Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Networking for Business - Part 1

Whether it’s human or computer based, networking is synergistic. The whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts. When either systems are interconnected with other systems, there is greater power than when they are not.

In computer networks, the power of “the network” lies in the applications reachable through the network. In human networks, the power is in the reach of the network. In both cases, that power is exponential.

However, there is a difference. In computer networks, the extent that a node adds power is in the permissions to run the applications contained within the added node. In human networks, the power is in the strength of the connection. If you and I are connected, the power of that connection lies within the strength of our connection. The better we know each other, and our respective expertise, the more powerful the connection. The more powerful the connection, the more power an introduction from one to the other is.

In business, the better I know of your talents & capabilities, the more powerful my recommendation to others can be.

The most powerful network to date is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to leverage the power of the network you have like no other. LinkedIn is still unique in the world of “social networks” in that it is a Business Referral network.

As with many things, when you start from the beginning and work your way back to the endpoint, it takes more time & effort than if you start at the endpoint & work your way back to the beginning. So it is with LinkedIn vs. the other networks available. Before LinkedIn, you had to query your entire network, and they theirs, to find a connection path. With LinkedIn, you search for your target & the LinkedIn system informs you of your available options in terms of paths to your destination. Much more powerful than the trial by error approach of trying to find the path going forward. In addition, if there are multiple paths, you can choose the strongest path (in terms of your 1st level connections) to the endpoint.


Dan said...

I agree with everything that Paul has said regarding human networks.
However, it should be noted in paragraph 5, that LinkedIn is the most powerful online network and LinkedIn only allows you to leverage the power of the online LinkedIn network.

Paul said...

Hi Dan,

True, LinkedIn can only allow you to leverage the power of yout network on LinkedIn. So, get your network where it will do you the most good!

Remember, the real power of LinkedIn is letting you work backwards from the person you want to contact through the chain of contacts that connect you. This is a tremendous time saver!

However, I will caution that the 'link collectors' have already weakened the value of the network. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure your connections are strong. The only way to do that is to communicate with them constantly.