January 14, 2011

social technology serendipity

naysayers like to bag on social technology, claiming that it doesn't actually create real world connections. i have a true story that begs to differ...

i've been (sort of) using path, a relatively new social network i've written about before. like my early days as a twitter user, i'm mostly a casual observer until i get a better sense for the platform. for those of you who haven't seen it, it's a twitter-like stream of real-time photos that people choose to share with up to 50 of their friends.

the other day, i was scrolling through my path stream and i saw that my friend shervin pishevar went to coffee with alexander ljung, founder of soundcloud. i don't know alexander, but i remember the photo standing out to me because he was wearing these cool looking glasses.

i noted the hip eyewear and went about my day.

fast forward several hours. i'm hustling to catch a caltrain to the city for one of nicole johnson's famous goodbrains dinners with many friends from summit series (incidentally, where i met shervin). my schedule encountered some complications related to a backpack and a robot (long story), so i had to take a later train than i was intending. as i was boarding the train and looking for a seat, i noticed a young guy sitting across the aisle from me wearing some cool glasses. he looked sort of like the guy from shervin's path photo. in fact, he looked so much like him that i whipped out my iphone, pulled open the path app, and looked at the photo again. jacket was the same. it was totally the same guy.

i slipped into the empty seat next to him and delivered the warning: "this is going to be the weirdest conversation you have today." i asked if he used path, and he said he was familiar with it. i flipped my phone around to show shervin's photo. "is this you?" i asked. he laughed. "yes! that's crazy!"

we chatted briefly and ended up connecting on facebook and twitter. despite the fact that we met somewhere between menlo park and redwood city, he actually lives in berlin. total serendipity. glad to have made a new connection with someone who seems like a neat dude -- he's got cool glasses at least.

two days later, i was on the caltrain again with a friend telling him this serendipity story. the guy sitting behind us happened to overhear, and it turns out, he knows alexander! and not even from the bay area -- they're old friends from the europe scene. too crazy.


Andre Charoo said...

That's the beauty of the Bay Area. Great story!

A Friend said...

Hi there,

I work with an amazing entrepreneur who wants to attend Summit this year. Would you be wiling to learn about him and possibly help get an invitation his way?

Many thanks,