LinkedIn Cofounder on: Get Your Job Done

I saw a very insightful post from Konstantin Guericke, CoFounder of LinkedIn on MyLinkedInPowerForum. He writes (reposted by permission):

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Message: 1
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 22:09:35 -0700
From: “Konstantin”
Subject: The power is in the network you already have

Virtually all professionals nod enthusiastically that “relationships matter,” but only a small group heeds the advice below. They start networking when they have a need. But that’s a really bad time to do it.

One of the core networking principles has been that you need to network proactively, meaning meeting lots of new people and build relationships, so you have people you can fall back on you need a job, an expert, an investor or a business partner. And you have to network with lots of people because you just don’t know what kind of relationship you may need.

And many networking sites try to encourage this old way by being a sort of virtual networking event where you can get to know lots of people.

LinkedIn turns this on its head by focusing on relationship management and giving members access to the people you need through the people you know.
The people in your personal networks are contacts on demand. As long as you have strong relationships with, say, 100 people, you have on-demand access to hundreds of thousands of people-far more than you could ever meet through networking.

So, what this means is that LinkedIn obviates the need to network in the traditional sense. Unless you are a young professional just getting started on your career, you already have a network just from working-this is a network based on co-workers, bosses, clients, business partners, investors, etc. And this network is strong because these people know the good work you have done and are capable of doing.

In the past, this network was often insufficient because it was just 30 or 100 or 300 people, depending on the type of profession and length of your career. The person you needed would often not be among this group. But through LinkedIn, you have access to an on-demand network, so once you have brought the group of people who know you and your work onto LinkedIn (and these days, many are already on, so it’s much easier than two years ago), you can just relax and know that you can reach the people you need when you need them-without having to get to know them all “just in case.”

This is a fairly radical notion that transcends most existing networking philosophy. And it allows you to focus on working, rather than networking.

Once the network of people who know your work is built, when you need someone, search and you will find. Ask for an introduction, and you will get in touch along as your connection provides a strong introduction and you have a win-win proposition.

As you help your connections reach the people they want to meet, you strengthen your bonds with both parties you are introducing. The best way to expand your list of connections is simply to continue to do work and do it well. Your connections list will grow, and each connection will be an avenue to thousands of new contacts that are accessible on-demand, when you need them.

-Konstantin

Konstantin Guericke
VP Marketing and Co-Founder, LinkedIn
Professional Profile

This is very consistent with some of the themes in our book. I think that spending endless hours chatting at cocktail parties or chatting in online communities is a waste of time from a professional point of view. It’s defensible as recreation but not for business development. Whatever your job is, do your job well, and success will flow from that. What counts is not the number of people who know you, but the number of people who know you, trust you, and will pay you to do what you do.