him.

    Gregg Franklin
  • Chris Lema always drops knowledge bombs that makes me think about how I can evolve my WordPress-powered business. Even more valuable is that he does it in a way that makes drastic change seem achievable.

    Chris Ford
  • Whether it's product strategy or a question about which plugin to use, I know Chris will get me an answer faster than anyone else.

    Steve Zehngut
  • Chris is a great mentor, instructor and friend. He fills all these roles with a down to earth style and ease that actually encourages you to believe that success is within your grasp.

    Alex Vasquez