Self-professed uber-nerd Pete Johnson is Chief Architect of HP.com and runs a personal blog called Nerd Guru. I met Pete a couple of months ago when he was in Austin, introduced via Jason Alba, and gave him a copy of The Virtual Handshake. Pete read it on the airplane on his way home and has now posted a review of it on his blog, in which he talks about some of his realizations and subsequent actions after reading the book. He seemed to find a great deal of value in our “7 Keys to a Powerful Network” framework:
This is all covered in the first two chapters of the book, but I spend a lot of time on it here because it not only provides a framework for the other chapters, but when I applied this analysis on my own career it had a pretty profound effect on me. What I realized was that I had a bigger network than I thought I did, despite never actively “networking” per se. However, I had pretty pitiful diversity outside my employer of the last 14 years. These two chapters did what every good book should do: made me want to read the rest of it. [His emphasis, not mine.]
He then goes on to talk about LinkedIn in particular and how he has used it:
I had a LinkedIn profile for awhile, but I wasn’t really doing anything with it. Using advice from the book I found old college friends, people who had left HP and started their own thriving businesses, and even people inside HP I simply hadn’t thought about in a long, long time.
Pete has realized what so many tech geeks never realize — that they really do have a valuable network of contacts, even if they have never “networked”. Everybody networks — it’s just a matter of whether you realize it or not, and once you do, that’s the first step to doing so even more effectively.
So nerds of the world — good news! You don’t have to start “networking” as an activity, and while some people might say that “networking is a way of life”, I would say that it certainly can be, but it doesn’t have to be in order to be effective. Networking is simply an organized, systematic approach to dealing with your relationships. Once you make that paradigm shift, you can start to build and leverage those relationships even more effectively, even without becoming a “networker”.