Why Proximity is Way More Important Than You Think

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 05/23/11 •  3 min read

Back in early 2010 I wrote a post here called “Don’t Undervalue Proximity“.  I was living in Bangkok at the time and was amazed by the steady flow of people doing cool stuff that made their way through the city.  It seemed like almost everyday I was meeting an interesting entrepreneur or traveler.

Having spent most of the last year in Portland, I’d kind of forgotten about the concept. Don’t get me wrong, Portland has become a bit of a hub of sorts for blogging with no shortage of cool people.

In a couple weeks even more cool people will also be descending upon the city for the first ever World Domination Summit.

But that’s all a bit different.

This past week I’ve been hanging out in NYC and I’m once again reminded about the power of being close proximity to people doing amazing things.

The internet is great for a lot of things, and you can form a lot of meaningful relationships from it.  That said, you can’t shake someone’s hand.  You can’t share business ideas over a beer. Simply put, there’s no substitute for meeting someone in person.

Everyday I’ve spent here I’m reminded why this is so important.  When you’re able to spend real time with someone it makes it much easier to go from “some guy I know on the internet” to “friend”. Lower Manhattan HDR small

There’s a big distinction between people in NYC and everyone else that I’m finding.  Everyone here is striving to do something big.  Up to this point I haven’t met a single person who is just going through the motions. Everyone is making moves and trying to be somebody.

You don’t find that in most places.

I should be a little bit more specific. There are a lot of people here that take the idea of being an entrepreneur very seriously.  In places like Portland, that’s much more rare.

So what can you take from this?

People are always trying to figure out how to build relationships with other successful people.  If you want to know the absolute best way, to do it, here it is:

Be genuine, don’t ask for anything, and go to where they are.

Tynan recently had a great article on this.

I was talking with Nick Reese this morning (the superhero largely responsible for my great trip) about how important it is to put yourself out there.  Just because you’re in a place like New York, doesn’t mean people are going to flock to you.

You need to make an effort to go to meetups, network, and push your comfort zone.  But you don’t have to be in NYC to do that.  Even though many other cities may be less entrepreneurial, that absolutely doesn’t mean there isn’t a scene, you’ll just have to work a little bit harder to find it.

I promise you 9 times out of 10, you’re most valuable friendships will be with people from outside your internet world.

If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out our Facebook page and Twitter stream.  You can also get Location Rebel Arsenal, my free ebook that details the tools I use to work from anywhere in the world.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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