As originally posted in Blandin on Broadband…
It was a different experience to participate in the annual broadband conference last month. It was great to see friends on the Zoom, but I missed all the trappings of a traditional conference – nice Minnesota location, great food, and of course, the hundreds of informal interactions with Minnesota’s broadband champions. One advantage of virtual was the presence of more national level speakers than ever before, both for keynotes and Broadband 101 sessions. If you missed them, make time to watch the archived versions on the conference web site.
So many presentations noted the importance of partnerships but didn’t talk much about how to find one. I think that the simplest and most effective tactic is to let partners find you. This is not a passive, hoping strategy. Instead, pretend that you don’t need a partner and start making progress towards the goal. In other words, start doing things that drive you towards a successful broadband network.
Announce your intention to solve your broadband problem. Form a serious team. Create and adopt a vision. Start gathering market data about competition and the demand for broadband. Do a feasibility study. Create a business plan. Seek funding. I believe that as you move down this development path, prospective partners will emerge. In addition, your community will be able to better prepared to select the best possible partners.
Momentum is the key to attracting attention and prospective partners. While you don’t need external partners for this; you do need a good set of community partners. And you attract them the same way. Start down the path with whoever you can recruit and keep going. There is an old, but fun and informative TED talk on this. It will bring a smile to your face and encourage you forward.