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Posts Tagged ‘connectors’

InMaps inventor DJ Patil talks through his LinkedIn map

January 26, 2011 6 comments

InMaps is such an exciting new feature of LinkedIn – it’s occupied my thinking on Personal Networks for the last couple of days since writing my original post on the subject. DJ Patil is the Chief Scientist at LinkedIn – and seems to have been in charge of driving this project. Watch this video to see him explaining his network (and those of a couple of others) – with the advantage of a very large piece of paper!

It’s fascinating to see that this rich map has been algorithmically defined on connections – and does not use the

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metadata (often inconsistent) input by LinkedIn users.

Over at Flowdata (the very best place to find updates on visualisation) – DJ took time to comment on the blog post by Nathan Yau (Flowdata’s founder). He said:

One thing that we should note about the calculation is that this only uses the “graph” of connections. We don’t use any other information. I think that is one of the very powerful aspects of this visualization. For example, in my case, it identifies my wife’s networks, students, people I went to grad school with, etc. Additionally there are a couple of reasons why this was a challenge. A) Getting everything to work in the browser in a smooth way from small networks (come on Nathan you need to add some connections :-)) to larger networks. B) The ability to “process” as many user’s networks as they use the site. There are over 85M users and that requires some serious processing power. We’ll do a more extensive write up when we can and I can say I was surprised by how much compute power we had to apply to make this real.

DJ’s key points are that the “groups” of different colours are formed by connections. He also discussed the challenges of implementing this sort of visualisation to the huge LinkedIn following. Would be interested to see how the servers have performed the last couple of days.

Well done DJ – this is certainly a real help to my research on Personal Networks.

Copper Wires, Social Capital and Murdering Relationships

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I continue to be impressed by the quality of people who can be found on-line. My most recent discovery has been Martin Gargiulo – who is a professor at INSEAD.

My first introduction to his work was a 16 minute video (posted below). His key point (which I agree with) is that there’s much more to networks than meets the eye. While some networks are an asset that helps you get things done, other networks can also be a liability.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Throughout the video interview, he compares the reciprocal relationship between people in the network to electrical copper wires. Firstly, he says that the thicker

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the copper wire – the more energy in the relationship. He goes on to use the same analogy to say that these cables do not rot – and can be easily reactivated. It’s a good way to consider those weak ties (and often close relationships) where our communication is infrequent.

I was greatly amused by how he describes that relationships have to be pro-actively broken. He says that “you must murder” a relationship to really break it! The relationship – not the person…

The video supports an on-line survey that Martin has created to measure the Social Capital of your Personal Network. There is a charge (€20) – but I would definitely recommend. I completed it (did not take long) and the 9 page report gives an excellent overview (with supporting narrative) of your Personal Network. It also compares your score against a reference group. Click here to read more – and hopefully give it a try.

Would love to compare results – and discuss further.

Strength in Weak Twits (ties)

December 3, 2010 9 comments

I’ve always been interested in Mark Granovetter’s theory around the “Strength in Weak Ties.” In the 1970s he asked a group of people about how they had got their job. Of those who found jobs through personal contacts 55.6% reported seeing their contact occasionally (more than once a year, but less than twice a week) and 27.8% rarely (once a year or less). When asked whether a friend had told them about their current job, the most frequent answer was “not a friend, an acquaintance.”

I’m very much a weak tie man. I love serendipity – and I enjoy matching people up who have similar interests/objectives from all over the place. This week has been a joy for me – with my new found love of Twitter. It’s not the chatting that I like – it’s the opening up of a new world of people with similar

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interests/objectives to me. I’m enjoying creating the seeds of relationships at the very outer circles of my Personal Network.

Here are some examples of people who have appeared in the last 7 days who seem to share my passion for Personal Networks….



Jason Armishaw
@jasonarmishaw from New Zealand. His business is the PeoplePeople. He also has a new business launching in 2011 – like me! I “discovered” Jason when he wrote a great blog piece “Is Off-line Networking Dead?”


Heather Townsend @joinedupnetwork from Milton Keynes, UK. She is the Author of the forthcoming book The FT Guide to Biz Networking. Her business is called JoinedUpNetworking. I came across Heather when she wrote a blog post called “When does a contact become a genuine connection?”

Jordi Robert-Ribes @jordi_pro is based in Andorra. His speciality seems to be Networking into New Worldsand is also an Investments Director. Again through Twitter, I found a very seasonal blog post “Christmas cards don’t nurture your network”

Jason Jacobsohn @JasonJacobsohn is over in Chicago. He’s definitely part of Malcolm Gladwell’s band of Connectors – and speak on networking. His company is called Networking Insight. The post that I found via Twitter was “9 Reasons why your Network is your Greatest Asset”. If you get the chance – head over there and add to the list!

