Triggered by “Google Me This, Batman” I will try and make some different points. I don’t know how many times I have come back from an meeting (or event or trade show) with business cards or notes on my 3×5 cards and run the people and company names through Google to discover things that would have helped me if I had known them a few hours earlier.

It’s not that hard to use Google, I probably spend an hour or two a day following links from searches I have run. But I tend to start from other on-line articles I am reading and not research in anticipation of who I will be meeting. LinkedIn is probably the second most useful search tool if you are trying to get a context on someone.

Two hours a day in Google? That’s a bet you could have won from me ten years ago. Our TV picture tube died about a month ago and I find I have about ten to fifteen hours a week of extra time (funny how much time is taken up by only watching “a little” TV). I think the big win has been missing commercials. But my DSL went out and I had phantom limb pain for my missing Internet connection the next day, I didn’t realize how much I had come to rely on it.

Anyway, I now try to

  • spend at least five minutes reviewing the Google results (for web and groups) of people or companies I anticipate encountering.
    • if it’s a company, notice what ads come up as well
    • if the company has a website see what publications they list as covering them and search the archives for other articles.
    • check who else is linked to their site using the Google link: command (or use Advanced Search, pages that link to this page)
  • check and see if the person has a LinkedIn profile.
  • Read the last half dozen entries (at least) of their blog, if they have one.
  • Depending upon the industry it may also be worth a few minutes searching some trade publication archives that may not be deeply indexed by Google (e.g. EE Times for semiconductor and EDA firms/players).

I would welcome any comments or suggestions on what you do to prepare for potential or likely conversations.