(This post is the fourth in a series I have produced under the Linchpin title. The Linchpin philosophy is based on Seth Godin’s best-selling book, Linchpin. Linchpins are those people who make a difference in your life. It is my hope that we all are Linchpins to others during our lifetime.)
Throughout my career I have produced numerous events – some global like the Prime Time Emmys and others local like food drives at my church. Each had strategy attached, but not once did I ever ask myself what the experience of the event should be. I guess I planned around that by asking myself what kind of tone the event should have, what type of services are needed and what personality the event was going to convey. But I never thought about the experience until now.
Last weekend I attended a celebration of a friend’s life. This celebration service was for my friend Randy Smith who managed the IT department at my church, Whittier Area Community Church. Since my expertise is in communication, it wasn’t long before I started working with Randy when I volunteered on projects. From the first day I met him, we hit it right off away and he quickly became one of my few “tech” friends. As a another dear friend Amy Kimes mentioned at his service, Randy was one of a kind.
Randy was a rare person for he was highly skilled in technology. But, he also was extremely creative and loved organizing events. As such, one thing that he always emphasized in event planning was “It was about the experience.” I learned about this important statement at his funeral on Saturday and thought I needed to remember that in every aspect of my life. Then on Sunday, marketing guru Chris Brogan wrote about the importance of the experience. It was just like Randy to be ahead of the curve. He beat Chris Brogan to the punch. And since these two early adopters mentioned the importance of experience, I knew it was a message for me as well and one that I should heed and not forget.
This post is about the experience of knowing Randy Smith. I am honored to have known him and to have called him a friend. He impacted so many lives during his short time here on earth and the tools that he taught all of us “his students” will stay with us as a lasting memorial. He lived a large life by how he lived it for he lived for others. He was a master at finding solutions to problems and he was a true visionary. Because of how he “lived” and “carried” himself I truly believe he was the definition of social media before it was even penned. For Randy always listened before he spoke. He loved connecting people and received such joy when he was able to spread content to others whether it was through Constant Contact, websites, video seminars, The Tournament of Roses telecasts or retreats. He believed in “open source” and shared his knowledge with anyone that asked. He never held back his wisdom. He was always behind the scenes and happy to do so. He loved gadgets, music, food, helping others and his dear precious daughters and family.
He was a strong believer and so I know when he entered those pearly gates God probably asked him about “the experience.” Knowing Randy I’m sure he said he did his best and tried to be helpful whenever possible and that “his experience on earth” was fun. And then I know he heard the words we all yearn to hear from God when it’s our time “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Randy – thank you for all the help you provided me through the years. You opened up the Internet for me and made it become a “fun” playground and less scary. It is largely due to your influence that I am able to dream about the many possibilities that are available to us to use our voices and time to make a difference in the world. You made a difference in mine.
For yes, life is about the experience. How would you rate your’s? That’s a great question we all should ponder.