There were a bunch of other people too – but these 4 stand out as understanding the Value of Personal Networks. Overall, a great first week on Twitter – and I’m very happy that my Personal Network is being enriched by these distant links.

Mia, the rainshower, the Yellow Suit, Cuban Dance and Profit Power Economics

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, earlier in my blog, I did mention that I had a tenuous link to a person in my PNN (“Personal Network” Network). Mia de Kuijper is a world leading economist/strategist – with strong view on “power nodes”.

I have actually met Mia once – and reading her book “Profit Power” my thinking change from looking at solutions in the area of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to understanding the power of individual components/nodes (in my case people) in the new economy.

Anyway, my meeting with Mia was caused by an early arrival at

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a Theatre (near the London School of Economics) to watch Cuban Dance! There was a rain storm – and a bookshop was open at the back of LSE. My wife and I dashed for cover and were confronted by a staff getting ready to lock up – and a lady in a stunning yellow suit finishing signing books. Who could resist a book on economics! She kindly signed the book – and as well as brilliant night at the theatre … I got a great insight in to the power of positioning yourself correctly in the new economy.

In particular she introduced me to the work of Albert-László Barabási. She describes in her book his work on Internet search engines and Hollywood figures that produced “Powerlaw Networks”. Although the book focusses on the strategic positioning of businesses in the global market place – the principles are equally applicable to an individual finding their place in the world through finding the right place in their network (much like Barabási’s Hollywood figures did naturally!).

Mia’s book was certainly the first step in me stopping thinking of contacts as Rolodex cards or Outlook VCF files – and much more as nodes in our networks, stars in our solar system!

Thank you Mia.

Triple Paths – blogging, Personal Networks and “Finding an Angle”

August 11, 2010 2 comments

Well, it’s been over a week since the last post.  It’s not that I’ve been twiddling my thumbs – it’s just the triple paths of blogging, investigating personal networks and trying to work out the commercial opportunity all compete for and absorb my time!

BLOGGING – as you will know, I have set out to investigate Personal Networks – and specifically being able to visualise them.  Well, I thought that I should start to make a commitment to visualise my findings on the subject and have been in conversation with the best in the business – Lee LeFever at Common Craft. I’ve also been checking out a recommended course on quick-fire video blogging from Gideon Shalwick at Rapid Video Blogging. Interestingly Lee is probably out of my price range – and Gideon has given me enough tips for free that I don’t need to take the course! The research continues (along with should I move from WordPress.com to Worpress.org!).

PERSONAL NETWORKS – I have finally finished Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Who’s Got Your Back”. It’s only been a slow read because of

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so many things to do – and wanting to take in so many other books. It’s a great personal development book – and it’s the best I have read that illustrates that your Personal Network has a “core”. Keith believes that even with a wide network, you need a very close group of people that look out for you in times of pressure/trouble. Keith uses his book title “Who’s Got Your Back” to pull this “core” role together – but also runs useful analogies of the 12 Apostles (even taking the analogy further when a rogue apostle leaves!). I am impressed by the way Keith opens his heart in parts of the book. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about his first book “Never Eat Alone”, Keith is a confident guy – but in this book he really lays himself bare to help people understand his networking principles (Four Mind-sets of Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor and Accountability). The books threatens to peter out (with long explanations of his business’s work with clients) – but I loved the final chapter where he appeals to us all to “escape silo nation”. I hate the modern way of working in “silos” – so what a great “rally call” for me!

“Finding an Angle” – I am just starting reading a new book – it’s self-published by Neal Schaffer of Windmill Network and called “Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn”. I’ve become a fan of Neal’s blog – and he’s doing a great job on the gradual conversion of a LinkedIn cynic. Just finished Preface and first chapter – and already inspired by his growth of contacts from zero to 18,000 plus. Will be interested to see whether he commercialises his niche. Meanwhile, I am contemplating how Gideon gives away all his video teasers (which are very educational) – and leads you in to a course for $997, when Keith’s book leads to his Relationship Masters Academy for $2,000. We’re all looking for an angle- maybe I should consider training!!!??? … or a book….

Finally, I must say that I have enjoyed my “test study” with LinkedIn (reported a couple of blogs ago). I’m now up to 131 connections – and have pencilled in my notebook to get together to breakfast/lunch with at least 30 of them before the end of the year. There have been some diverse connections already (old contact who watched a friend perform at Edinburgh Festival, old photographer friend who can help with Artist in Residence project I am helping to initiate at Belvoir, etc).

If you are blogger/personal networker thrashing around the blogosphere trying to make sense of it all – do drop me a note or comment. Email is philobr@gmail.com if you want to mail direct.

