“Life is just happening to us, we are just too busy and the thing that often times falls by the wayside is our ability to stay connected and in touch,” says Adrian Chenault, CEO of Contact Mapping.
Staying connected is a problem many of us face every day. The developers of Contact Mapping feel as though they have found a solution.
Contact Mapping is an app designed to help individuals keep track of the people they meet and to remember information about those people. Later that data can be accessed in order to allow the mapper to maintain a deeper connection. It is a system designed to build bridges between people.
Tom Chenault, chief sales officer and forefather of Contact Mapping, has been using this concept throughout his life to help him become successful in every industry he has ever attempted.
Tom realized the value of really getting to know people when he was just a kid working as a host in a “cruddy little restaurant.”
“I figured out early on that if we just remember everybody and compliment them when they come back and we remembered them, they were going to love us. And I’m tellin’ ya, no matter how bad the food was, what the prices were, the service could have been terrible; the fact that we walked in and asked them about their dog Muffy, it just made them cry. It was then that I just knew that paying attention to people’s lives authentically, not manipulatively, was the answer,” says Tom.
Latching onto this key idea, allowed Tom to quickly become “so powerful and so popular” that “people couldn’t live without me and they couldn’t fire me. And so I was basically untouchable.” He used this self-pronounced superpower to find success as a restaurant businessman, an airplane salesman, a stockbroker and eventually in managing his own multi-level marketing organization.
Tom does not deny that the magnitude of success at such a young age had a negative impact on his life and he states that he became a “raging alcoholic” resulting in losing his job several times. It was through his contacts, though, that he managed to keep going and find his next career.
Tom’s son, Adrian Chenault, witnessed his father’s success, through the relationships Tom built, from a very young age. He, himself, used the same skill to become the head of finance for international relationships for a multi-billion dollar company at a young age. He contributes that success, not to his skills in finance, but to his ability to connect with people on a personal level.
While Adrian had found a great and successful career, he says, “I’ve always been really inspired by what he [Tom Chenault] had done and kinda how I learned that growing up. And equally, I had always wanted to start a company. I always wanted to start a tech company. But I had never really had the idea that I felt like was something that really had the impact that I wanted to have in the world, something that I was so passionate about that I would want to devote 10 years or more of my life to doing it and that I really felt like I was the right person to bring that to the world.”
During their family’s holiday celebration in December 2016, Tom and Adrian began discussing how to take Tom’s talents as a master networker and Adrian’s dream of starting a tech company and fusing them together.
A year later, Adrian, who lived in Switzerland at the time, gave up his job in finance and moved back to Colorado. He decided that it was time to begin the work it would take to get Contact Mapping out of Tom’s head and into an app that everyone could use.
“I wouldn’t say I am passionate about this, I would say I’m obsessed with it, which is a good thing,” states Tom. As a self-proclaimed “train wreck,” Tom is always losing the bits of paper he records his contacts on. Now he claims “I’m totally Tom Chenault proof,” all due to the app created by his son and Contact Mapping’s CTO, Rick Manelius.
Manelius joined the team with a contact mapping background of his own. He witnessed his mother, who worked in his hometown school system, learn details of all the people she came across. He jokes that he believes that she must have known everyone in the county, around 60,000 people. He and the people in his hometown continue to be amazed at his mother’s ability to truly care and remember so many people.
Manelius also met his wife through the concept of contact mapping. He attended a workshop in college and met several people there. One of whom was Katherine Thomas. During the workshop, Manelius says he may have spoken to Thomas three times. Shortly after returning to school at MIT, he received an email from Thomas “out of the blue.”
Thomas had met someone who lived in Longmont and she believed Manelius needed to meet her. “She pestered me for three days. And I eventually reached out with the most absurd email I could ever write because I am never going to meet this woman. This is pre-Facebook. And four months later I am on an airplane to go see her. Never met her before, just talked to her on the phone and we’re married and have a kid.”
It was because of these life experiences that Manelius decided to join the Contact Mapping team. “Social media was supposed to allow this. Technology was supposed to allow us to connect and do what my mom did on paper or just in her mind.” He points out that society uses social media as entertainment and not as a means to connect on a personal level.
“Contact Mapping for me is how to establish roots in a digital era,” says Manelius. “We get used to being in each other’s orbit that we think that we know everything about a person but we’re all evolving, we’re all changing, our maps are getting bigger and changing.”
It is the hope of this team to help people “see how much this transforms their connectedness and their ability to serve others and ultimately to create more opportunities for themselves,” says Adrian.
“Really what we are about is that transformative combination of the tools, the system and the app itself to bring that all together. The app is designed to make it as easy as possible and as fun as possible for you to be using it multiple times in one day,” says Adrian.
At its base, the Contact Mapping app is simply a technology-based way to keep track of all the people you meet and keep organized details about them to build a stronger relationship. However, the uses from there are limited only by the user.
“If you are in a sales force there is an intention. You are a lead, there is a certain expectation of a pipeline. I am only going to put people in this [a CRM] because they meet a certain business need. This is putting you at the center. Regardless of wherever you go for the next 30 years or if you never use this for business, this is putting you at the center of your CRM and it goes with you wherever you go. Because it is for your entire life,” says Manelius.
Contact Mapping has taken up the challenge to connect the world and they are beginning in Longmont. It is the dream of Tom Chenault to have the world headquarters for Contact Mapping customer service take up all of his property on 17th Ave. but more importantly, he would love to see people be connected and truly care about one another.
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