VC, A people's business : The Importance of Network Building and not Networking

It's 5:16 AM here at LGA airport as I await my 7 o'clock flight to China. I have not slept in over 48 hours. Pulled an all nighter partying for my birthday in Boston last night, dragged myself to N.Y in the early morning for meetings, and now have been preparing last minute notations for my trip to TechCrunch Shanghai. As I drank my 8th cup of coffee, I check my email for the first time since pre-birthday partying. I saw more then 10 emails from friends all over the world. Crazy thing is, I didn't even know these people 3 months ago. Now, they've become valuable business partners, and more importantly friend.

VC is a huge business of who you know. Whether it is knowing all the great entrepreneurs to source deals or knowing wealthy individuals to raise your latest fund, building a real relationship makes everything easier.

If you want to know how I turned simple conference meetings into lasting friendship, here is how.

When I first started building my network, it was an unorganized effort. I attended events and conferences that looked cool, went to startup weekends and hackathons, and tried to get in touch with all the local investors. It was a slow process. People barely knew who I was, and didn't really have much incentive to pay any attention to me. After experimenting with different methods, the best method I came up with was what i called the connector method.

The connector method goes something like this. If I wanted to build a strong network, I need to be known as a connector. Whenever I met with someone for the first time, I would automatically think of people in my head who would benefit from meeting this person and vice-versa. By repeatedly making connections for people in and out of my network, people automatically start to trust me more. Give before you take is crucial to building a good relationship

Once I helped someone out by making great introductions, they started making introductions and referrals for me without me even asking! the high profile investors and industry professionals who ignored me before started to take time to meet and chat with me. Before I knew it, I was making 10-20 introductions per week and exponentially helping out people in my network.

I hate the word networking because it sounds so superficial. If you build a strong network around you of trusted friends and partners, you will start to notice that it's actually really fun and balling to know everyone and can help people out by making intros.

Sorry for the short post guys but my plane is about to depart. In fact, this whole trip to China is paid for because someone I once helped out referred me to one of his connections in China, and had my ticket paid for. Yip Yip Hurrary.

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Comments (18)

Nov 17, 2013 - 11:23am

Thanks! Same for real estate, it's a social business as well.

The Auto Show
Nov 17, 2013 - 10:37pm

Ya, but less for hedge fund, research... especially in China, vc, pe, real estate are all about who knows who.

The Auto Show
Best Response
Nov 17, 2013 - 12:50pm

" Whenever I met with someone for the first time, I would automatically think of people in my head who would benefit from meeting this person and vice-versa. By repeatedly making connections for people in and out of my network, people automatically start to trust me more."

Thanks for sharing this, although this method's effectiveness is very much contingent upon the size and scope of your existing network, and also a good understanding of what each individual in your network wants/needs so that you can actually make introductions/set up meetings that are worthwhile to them.

How do you stay in touch with your contacts? Do you use linkedin or the more old-fashioned way of regularly checking up on them via emails?

P.S What is your flight connection like from LGA to Shanghai? I hope it doesn't involve any layover on the West Coast. That would make for a miserably long trip. But since it is paid for that is nice I guess.

Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep.
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Nov 28, 2013 - 3:21am

@brandon st randy Sorry for the late response, just got back from China. I completely agree with your point. Making the right intros means knowing what different in your network need, which in turns lead to how do you keep tabs on them. I currently use the old method of using email. I also have friends who use a personal CRM system to keep track of things. With that said, I feel my network is like tiered. My 1st degree are people within the range of my immediate and current business, second degree, etc etc. I manage it like that.

Nov 17, 2013 - 11:49pm

Great advice. Thanks for sharing.

Happy Belated Birthday!

[quote=mbavsmfin]

I don't wear watches bro. Because it's always MBA BALLER time!

[/quote]
Nov 18, 2013 - 12:57am

Highlight of the article was someone paid for your trip to China, well done.

“It is our fate to be tormented with large and small dilemmas as we daily wind our way through the risky, fractious world that gave us birth” Edward O. Wilson.
Nov 18, 2013 - 10:57pm

Give before you take is crucial to building a good relationship

...best point made. What you give out always comes back.

Nov 22, 2013 - 6:20pm

Is this supposed to be a thinly veiled, " I have pulled two all nighters partying with the cast of The Social Network, therefore I am badass." brag?

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Jul 31, 2017 - 7:48am

Reminds me of one of those "I made a million dollars and so can you" YouTube ads with the douchbag standing in his garage of rented Ferraris

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Jul 31, 2017 - 7:47am

"Networking" is "network building."

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Jul 31, 2017 - 9:35am

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