Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Another Kind of Networking

There’s a new eatery in Chelsea called Swich. It’s a pressed sandwich shop with an eye, and mind, towards design. From the logo to the televisions running SWICH TV, the place feels different (and the sandwiches taste delicious).

But this isn’t about that, really. Instead it’s about a sticker I found stuck on the wrapper of my sandwich when I ate there, which Michael was kind enough to photograph.


Have any friends/relatives who run a farm? We’d love to talk to them. We’re always looking for the freshest local ingredients. Email us their contact info at SwichPressed.com

How fantastic is that? Here’s a business trying to network the same way everyone else is: By putting themselves out there and declaring their interest. A few months ago I wrote about the importance of learning to be proactive in meeting people, if you want to talk to or meet other interesting people you need to let them and others know your desires. If you don’t your stuck sitting at home twiddling your thumbs waiting for them to trip over you.

Swich is employing the exact same logic and I think it’s great. I’m sure lots of businesses would love to meet others in their field who could offer them services. The thing is, they never signal that interest. I’m not entirely sure, but I imagine they’d worry about ‘looking weak.’ But that’s ridiculous, wanting to meet new people is not a weakness, it’s a strength. It’s an understanding that you can’t do it all alone and that there are others out there who can assist you in reaching your goals. Plus, at least to me, it signals an openness and interest in understanding more than just your own world. All the kinds of attributes I’d love the companies I do business with to possess.

Plus, by putting something like that sticker into the world it opens Swich up to all sorts of wonderful and serendipitous moments. Just the other day I was talking to Michael about my love for that sticker and he said he met someone who owned an organic cookie business and suggested they write Swich a note and see if there are opportunities. How cool is that? What are the odds that would ever happen with another company?

I think there are all sorts of opportunities with this kind of thinking. Obvious ones like recruiting could be made so much easier by utilizing your customers as connecters. Most companies say “we have openings, apply within,” but what about asking people if they know anyone who might be interested? Sure it’s a small change in wording, but it could make all the difference in the world. Then there’s innovation: By signaling to your customers your desire to meet related people/companies you open yourself up to worlds you may not even know about. Sure Swich asked for farmers, but if I ever heard about a revolutionary new sandwich press I would be sure to suggest they chat.

There’s got to be tons more possibilities for this, but I’m tired, so I’ll leave it to you guys.

PS – Tomorrow is my first day at Naked, so blogging may be light this week as I get settled in (but don’t forget about my birthday party coming up Friday).

Update (2/20/07): This quote from Desmond Tutu about the meaning of Ubuntu seemed quite appropriate to add: “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up in yours. We belong in a bundle of life. I am a human because I belong. A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good; for he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.” Obviously this is much larger, but the basic idea that we are open, available and not threatened by others sums up everything I was trying to say.

Update (2/20/07): Turns out Michael took a photo.

February 20, 2007


  • Michael Surtees says:

    I wanted to mention something similar about switch but I’m glad I don’t have to now b/c this really gets down to the philosophy of the company. The only thing that I would add about the inside of the store is their menu on the wall. They’ve used magnetic paint which allows them to place magnetic letters which is quite cool looking.

    and if anyone curious about the “sticker�, I took a photo of it at Flickr.

  • Bonnie in Albuquerque says:

    I completely agree with you that people need to not be afraid to put themselves out there. Many business and institions unfortunately do not do what this sandwich place does. It reminds of Ivan Illich’s idea of learning webs that he wrote about in Deschooling Society. He felt that people needed to pair up with mentors or peers with simialr interests and or skill exchanges. he did not feel that schools taught “education”. Skill exchanges are not something that is done too much anymore. I often try and facilitate this amongst my acquaintances and many jobs have come through this way. I used to work for a company that paid headhunters so much money to find people…what if they would have sent a group email or in the newsletter an announcement of a job and if anyone knows anyone…? I guess corporations and institutions operate under that ideology that they can do it alone or at least want to convey that message to their employees.
    Ok, back to work…thanks for the break and thoughtful piece :)

  • Noah Brier says:

    Michael, glad I captured it and just so you know, I was going to mention the magnetic paint, can’t remember why I didn’t.

    Bonnie, thanks for the excellent comment. I think you said it far more eloquently than I with “I guess corporations and institutions operate under that ideology that they can do it alone or at least want to convey that message to their employees.” Also, do you have any links for further reading on learning webs?

    Thanks very much to both of you.

  • Christian says:

    Great stuff.
    Bytheway, they must be *very* paranoid about spamming if they make their email adress spambot-proof in their *print* communication.

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