I just found another example of how following your passions pays off, and it was right under my nose. Thom Rockliff and Elliot Ng, two of my colleagues at The St. John Group, just won a big international award – the Summit Marketing Effectiveness award – and it happened just because they followed their passion for technology.
A couple of years ago Thom and Elliot became interested in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. I didn’t have a clue what it was, but they explained, “When you pull up to a gas pump and use your speed pass, RFID reads your card and tells the pump to give you gas.” I said, “So what? We do marketing for products like BlackBerry, not gas pumps. Is there a client paying you to work on this stuff?” They said, “No, we’re just curious and interested in RFID, so we’re messing around with it in our spare time.”
I watched as they built some gizmos in the back room and made the RFID technology do cool things. To be honest, I wondered if all the effort was worth it, but I’d worked in Nortel Networks research labs long enough to know that if someone is passionate and excited about doing something, it might pay off someday. That day came a year later when we were working with our Research in Motion clients on a BlackBerry booth for a Las Vegas trade show. One of the clients said, “I wish there was a better way to track what interests visitors to our booth, so we could get them the information they need faster.” Bing! Thom and Elliot immediately saw how RFID could solve the problem and they soon developed a powerful solution.
So, now when you go to the BlackBerry booth you get a card, and when you want the scoop on a product you just touch the card to a tag next to it and the system quickly sends you information on everything that interests you. Customers visiting the booth get information FAST that’s targeted to their needs and BlackBerry staff receive up to the minute data on customers’ interests. The icing on the cake is the solution just won a top international award, and it all happened just because two guys followed their passions and interests. As Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before.”