To know Bill Sobel is to be part of an interconnected world of endless opportunity.
Sobel, a master connector, knows practically everyone who matters in the media and entertainment space. Recognizing that his “skill set is who I know,” Sobel since the early 1990s has helped technology companies get into the media and entertainment space by tapping into his vast network.
To acknowledge that, however, doesn’t give justice to Sobel whose capacity for networking is seemingly boundless.
Up everyday at 4 am or 5 am to keep his eyes and ears open to what’s happening in media and entertainment, Sobel scours the Internet for new developments he can share with some of his 3,000 “business best friends.” Every week, 400 FOBS (friends of Bill Sobel) receive his “Bill Sobel’s “Rants & Raves,” a digest of news items and upcoming events, including information on monthly NYC networking events he hosts. In between, when he’s not at a networking event or at lunch with an FOBS or friend of an FOBS, he’s likely to be found in front of a classroom — or rather multiple classrooms. He guest lectures at NYU, at the New York Institute of Technology, and is a visiting adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Albany and is on the faculty of Brooklyn’s Polytech University. Not bad for a guy who doesn’t have his master’s degree.
A connector of the super nova as well as the lesser stars, Sobel has had Bob Pittman, the founder of MTV and former president and CEO of AOL and Julie Roehm, the celebrated and infamous ex-Wal-Mart marketing executive attend one of his breakfasts. Bill Rasmussen, the founder of ESPN, got wind of one of Sobel’s breakfasts featuring the president of Sports Illustrated and other sports luminaries and asked Sobel if he could attend. Not only did he show up, he introduced the panel.
“My network of friends seems to grow exponentially,” says Sobel, who friends say “knows everyone.”
For Sobel, personal branding is all about making yourself as marketable as possible. “Don’t be fooled if you’re working for someone else,” he says. “You’re always working for yourself and need to keep yourself on the edge of everything.”
He also advises never to pass up a potential opportunity. “I go to a lot of functions and people will say, ‘Why go to that?’”
Sobel’s answer: “You never know.”
Wendy Marx • Public Relations/Marketing Communications • President, Marx Communications, Inc. • firstname.lastname@example.org •