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Posts Tagged ‘Neal Schaffer’

POLL RESULT: If LinkedIn closed down – would you REALLY miss it?

March 17, 2011 2 comments

The polls have closed – and the results are in…

4,657 LinkedIn members took the time to vote on the poll – and 239 added their comments. 55% of respondents “Would REALLY miss it”, 30% said “I would for a while, but I’d get over it” and 14% said “Not one bit.”

The poll was set up to get feedback on my original post – which reflected the “risk” statements in LinkedIn’s SEC filings on their way

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to an IPO (Initial Public Offering) later in the year.

I’m not great at analysing this sort of data – and would be interested to see if you can see any trends in the spit of demographics for each question.

It seems like the younger you are, the more you would miss it. The older your are – then the less you are bothered. Also, LinkedIn members who are Owners or CxO/VP level would be happier to make do without. Can you read anything more in to the graphs?

It was great to read so many comments – wish I had so many on my blog ;-( Some of the highlights that made me smile/think are below. Thanks for voting….

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“Old” Friends and Digital Dog Years

February 9, 2011 9 comments

As you might have seen in the comments on yesterday’s post – life can’t be lived in a vacuum. I’m enjoying having the opportunity during my period of “funemployment” to step back and review the “world” of Personal Networks – and my own personal network.

For my part, I’ve recently done an audit of my Personal Network. Analysing in particular who I knew – and the cross over into social media. During this process, I also mapped out my objectives – and several weaknesses.

1. I am moving my family across the UK to Bath – and I only know a handful of

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folk there. Action – use social media to check out the noise and ask friends if they know anyone who they could intro me to.
2. I’ve got a passion for understanding Personal Networks, I believe there is an opportunity somewhere within – but I’ve no academic background & no contacts on the periphery. Action – write the blog and try to engage with people in and around the sector.
3. I do want to create another business in the next couple of years – but don’t have mentors to help me with that (I’ve spent the last 5 years doing that for others – and forgot myself). Action – go and meet interesting, bright people from all different areas. Find that support network.

Interestingly, the first objective is the hardest. We’ve got out house in Bath (still living mostly in Leicestershire) – but my current close connections are the builders (and jolly nice chaps they are too!). My wife and I are getting out and about – even going to the local quiz nights when we are there on a Sunday evening. However, time is tight – and there is always something to do … and friendships will come slowly.

However, since starting blogging back in July last year – I feel I’m really making process on objectives 2 & 3. In fact, there’s at least one person met on-line who ticks the box for both areas – and feels like an “old friend”! Isn’t that strange? Maybe there are “social media” years like dog years? Digital Dog Years. So 9 months on-line = 3 normal years?

I’ll embarrass my new “old friend” by talking about him a little. Now that will be a test of friendship….

I met Joel D. Canfield when I was given an invited by Seth Godin to join a private network that Seth runs called Triiibes. It was kind of a personal invitation – me and a couple of thousand others. Joel was one of the first people to greet me as I “walked through the door” into this daunting on-line world. He was sincere – and we struck up a conversation. After a day, he took a risk – and sent out the note below to 20 or so of his closest connection on Triiibes:-

a new friend who feels very old guard Phil O’Brien is a new Triiibester; we’ve only just met. But his comments and his blog just might resonate with y’all. He writes about the value of personal networking. He seems like a kindred spirit 🙂

Joel is leading a very different life at the moment – roaming around North America with his wife and daughter. They’re home schooling – and running a virtual business at the same time. He’s living a nomadic life to the full.

We’ve done a Skype call – but essentially our “to and fro” is via email. I can trust him to throw out my thoughts on what I want to do – and he is helping and mentoring me. I’m the proud owner of his book “The Commonsense Entrepreneur” in audio and iPad format – and the writing/ethos shared strikes a cord. Copies of the book are flying out to real-world friends and contacts.

There are also people who I’ve “met” on-line who I hope will be friends. People like Beth Campbell Duke (who was the first person to comment on my blog) and Neal Schaffer (whose LinkedIn book I reviewed). We chat occasionally – meeting for that “digital coffee”.

I’ve also enjoyed making the connection with all the people that I’ve interviewed for the blog – and those that have kindly commented. It’s an environment I like – and I think the transparency of social media makes getting to know people (or at least the basic information) quicker and easier.

Another person I’ve struck up an on-line friendship with is Chris Redmond. He’s a busy international executive (today Moscow – tomorrow Africa!) – but finds time to run marathons, write a blog and twitter. I found a blog post last September that resonated, I commented – and we struck up a conversation. I joined his SuperRedNetwork on LinkedIn – as what he described as a “wildcard”. They’ve made me feel at home – and next week I will meet some of them (plus Chris) for the first time in person at a charity dinner in the UK. Now that will be strange. I wonder if meeting “off-line” will increase or reduce our relationship’s “Digital Dog Years”?

