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Effective Networking-Key to Turning Big Ideas into Big Outcomes

By Andy Wilson — October 8, 2013
I had the privilege of delivering the closing keynote address at the INNOVATE PASADENA supported Girl Geek Dinner on September 26th. The event was hosted by KPCC's Crawford Family Forum and we had a fantastic evening! I thought it might be helpful to share some of the key points from my comments at the event. I spoke on Effective Networking-Key to Turning Big Ideas into Big Outcomes. I recently founded and co-chair a local community building effort for technologist and entrepreneurs called Innovate Pasadena. So you are probably asking why would a geeky engineer like me who was so skeptical of networking and schmoozing commit the best parts of his professional career to building networking software (Rexter) and starting a networking nonprofit. As you might imagine this progression was unanticipated but not accidental – it was the result of on-going observation and analysis (the engineer in me – again!) I would like to share a few perspectives on networking that I have accumulated through my journey these past 20 years: * Ideas are a nice starting point but ideas without a team, customers, and investors are just science experiments (sorry Caltech!) * If you want to turn your idea into something with broad-based impact then your need to propagate it through and with others * We need a network if we hope to make our ideas blossom * However networking is not a random act–it is done with intent and purpose (think of your network as valuable building blocks for success) * That is not to suggest it is some mercenary act but instead a proactive act of developing relevant relationships for mutual benefit * Of course the most obvious example is finding a job–if you expect to get a job by sending in a resume through a job board then good luck to you; an amazing 70% of all jobs come through networking! * We must architect our networks (I know it sounds geeky but it works!) * Figure out what your goals are and then understand what people and what communities are relevant–for those of you who are finance geeks you might think of having a balance portfolio of stocks and how they help your achieve your financial goals * I do not suggest going to random networking event–unless you are just bored! This all might sound obvious–I can tell you it wasn’t obvious to me! I was of the “build it and they shall come” philosophy. I am sure all of you are more astute than I was…Your network and your relationships can be a powerful force multiplier. Just like you want to have money in the bank, computing CPU and adequate disks space, I would suggest a vibrant robust network of is just as important. We all want and deserve an opportunity to succeed. Your network is a vital enabler so make developing key relationships a standing part of your personal agenda. It will make a difference! Photo provide by KPCC.
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