Paul Aaron Travis – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

After co-authoring my first book, “Leadership on Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue” and contributing to two two others, I noticed my stack of books-to-read never shrank — it only grows. Surmising that others might be experiencing this same information overload, I developed my recent title, “B’Friendship: A Fresh Approach to Networking for Those Who’d Sooner Have a Stick in the Eye”, as a DVD first.

The topic is based on survey research as well as my personal experience that people who characterize themselves as shy or introverted typically avoid networking because they judge it as “shallow” and “fruitless”. This underserves them in developing a professional network, but it does not have to be this way. This two-hour video program covers how to ‘re-frame’ the entire dynamic as “business friendship” — which is something that most people can do, and in fact, yearn for.

Tell us something about yourself.

The genesis begins early in my career. Prior to my nearly 20 years in business and consulting, I was a geek — spending 9 years as a software engineer of some world-famous products like Microsoft Flight Simulator for the Mac, Word, and Windows. But then a feeling set in, that it was time to move on to my next career: marketing. Unable to find an opening to do so at Microsoft, I jumped to a small company and pursued what I was passionate about!

One of the many things I learned was that, without the (relatively) large company environment, networking with others was critical. So I began keeping business cards of those I’d meet, and making sure I passed mine out. I would track them in Excel, then in ACT, then eventually in my PalmPilot. I came to feel such a thrill — a good deed — when I could pair up two of the people I knew, who could help one another or whose needs complemented the others. Later on, I came to realize those deeds were actually the karma bank that eventually came back around to me!

What inspired you to write this book?

My introverted wife, frankly :) One night when I returned home after an enjoyable night of networking, remarking to her how many wonderful people I had met, she wondered aloud “if only you could bottle that talent… not many people exceed 10,000 people in their Rolodex and can still keep track of them!” It got me to thinking, that should be the focus of my next book/project.

How do you do research for your books?

I have learned to go with my gut, and substantiate with sources. Or as the old saying goes, “Trust in God and Tie your Camel!” For this work, I’ve conducted one of the most extensive, non-organizationally funded, surveys. I’ve received numerous comments that this survey alone has helped people see networking in a new light! And I have another book half-written from earlier in the decade, with 28 interviews completed!

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Well, I’m working on method/technique for the “other half” — outgoing people I see who have NO systems or process in place — the same ones who oooh and aaah when they watch me find their name in my PDA along with notes from the last time we chatted! The working title is, “Connectivism: Wrangle Your Contacts and Organize Your Outreach.”

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Be prepared for the Reticular Activation System. (This is the part of our brain that begins to observe red sports cars “everywhere” after we purchase a red sports car.) I’ve noticed MANY more people writing on “my topic” since I began doing so. Don’t worry about the others — dig in and finish the message you wanted to convey while you still have energy for it. There’s truth in the old saying “Use it or lose it”!

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

The usual — Super Bowl advertisements, billboards, etc! Seriously though, my efforts are focused on SEO, direct marketing, and joint ventures. I’m also speaking as much as I can.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

For now, although I am working on more mainstream distribution as well.