A nice reminder from Chris Brogan. I recommend watching the entire talk—it's only 10 minutes. Here's what you need to know: as an observer and active participant of the social web for several years, I've seen the power of serendipity influence how business gets done. Business leads coming in through Twitter because the person inquiring somehow stumbled upon you via the web and after following you for a while, they decided it was time to talk business.
It's like life. Some of you reading this right now have done business because you sat next to a person on a plane and struck up a conversation or was receptive to the being a part of a conversation after someone initiated it.
We want to separate business from real life—but the reality of life (and business) is that it's messier than we like to admit. As Chris says, we need to figure out how we develop relationships that yield (I've experienced this in so many ways).
Serendipity is underrated because it's fuzzy, intangible, and difficult to source our even put our finger on. It takes time. But we want results NOW. Faster. Cheaper. Better. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this—if you're in business, you're in it to profit. But profit can be obtained in a number of ways:
Some businesses do understand the power of serendipity. When a Zappos employee sent my wife a hand written card elaborating on their discussion about family and her aunt—that employee understood that one micro-interaction has the potential to trigger vast ripple effects . Amazon obviously saw the value of doing business this way. Serendipity as Chris suggests is a tough sell to anyone who toils in the trenches of corporate cultures across the globe. That doesn't mean it's not a increasingly important business tactic. In reality, as my airplane reference suggests (based on a true story), it probably always has been.