I promised a follow-up to my last post, how to get plugged-in to the local network after I spoke at NWEN's Entrepreneur University. It's also a great follow-up to the last post about working less. So if you are looking for work, there are some things here that are good to learn. Thanks for everyone who sent feedback on their thoughts about the Seattle Startup community and networking in general. Here is half of the talk we gave at the NWEN EU event...
It was a lot of fun and interesting to learn from the attendees and co-panelists (Nathan Kaiser, Danielle Morrill, and Dave Schappell) what problems they had with networking and how hidden the local community appears when you are an outsider looking in.
The five points that I found most applicable were:
- Do more favors for people in the community than you get from the community. The quality of favors you get in return will be worth it.
- Ask for advice, not for assistance.
- There are always going to be too many places to network and too many events to go to. Network where it is most convenient for you as you.
- It's ok to mix personal and business networking, it's more fun when you are doing business with people you enjoy.
- Use tools and system to manage who you are networking with, when you are networking, and why. Things like LinkedIn, facebook, twitter, salesforce are all great to help manage all of the connections and conversations. They are all useless if you are not using them to network with the people who will add value to what you are doing.
(6) - bring some breath mints or gum or something - bad breath sucks 🙂
A few of the follow-up conversations I had were also interesting...
I spoke with an attendee about the power of LinkedIN and how to go about using it to plan a conversation with someone either online or in-person. We used a scenario of a connecting with a Sr. Researcher at a company of interest. For my brief demonstration, I'll say that I have a startup where I am trying to build a new touch based device that includes components of augmented reality for a medical purpose. For this I would start with a good LinkedIN search such as:
From here, I would expect to get a few folks in the Microsoft Research team locally and perhaps get some success...
With 9 results, I may not have much luck, but there isn't too far to go to find out if I have a shot at finding the person that I'm looking for or not. To start, I'll drill into each of these, keeping in mind that 2nd leve connections are easier to get to than 3rd level connections. So I'll drill into Patrick Baudisch and see what I can find.
It doesn't appear Patrick keeps his LinkedIN profile up to date which may be the case for researcher types. Business types are usually different and have a lot of information about what they do on their profile. The important thing though, is that Patrick does point us to his personal website. So let's have a look...
ok, straight off of his website, this guy has done some projects with multi-touch at a nano level and blindsight (by the looks of the picture and name, I get the sense that he has figured out what is behind an object even though we can't see it (kind of augmented reality). Hmm, sounds like a guy that may be up my alley, definitely worth following up with. Flipping back over to his profile, it's time to see how easy I can make the introduction and if this guy would be interested in talking to me.
Looking back at the profile, I see that we are both connected to Scott Bright. I happen to be connected to Scott because of MindCamp (hence the need to attend a few good events, do some favors, so that you have the right connections to leverage when you need them).
In this case, I would ask Scott for some advice on how to meet people in the space that I'm looking for. If he doesn't offer Patrick as a connection, I would ask directly about an introduction in-person or online.