September 26, 2008
A Polish tornado blew into our building this summer, and I’m still thinking about the aftermath.
This particular whirlwind goes by the name of Krzysztof (Chris) Dargiewicz, a 21-year-old marketing student at Bucks New University in England.
Chris, a native of Poland, has spent the last two summers in the Twin Cities. He e-mailed me after finding our company Web site and asked if he could come in for a meeting. I’m always happy to do that sort of thing, so we set a date for the next week.
What greeted me that morning was a slight, smiling young man who, without being jittery or wired, somehow managed to give off more sheer energy than anyone I’ve met in years.
“Guy With Ideas,” his business card said, and did he ever have them. Within five minutes, he had his Mac laptop out and was showing me his work: as a European acolyte for permission-marketing guru Seth Godin, as an online network creator, as a marketing agent for his university.
Naturally, I was curious about him. Why are you here, I asked. He shrugged: “Minneapolis is a great marketing city. You have a lot of great companies here. When I finish my schooling, I want to come here and work.”
Given the breadth of his experience, I figured he must have been online since he was a baby. Not at all. He only really got interested in online marketing two or three years ago, Chris said, but once he discovered it, he went for full immersion.
“You just jump in and do it, you know,” he said. “This is where everything is going. The Internet is where all the power is.”
A year ago, Chris’ university was trying to expand its recruiting reach. Chris convinced the admission officials to let him take a crack at it. He created several online networks and put out the word about Bucks.
Within days, he had hundreds of responses asking for more information. He created a traveling presentation and went on the road to high schools in the European Union. Result: More than 150 new European students enrolled at Bucks.
I saw Chris a couple more times at marketing events later in the summer, working the room and asking questions of everyone.
You don’t meet someone like that without it leaving a mark. I’ve been thinking about Chris these past few weeks, and the experience has taught me a few lessons.
Embrace what’s new. Chris didn’t worry about what he didn’t know about the Web; he jumped in and learned it.
Take initiative. Nobody asked him to go and recruit a raft of new students for his school; he saw an opportunity and took it.
Be fearless. Chris isn’t shy about promoting himself; click here if you want to see “The Best Resumee [sic] In the World.” Yes, it belongs to Chris. And although the claim reflects his youthful brashness, it’s hard not to be taken by his energetic presentation.
These are blindingly obvious insights, I know. But I’m glad to have been reminded of them by this energetic young European.
I e-mailed Chris this week, asking how he was.
“I am doing great,” he replied, adding that he has two job offers from London marketing agencies.
Good for him. But I plan to keep track of him in the months to come. He’s someone I’d like to see here in the Twin Cities, making a strong marketing community even stronger.
“The Guy You Need Is Chris,” it says on the last page of his resume. He’s not getting any argument from me.