Sent from my iPhone, so please forgive typos ..

August 2, 2010 3 comments

Well, I thought that I’d give LinkedIn a bit of a run out – seeing as the last blog post had been having some fun at its expense.

Remember – I’m not a big “networker” (especially on-line). At the start of this blog I had just over 60 connections – and had not pro-actively sought out connections. Also, for the last 4 years I have been “funemployed” after selling my business – so, I thought that I might be a good “test case” to give LinkedIn a real test drive.

I dug out my old contacts (about 1,400 from when I was working full-time) – mixed with a few people that I’ve got to know through projects in the last few years …. and tested how creating connections worked “en-masse” with LinkedIn. Basically, I trawled

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through the names – and chose 50 who I had enjoyed meeting/working with at various times. I mailed them each with a personal message, a request to connect – and a final paragraph that said “I’m just starting a project around “Personal Networks” – and your name came up on LinkedIn. Do you use it much?”.

I mailed the 50 over the last 24 hours – and the feedback so far is…..

* 5 Out of Office replies (not a great time of year to send these out – as people are on summer holidays/vacations)
* 31 Replied (29 Connections & 2 replied saying they did not really use it).

Some stats on the 50….

* Only 27% of them had pictures on their profile
* The average number of connections my contacts had was 96 (only one had 500+)
* 12 of them had less than 10 connections

The really nice news was, it was great to make contact again. Some really nice people who I had lost contact with – thank you LinkedIn. Other specific bonuses were that:-

* At least two lunches are to be fixed up in London in September
* I opened up discussions about a photo archive project that I’ve been following for a while
* A connection asked if I could help out with contacts in the Equestrian world – and I was able to make a couple of intros (bizarrely – didn’t realise my network stretched so far!)
* I was able to make recommendations to a couple of contacts who had recently been made redundant on how to get best use out of LinkedIn (pointed them towards Neal Schaffer’s excellent blog)
* I found someone who in the last year had got two projects through his LinkedIn network (it does work!)

…. and finally, the most exciting discovery of all….. the title of this blog post. “Sent from my iPhone, so please forgive typos ..”! What a great idea – at the bottom of the reply from my former colleague Graham Lovelace (http://www.lovelace.co.uk/contact.php). If you saw it here first – please give credit to Graham! I’ve always switched this signature off on Blackberrys and iPhones – but I will be using this from now on.

Thanks again LinkedIn – been a very pleasant 24 hours … and I’m now over the magic 100 connections!!

P.S. A little “don’t try this at home” warning. As I did all this research, mailings, analysis of connections, etc – I suddenly got a problem that every click was followed by a request to upgrade to LinkedIn’s Premium Account. See this story about LinkedIn accounts being suspended for overuse – I’ll lay off being so connected for the next few days.

[Update on 19th August – 45 have now replied from the 50]

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell – Review

July 22, 2010 2 comments

Now this book is a little older than my previous review (first published in 2000).  It’s a great read – not just for the insight to certain elements of Personal Networks.  If anyone wants to get a better understanding of psychology, how to be a better parent … or maybe even make significant changes in a country with limited resources (sounds like a relevant challenge) – this is the book to read.

Malcolm is a great writer/journalists – and mixes some solid research with anecdotes and interview.  It makes for a very enjoyable read.  The only section that seemed a little dated was on Sesame

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Street and Blues Clues (which revolutionised children’s TV in the 1970/80/90s) – but the rest was as relevant today as when written.

One of the best parts of the book was the short conclusion.  Often books finish off with an enthusiastic/rushed repetition of the main themes – but Malcolm leaves you with key thoughts/actions.

The two areas that significantly touched on Personal Networking were:-

*  Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen.  I’ve mentioned the Connectors in a previous blog post.   The author explained these three types of characters well – and their role in the Tipping Point.  One thing he did not identify is how high a percentage of us have these characteristics.  I’ll have to research further on-line – or maybe ask him on his blog – http://www.gladwell.com/

*  Dunbar’s Number. He explains the principle of humans naturally having a most efficient group size of 150 people. Robin Dunbar (from Oxford University) has done research in to ancient civilisations – and modern business groups … and 150 keeps on recurring. There’s a great story about the Gore organisation (known for Gore-Tex) who only create buildings with 150 car park spaces, and when people start parking on the grass … they create a new building/division. Malcolm covers Dunbar’s ideas really well – and has set me on course to research this more thoroughly by reading Robin’s latest book – How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks.

Recommended reading – the research is great fun (my wife got bored with me telling her the amazing facts!!). I’m currently on a beach holiday – so will do the MindMap of the book when I get back to base. Anyone else read this book?

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