Obtaining a Network

Lean Creativity Edition

Charlie Greenman
October 03, 2020
8 min read

Obtaining a Network

Once again, Lean Creativity is a very opinionated framework. Likewise we have an opinion towards the best way to create a network, and it entails the following: three pillars

  1. Dunbars Number
  2. Balanced Network
  3. Focus on Your Specialty

Dunbars Number

Dunbar's Number created by Robin Dunbar:

Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person.

From this principle, we maintain to keep a very close-knit circle of 150 people.


Focused Networking

This is a principle, within the context of yourself, and who you can manage. Keep the network focused. From this principle extends the following:

Conferences

Conferences that are extremely focused, can be worth your time. In particular, if you know someone you want to meet will be there, and they wouldn't give you the time of day otherwise. However, for the most part, if you know who you want to reach out to, find them over social media(primarily LinkedIn), grab coffee, lunch, or dinner, and gain what you want that way.

Social Events

Likewise, social events, unless simply trying to have a good time, or explore a new avenue that you are not looking for, can be a waste of your time. Especially within the framework of Lean Creativity, wherein time is incredibly precious, try and stray away from social events. Feel free to go to one to just get an idea for the advice this framework is handing over, but then try and implement the strategy for digital marketing that we advise on.

Corporate Sponsored Events

In my experience, if you want to get an interview at a company, there is no better way to do this than go to corporate-sponsored events. Employees tend to go because it's a great way for them to earn their employer's trust, and make an impact beyond their immediate duties. For you, simply go up to one of the employees, discuss your interest in working for the company, and if your resume is good enough, you will most likely get an interview.

Other

There are other types of networking events:

  1. Industry-specific seminars
  2. Virtual Groups(webinars, zoom meetups)
  3. Career Fairs
  4. Trade Shows
  5. Breakfasts/Luncheon Meetings
  6. Community Service Groups
  7. Speed Networking
  8. Roundtable Discussions

Just to make a point, however, digital networking will ultimately be more effective. in many scenarios.

Digital Marketing

I am __ that wants to get involved with ___. My favorite go-to tool for making an introduction is LinkedIn. We live in a day of age where anyone is accessible. However, the difficult part is how do you make the introduction. Without going into detail now, we will go into more detail at a later time, try and hone in on the person you want to introduce yourself to. I will never forget about a particular candidate I once realized was once in a unique position to help our company. I dropped everything I was doing, and put all my eggs in one basket. I focused on him and 5 other likewise candidates. it worked, and 2 new candidates joined the company over the course of 6 months.


Example Dunbar Network

The following is an example of my Dunbar network. These are the people I have chosen to give the highest priority in my life and get to know in life. Of these people, I have maybe accomplished 10% of these people, and I admit I am desperately trying to increase my network. Feel free to create your own. Create a folder in your Google Drive called "Dunbar Network". Inside of that folder, create a Google Sheet file called "Dunbar Network". Copy and paste the below table into your Google Sheet. Feel free to modify.

Social Group NameNumberNotes
Family Members30Depends on your circumstance
Close Friend1
Crew5
Spiritual Guide(Rabbi for me)1Depends on Creed
Judaic Judge(Posek)Obviously depends on circumstance
Lawyers3
Accountants3
Bookkeeper2
Product Manager3
Software Architect(Front End)1
Software Architect(Back End)1
Software Engineer(Front End)1
Software Engineer(Back End)1
Full Stack Engineer1
Cloud Architect1
Devops Engineer1
Mentee2
Mentor1
Market Research3
Marketing Strategy2
UX Designer2
Graphic Illustrator1
Font Designer1
Cleaners3
Restaunters3
Cooks3
Entrepreneurs3
Government3
Law Enforcement3
Private Investigator3
Interior Designer1
Plumber2
Information Security Analyst3
Management Consultant3
Financial Manager1
Financial Planner2
Health Services Manager3
Doctor2
Nurse1
Civil Engineer2
Operations Research Analyst2
Administrative Services Manager2
Cost Estimator1
Instructional Coordinator1
Database Administrator2
Realtor2
Personal Trainer2
Fire Man/Woman2
Civil Worker1
Handy man/woman2
Babysitter2
Clinical Psychologist2
Organizational Psychologist1
Career Coach1
Life Coach1
Philosophy Academic1
Mathematics Academic1
Physics Academic1
Business Consultant2
Politician2
Foreign Contact3People who live in other countries
Private Gym Owner1
Community Manager1
Party Planner1
Teacher2
General Doctor1
Specialized Doctor2
Total =150

How to keep tab on network

First and foremost, I would like to remove the stigma of keeping a tab on your network. By no means am I advocating stalking people. Being aware of the larger things in life, such as life-changing events, location they live in and their current professional status is what I am talking about. I am currently working through a solution using Airtable that would keep tabs on their LinkedIn profile, and occasionally Facebook.

In addition, I am working on a solution that has a list of pros and cons, and reasons why this person is worth my time. Ideally, something that would fit into an excel sheet, but would display a UI. So, while I have advice specifying that keeping tabs on a network is valuable, I have no tangible way of automating that process. I will circle back to this one, as I feel this is a V2 after the groundwork for the general Lean Creativity framework is complete.


Iterating On Network

Obviously, as time goes on, the needs you have in life will change. That is only natural and swapping out people will happen at a pace more frequently than you are comfortable with. At times, it will be difficult to keep up with, and you might find gaps in your network. However, it is important to note nonetheless, that this will happen within the framework. Go to your Airtable and update the specific slot within your network. Having an archive of old connections I've found is overkill. Simply delete, and find a new individual.


Making Sure It Comes From The Right Place

I'm reminded of a story I recently saw, about a bank that wanted to create a purpose-driven business, because they knew the members involved would be more driven to complete the work. It fell flat because this bank missed the point of purpose-driven business. There is no faking it when it comes to purpose. It either exists, or it doesn't. If you try going through the motions with something, but you don't believe in the working relationship, it won't work. Every person here in this network and I'm speaking to myself, will need to find a real and true way to be invested in your network's life. It is the natural approach towards creating a long-term meaningful relationship. Obviously business takes priority, but a sprinkle of humanity during that time period can only help.


Main take away point

If there's one particular point i wanted to make with this chapter, it's less so Dunbar's number, and more so focus. A lot of individuals I know, waste time on networking that honestly isn't helping them. Try and guard your time, by reminding yourself on the section fo "Focused Networking". The best of luck with your networking endeavors.

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