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I probably remember you, but please give me a break here

By on June 6, 2011
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I have a very good memory for names and faces.

Really, it’s good.

In 2001, I was flying on a small plane from Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar in Tanzania. Twelve seats. I sat down next to a guy in his late twenties. After a couple of minutes, I said, “Timothy?”

He looked at me as if I was mad. My wife frowned. She hates it when I do this sort of thing.

He said, “yes.”

I stuck out one hand. “Nicholas Lovell, we are at school together. Primary school. You were in the year below me. We haven’t seen each since 1985, when you were twelve.”

(Honestly, this happened.)

I don’t remember everyone any more. I speak at a lot of conferences these days, so sometimes the only time I’ve met someone is in the scrum of people trying to talk to panellists as I come off the stage. It can take me a long time to work out who someone is. It’s not unusual for my brain to be whirring for fifteen minutes before I can place someone.

So please, give me a break here. Read Mark Suster’s advice on how to handle approaching what he calls “high-volume people”. People who meet a ton of people in their daily lives. People who love making connections, but sometimes struggle to place the person in front of them who they might once, in a conference room, for an hour two years previously.

So cut me (and Mark, and every investor you ever meet – all investors are high-volume people) some slack. Not a lot. Just say something like:

“Hi, Nicholas Lovell, we met back when I was an investment banker at Deutsche Bank and I came to talk to you about how the Internet was going to change the media business.”

or

“Hello, I’m Nicholas Lovell. I think we last spoke when I was CEO of GameShadow and I was pitching you an ad sales deal for the release of Championship Manager.”

Something. Anything. Just give me a headstart for my mental filing system to place you and retrieve you.

Otherwise, I won’t be listening while you’re talking. I’ll be searching for clues on who you are, where we met, and what I should know about you.

I’m sure I remember you. Give me a nudge.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • zz_james

    You’re such a nice guy! I believe I could never be a high volume person, it’s like a social disability, I’d be straight to their face “who are you?, what do you want?, of course I don’t remember you! what the hell, do you think I’m Mr. super memory? do you remember the price of everything in Tesco’s? why not? too many right? well I’ve met too many people, so just start over like we never me before and we’ll be fine” this is probably why I’m a computer programmer, not an investor….