Who Knows You? (The Power of “Connecting”)

19145686.jpgWhen you want to tap into the power of “connecting” with your friends or business colleagues, remember it’s not who you know … it’s WHO KNOWS YOU that counts most.

Consider the implications of “Metcalfe’s Law“. I won’t go into the formula (you can read about it at Wikipedia), but I will tell you it all started with telephone networks. Then it went into fax networks. Then to operating systems. And then the Internet.

Today, all the hype is about “social networking” sites, right?

Side Note: In 1843, a Scottish mechanic named Alexander Bain, invented the fax machine (25 years before Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone).  But because there was no “fax network,” it would take another 140 years (1980s) for the fax machine to have significant relevance as a communications or “connecting” tool.

AlexandBillClintonThe same is true for you whenever you meet people offline or visit websites online.

Robert Metcalfe said that “the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system.” Okay, so what does that mean?

He was relating to the Ethernet, which he invented.  In more of a layperson’s terms: The more links or “connections” a network has, the better and more powerful the network becomes.  

Makes sense, right?

When you put up a website or blog on the Internet, the more incoming links you have (WHO KNOWS YOU), the more Google loves you.  The more “connected” you are to other sites (WHO YOU KNOW) the more relevant you are on the Net.

But it’s not just links or “connections” that matter most.  What matters most is the type of links or “connections” you have.

Think about it:  If former President Clinton’s assistant at the Clinton Foundation knows me (which he does) and then calls me to discuss a fundraiser (which he did), that’s a good connection for me.  Right?

But if Bill Clinton calls me to discuss the same fundraiser, that’s a great connection!  Wouldn’t you agree?

Combining “Quantity” with “Quality”

Famous American computer scientist, David Reed said that Robert Metcalfe was only half right.

Reed’s Law suggests that Metcalfe’s Law understates the value of adding connections because not only are these connections powerful in and of themselves, but the sub-connections within each connection are just as powerful.

So what’s my point with this discussion on “connecting?”

My point is simply this: If you spend time trying to “connect” with other people, other website owners, bloggers or entrepreneurs, make sure they’re the type of “connections” that will serve you.  As you probably realize by now, not all connections are created equal.

As for me, I’ve often discovered that the quality of my life is the quality of my “connections.”  I spend over 80% of my time with less than five best-friends … and one of them is my wife, Aimee :-)

So on a professional level, the next time you’re at a seminar, a gathering or event, I encourage you to intentionally seek out only those who can provide mutual benefits.  Think “quantity” … but be clear-minded about “quality” too.

Your success as an Entrepreneurial CEO is significantly determined by the quantity of quality people who you know AND who know you.



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