In my experience life, innovation success and even love begin with one lil' thing. That one thing you obsess about or stress about. That one characteristic that wins your heart. I see lil things everywhere worth talking about/sharing. Please do the same. Me: I'm from BK. I do more than talk about what I'm going to build. http://knod.es
Want to get rich quick? Stop reading and go by a mega millions lottery thingy. Want to have a richer network? STOP NETWORKING!
You need to share more of your time and resources. Why? Feel Good reason: Because it’s the good thing to do. Selfish reason: Because the benefit you bring to others really does MATHEMATICALLY come back to you manifold.
We typically think of passing connections and friends we haven’t chatted with in a while in the context of our own need. Whether just reminiscing, searching for a designer, looking for people to donate to our particular walk-a-thon for our particular important cause or looking for references or intros, we often start with ‘I’. But what if we flipped the context of reconnection on its head? What if instead of viewing people you meet and bring into your life as people who might be able to help you you instead asked yourself first how you might be able to help them? Questions like ‘Who do you know’ become replaced by ‘Who would you like to know’. Out-of-the-blue emails pivot from looking like this:
Perfunctory greeting intro and topical inquiry about your well being? Pretend interest in some kind of social get together? Oh and by the way (super obvious fake Columbo move) HERE’S THE THING I REALLY NEED AND ACTUALLY WROTE YOU ABOUT. Looking for a job, need a ________, wondering if you know any ___________, could you please intro me to ___________.
Successful (sorta) Networker
…to looking like this:
Been a while and want to hear what you’re working on. Let me know if I can help.
No soap box. No preaching. Just maybe a little bit of social psychology and math. So many of us are horrible at asking for help. When you embrace this approach a few things happen. You begin to understand how people view your skillset not just as a worker within your STATED skillset, but as a connector to others, cheerleader, advisor for the folks who accept your offer of help. You don’t have to commit to another fulltime job or a 100hour project; it’s simply about earnestly extending yourself and creating a network around you of people pre-disposed to go out of their way for you as well.
Mark S. Granovetter wrote about the Power of Weak Ties 40 years ago and there has been much talk in recent years about how social media and the technology of web 2.0 has powered a whole new strain of wildly viral weak ties. It’s exciting but I would caution that in a world where EVERYONE is weakly connected to you it’s hard to remember who your real friends are. A nice way to remind yourself is to reach out to the folks in your life that you like or that you’ve met and think you’ll like and offer up a little bit of time. That easy. And here’s what happens. When you DO need to send that hey-I-need-a-favor-email, they will DROP what they are doing. Do that for 10 people over the next 10 weeks and encourage them to do the same and you’ll find that you don’t have 10 people that you’re slightly more strongly connected to but 100 people who legitimately are interested in helping out this network of helpers.
So stop networking and start helping. Let’s kick off Help-A-Friend (or follower)-Friday today. Email, tweet at, DM, fax, page, owl, or *gasp* call someone you’re not trying to have sex with and don’t need anything from and ask them 1. what they’re working on and 2. if there’s anything they need help with.