The Nuisance of Networking

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An economic journalist recently explained how an interview with a venture capitalist went sour. At the end of the interview, the journalist asked the audience to ask some few questions. However, the journalist and the venture capitalist warned that people should not pitch. What should have been the first question was a plea to fund an idea. The journalist could only listen helplessly as the second and the third people who were supposed to ask questions went ahead and pitched. The journalist could only later explain that this event felt like a Shark Tank bad episode. In another event, the journalist reported how he witnessed a student hustling the private email of a CEO in public. People will go to great lengths just to connect with an influential person in the industry. On normal days, we see people chasing executives as they leave a conference while others will slip business cards into their pockets. We’ve even seen people sneaking onto the backstage just to take a selfie with these executives. If you are one person who feels awful about networking, there are other people who cannot stomach it. Networking is an art that makes people look dirty and cheap. A recent study found out that people rate toothpaste and soap better that figuring themselves struggling to make a name for themselves with these executives.

But how can someone discourage against networking while we are told it’s all about the people you know and not what you know? The power of networking should not be underestimated. However, there is another way of networking by accomplishing great things on your own. A good example of how accomplishing great things can offer you the opportunity to network is the case of George Lucas. Little known Lucas achieved great things such as winning the national festival prize when he was a student. He even won a scholarship from Warner Bros. This offered him the opportunity to interact with great people in the industry such as Francis Ford Coppola. For clarity sake, George Lucas didn’t force a relationship with Francis Ford Coppola. Justin Bieber is another example. His career took off when he was signed by Usher. However, one thing that people don’t understand is that Justin Bieber didn’t network into that meeting. He had caught the attention of Usher though his skills. As a kid, he practiced playing instruments and uploading these videos on the internet. He rose to fame when one of Usher’s manager watched his videos.

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