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Peter and the Woz

Been there, done that. Learn from others’ brilliance…and mistakes.

“Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.”

Steve Wozniak offered this brilliant line during a keynote presentation at an event I attended several years ago. I pondered on it, and loved it enough that I put it on our business cards and coffee mugs. Woz and I clearly were on the same page, believing fully in the potential of individuals who were engaged in their work, motivated, curious, and of course, smart.

Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked” has become one of Smart Savvy’s taglines. It’s something we believe to the fullest: we actively seek out individuals who are humble, hungry, and smart to make an impact for organizations for which they work (including our own). Patrick Lencioni’s characteristics of an ideal team player (humble, hungry, and smart) helped shape our framework of exactly what individuals bring to the table.

Flash-forward to 2017, and the inaugural Digital Summit Seattle. Participating in the two-day conference to introduce Smart Savvy to Seattle-area marketers, I was pleased (okay, closer to uber-excited) to find out that Steve Wozniak would be addressing the crowd. We would meet. We would bond over our love of what smart people can do for a business.

…and Wozniak chuckled: “I just meant that sometimes highly intellectual people are so caught up in their work, they forget to lock the doors.”

Ah. But he did like the mug, and even signed it for me. We had a great conversation, and I left our meeting also chuckling, but with great appreciation for Wozniak’s openness to sharing thoughts and ideas with me. I like to think I may have even left him with a couple of new ideas to mull over.

All the memes in the world

The opportunity to meet trailblazers and move-makers is priceless. Better than searching for just the right inspirational quote to frame on the wall behind your desk, or scrolling for the meme that calls your name the loudest. There is great value in connecting with those who inspire you – at events, by engaging on platforms like LinkedIn, through polite requests for a meeting. In our hyper-connected world, no one is truly out of reach – although you might need your running shoes if you get invited for a morning hike instead of a coffee, as Joel Hanson did when connecting with Chip Wilson.

More than a soundbite

Soundbites are great for the 6pm news, but sometimes the backstory is where the real learning takes place. Connections enhance learning, grow networks, deepen relationships, and ultimately develop our own professional paths. The next time you have the chance to sidle up to an event speaker, or connect online through a shared interest, I challenge you to take it to the next level, and ask for more. A bit of backstory will help you grow your own story.


Take learning to a new level

  • Take notes of the brilliant nuggets, and who said them
  • When possible, approach speakers during event breaks
  • Follow on LinkedIn, or other social channels/blogs
  • Follow up on speakers’ recommended readings/podcasts/newsletter subscriptions
  • Consider getting a certified coach to support you in solidifying your professional goals

If I Knew Then, What I Know Now

Ready to get inspired by leaders who have words of wisdom to share, and the backstory to give you an insider’s view on getting from A to B? On Wednesday, May 23rd, we’re hosting a very special evening at Seattle’s Melrose Market, and we’d love to see you there. We’ve hand-picked 13 seasoned leaders to share career planning “hindsights” with you. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often. Grab your tickets before they’re gone!


Alonda Williams | YMCA Greater Seattle, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

Anne Williams | (former) Starbucks, VP Marketing and Category

Brent Kokoskin | Phillips Oral Care, Senior Director Professional Marketing

Bryan Lenning | Edelman, Creative Director

Claire Booth | Lux Insights, Owner/President

Erin Quick | Stoke Strategy, Design Director

Greg Perotto | Hootsuite, VP, Global Corporate Marketing, Brand and Communications

Guy Seese | Sockeye, Creative Director

Joseph Thompson | Hardy Capital, Entrepreneur in Residence

Kevin Urie | Screenzilla, Managing Director

Kristina Bergman | Integris Software, CEO

Patty Rowell | Amazon, Web Services Head of Global Employer Brand

Susan Sayers | T-Mobile, Senior Segment Marketing Manager


Learn more and get your ticket before they’re gone!

Peter.jpgPeter Reek is the Founder and President of Smart, Savvy + Associates, who are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached.

Peter Reek

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