Gentle Networking

October 15, 2010 4 comments

As you will know from previous posts – I really like the work/blogs/books of Chris Brogan. He’s just launched a new blog called Escape Velocity – and one of the first blog posts he has created is about “Gentle Networking”.

I can’t think of a better term to describe “how to” develop a Personal Network. His post is full of popular themes:-

GIVING

“it’s not what people can do for you; it’s what you can do for others.”

“That’s the secret. If you can do a lot for a lot of people without needing

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the money, then the bigger ticket paybacks end up being amazing, and you end up having a strong and powerful network.”

“you MUST do these things without EXPECTING anything back. This is the super secret (and really really really hard to learn) part of this.”

This mantra is called “Pay it Forward” by Neal Schaffer, “Giver’s Gain” by Dr. Ivan Misner, “Don’t keep score” by Keith Ferrazzi and “Love Cats” by Tim Sanders.

FARMING – NOT HUNTING

“However, you can’t rush networking. You can’t rush friendship. You can’t rush the serendipity effect that happens from these experiences. Just like you can’t dig a hole, throw some seeds in, and wait a few minutes for the apple to fall into your hand, you have to grow your network slowly, and feed it value. You have to find opportunities to tend it, to give it light (by promoting others), and you have to give it plenty of water (or potential deal flow) to make it worthwhile.”

“We’ve connected each other with others in our networks. THIS is the longer value yield of gentle networking.”

Again, Dr. Ivan Misner’s puts this forward in his book “Networking Like a PRO” – and others follow the theme.

Chris is keen on “a face to face connection”. I’m also a fan of “real-life” relationships – and find that on-line networking is a poor substitute. However, I would take the view that with distant contacts (weak ties) on-line is an effective way to “ping” and keep in touch. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Pareto principle should be prescribed to networking time – 20% on-line (communicating efficiently with the many) and 80% real world (building deeper relationships with the few).

Chris’s “Gentle Networking” pulls together many of the key principles of Personal Networking so neatly. Do subscribe to Chris’s Escape Velocity blog and newsletter – it’s a good read (and hopefully a healthy supplement to this blog!).

LinkedIn Books – and “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”!

August 19, 2010 4 comments

It’s been quite a challenge writing a review for Neal Schaffer’s book “Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn”. If you read my earlier blog – you will know that I think Neal’s site is one of the best resources for people starting to use LinkedIn. I’d also been enthused by the preface and early chapters of the book. In my fledgling attempts at blogging, I’ve also been fortunate to exchange a few emails (and Neal’s been nice enough to take time to comment on my blog and give advice).

Anyway, the good news is that after reading the book I like Neal even more! He’s a real enthusiast for life and LinkedIn – and the book has consistent themes that I agree with such as “Pay it Forward”, “Trusted Networks of Advisors” and “Dig Your Well before You’re Thirsty”. Some books I end up skimming through – but this one I lingered

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on and enjoyed Neal’s personal presentation of each topic. It was fun learning about LinkedIn with him as the tutor. I certainly picked up ideas around Groups and Answers that I was not aware of – and got a real feel for LinkedIn’s corporate culture.

My one criticism (sorry Neal) – was the assumption that I was/wanted to be a “Windmill Networker”. I knew from Neal’s website that his company was Windmill Networking – but didn’t realise that he has such a strong desire for readers to be part of this “club”. Neal rightly impresses on the reader from the start of the book that you should consider carefully, clearly define (and stick to) your LinkedIn Objectives and Brand. I felt that the “Windmill Networker” emphasis detracted from my Objectives and Brand.

I feel bad about writing the above – as the few personal dealings, Neal’s blog and the enthusiasm that comes over in this self published book is infectious. So, I thought I would go out and buy another LinkedIn book/manual to compare. Enter “Sams Teach Yourself LinkedIn in 10 Minutes by Patrice-Anne Rutledge”….

This is a handy little book, clearly written and well illustrated. It’s a book you can easily flick through – and get a good set of instructions on anything you would practically want to do in LinkedIn. The author is obviously a skilled technical writer – as can be seen from her credits (e.g. The Truth about Profiting from Social Networking from Pearson/FT Press).

However, and I am VERY happy to say this, it wasn’t a patch on Neal’s book! The secret is that Neal writes as an enthusiast who discovered LinkedIn at a tricky time in his career (moving back to the US from Japan) – and learnt the system, worked the system … and selflessly shared/shares his knowledge with others. It is a “How to…” manual – but it’s also much more that that. It’s an impassioned, self-published work that helps “anyone” exploring the idea of developing their Personal Network through LinkedIn by showing IT CAN BE DONE – and helps them to do it! Go out and get yourself a copy….. (read more here)

Thank you, Neal – but do remember, some of us are of the Groucho Marx disposition … “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”!

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]

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