I remember those heady first days of launching Handshake 2.0 in July, 2008. I wrote posts for the site, created its pages - About was the first - and worked with Alex Edelman to customize Handshake 2.0's appearance on its TypePad framework. Business "firsts" came more slowly, but they began to arrive - our first customer, Andrew Cohill of Design Nine, our first on-going client, Coldwell Banker Townside, Realtors of which my sister, Margaret Galecki, is the general manager, and our first writer, Z. Kelly Queijo, who soon founded Smart College Visit, and paid us the highest compliment of also becoming a client.
Representatives of local organizations and companies whom I knew generously linked to the site. But when would we get our first link from someone I didn't know?
A link from one site to another, like the Navi in the film Avatar, says much more than "I see you." It speaks of the value, authority and significance of the content on the receiving site. Linking to another site is an act of trust and even vulnerability - the quality of a post's content becomes dependent upon the quality of the other site. A link essentially is an "It's still who you know" word-of-mouth referral. Additionally, a link tacitly transfers some of one site's credibility to the other.
I believed so much in Handshake 2.0. Would others find it of value? Would we get the coveted link at the far reaches of our six degrees of separation that would begin to validate Handshake 2.0 as an idea, a business model, and a site?
From then on - for over three years - Bob Geller and I have collaborated through guest posts for each other's sites, and conversations through blog comments, Twitter, emails and phone calls. When I learned Mr. Handshake 2.0 and I would be traveling to New York to visit friends, I emailed Bob and asked if we could meet. When he kindly agreed, I bought a new suit.
I felt choked up when I first saw Bob Geller. I credit Bob Geller with "discovering" Handshake 2.0 and feel like the magic of its rising star began with his "I see you."
This photo of our real handshake was taken by Mr. Handshake 2.0 in the midst of a lively dinner for six at a restaurant aptly named Caravan of Dreams.
I have quoted Robert Geller often on Handshake 2.0 so feel free to use Handshake 2.0's Google Custom Search to find those citations. For Handshake 2.0, Bob has most recently written Getting Your Apps in Gear and 5 Features to Look for in a Tech PR Firm.
"Remember, when you share something, you are endorsing it, putting your brand behind it."
- Google+ infographic by BlueGlass for Chris Brogan