Re-imagining Networking in Post Covid World: Force yourself out of echo chambers

five person standing while talking each other
Photo by Antenna on Unsplash
Networking needs a rebrand. It’s incredibly important, but how we think about it is so outdated. I tried to reimagine networking in a post-COVID, digital age with 7 principles…
Principle 1: Depth of connection is most important I have 79k connections on Linkedin. I know roughly 1% of those connections. I get & give no value to a network this large. I would way rather 79 deep connections who I form meaningful bonds with.
Principle 2: Intrinsic value matters more long-term Play the long game. Resist the urge to connect bc of likes & social validation. Connect because it makes you a better person. Bc it makes you: Think deeper and in different ways. Feel deeper and gain a sense of self.
Btw, if you focus on connections that better you intrinsically, things like likes, money, and career trajectory will happen for you as a byproduct.
Principle 3: Proximity of connection is overrated Since March 2020, I have seen 5 people minus my family and my girlfriend. That said, I have formed more deep connections in the last 12 months than in the previous 5 years.
All of these relationships have been made online through platforms like Twitter. Our parents grew up in an era where you knew your neighbors. We grew up in an era where you meet people in person. We live in an era where shared values trump shared geography.
@SahilBloom @web @polina_marinova @karagoldin @gregisenberg @morganhousel These are just a few of the folks I neither live near nor have met in real life. But I would take these connections over geographically proximate connections any day of the week.
Principle 4: Identity is not that important We live in a world where pseudonymous interactions are becoming commonplace. Some of my best convos are on Twitter w/ ppl whose profile pic & handle disguise their born identity. No idea who they are.
They could be teens or adults. They could live in the US or elsewhere. If I find my interactions with them valuable, I’d take that over a connection with someone I know, but who gives me no value or energy every single day. @RampCapitalLLC is a perf example of this.
Principle 5: Expect psychological safety I want to surround myself with people that give me the space to learn & struggle with an idea without judgment. Tons of smart people to connect with. Way fewer smart people that give you a safe space to connect.
@awilkinson, @patrickxrivera, @helena and @garrytan are great examples of this. Absolute allstars in their domains of expertise, but always patient & welcoming to clarify questions that may seem elementary to them.
Principle 6: Force yourself out of echo chambers I’m in media. I’m in startups. I don’t want all of my connections to be in media and the startup world no matter amazing. I want diverse connections. Diverse thinking, diverse backgrounds, diverse viewpoints.
So important for so many reasons. 1) Whether it’s Morning Brew or my own content, my audience is diverse. To put out great product that respects the diversity of my audience, I want diverse connections that take me outside of my bubbles.
2) As I’ve gone deeper in media, I’ve realized my best ideas come from outside of media. My most creative thoughts have been inspired by retail, gaming, financial services, etc. I want to connect with people that obsess over things that are far different from me.
3) Connections aren’t just about bettering yourself professionally. They’re also about personal development. Some of my strongest connections are people that I talk to about everything except for work: relationships, anxiety, aspirations, etc.
Principle 7: Don’t hold onto connections too long In life, when you make a losing investment, you talk about sunk cost and cut your losses ASAP. We should view connections the same way. It’s okay for your connections to churn over time. And it makes sense.
People change, their interests change, and their needs change. It only makes sense that connections should change based on our own evolutions. Don’t hold onto connections for the sake of longevity. Hold onto connections if there’s value & impact not worth losing.