I’m still the new guy around here. I’ve been on the beat since February, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of getting to know people, the movers, shakers and nabobs in this industry. But no amount of agency and client speed dating could have prepared me for the whirlwind that is Cannes. It was astonishing. Everybody I wanted to see, everybody I needed to meet, was there, in one place, seemingly in the same cabana. Wine glass in hand, sunglasses in place, jet lag and hangover (somewhat) in check.

But that wasn’t the really amazing part. What truly knocked me off my feet was the fact they all knew each other. I don’t mean they knew who each other were. I mean, they knew each other, in the remember-that-five-day-seven-city-12-client-road-trip-during-the-blizzard kind of way. Event after event, meeting after meeting, people were interrupting conversations with waves, shouts and hugs to greet colleagues and old friends.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Medical marketing is a relatively small field, one niche in a much larger industry. And of course, most of the people I met in Cannes were pretty senior, which means they’ve been working in the field for a while and have had lots of interactions with lots of people at various shops and companies. And of course, this field attracts a certain type of, shall we say, gregarious, person who’s unlikely to leave unseized an opportunity to say hi to someone they know and could possibly do business with in the future. (And to show off the tan they got in St. Tropez during the three-day break they took before the festival started.)

But still. The realization that everybody seems to know everybody else is what led to this issue’s Six Degrees of Separation feature. When you really start digging into who knows who and how they know them and why they still know them, you start to dig up some great stories. Past lives and the connections they bring with them are amazing things, as we found by doing some sniffing around on LinkedIn and then asking some questions. I hope you’ll find the feature, and our friends’ connections, as fun and enlightening as I did.

Are you coming to the MM&M Awards dinner on October 10 in New York? Be sure to take a photo with an old friend and post it using #MMMHomecoming.