It's All About Who You Know

from the is-it-really? dept

In business, networking with other people is often the most important part of your job. That said, consider me incredibly skeptical of the new breed of “social software” marketplaces that are popping up all over the place. Rafe Needleman at Business 2.0 is raves about the concept in a column about LinkedIn, which is competing with a similar company called SpokeSoftware. There’s also a lot of hype following the slightly more informal and less business-focused versions, found in places like Friendster and Ryze. It certainly seems like there’s a trend to create these types of online “meet markets” for business or for pleasure. Why am I not impressed? First, I remember a similar company from a few years back called that had a ridiculous amount of hype before eventually folding. It turns out that many people have fun entering in the names of their friends at first – but very quickly lose interest. No one updates their lists, and no one does much beyond a little poking around. It’s fun to see who your friends know, but most people aren’t comfortable asking friends to be put in touch with their other friends. While it is a core part of networking, these systems often feel like spying on just who your friends’ friends are. I also spent some time a few years back with a team of folks trying to build a very similar company (with a much stronger business model, in my opinion). I learned an awful lot about the way business people interact – especially when they’re searching for the right person to make a deal with. The biggest thing is that the people you know in your network have tremendous value to you. Most people don’t like to give up their rolodex. They know it’s valuable, and they want to keep it in a position where they can leverage it – and not have to worry about random people (even if they know them) sniffing through it. They don’t mind making introductions when they think it makes sense, but they get annoyed when someone approaches them and asks them to make an introduction. Also, there is much more value to me, if someone I know introduces me to someone because they thought it would be good if I knew that person. Any time I got an introduction through a system like LinkedIn, that connection would immediately have lower priority, because I would think that the person trying to contact me specifically tried to track me down – rather than the person linking us realizing that we should talk. Finally, the money factor. While people have no problem playing around with this stuff when it’s free, I find it hard to believe most people would pay for such introductions. It’s way too easy to route around such a system and just call your friend instead.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “It's All About Who You Know”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:


Yep, I tried Ryze again. While I was excited the first week, I signed a few guestbooks … until no one responded at all to any of my posts or questions.

So I’ve joined 3 networks, and have tried posting intelligent questions for debate, and some well-thought out answers. But there’s only a handful of the 30-50 members of each who bother to respond.

Interestingly – I signed a guestbook last week, asking a question about this person’s business. They never responded. But then they answered one of my questions on a board. I wrote them directly about their post, and they wrote back…so I asked about why they never responded to my original guestbook entry. The answer, “well, I meant to, but got busy…”

I wonder if people here ignore you if you don’t seem immediately relevant to them? Which seems to be the anti-thesis to true networking to me – you never know who’s uncle is the CEO of a major corporation, etc., or who knows someone else that needs your service.

There may also be some clique-ism happening, where the people on one coast who meet alot tend to band together…

I guess I’ll stay a bit longer and try a bit more. So far I’m not impressed, either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yeah...

I’m on Ryze too. It is highly clique based it seems to me with certain groups meeting physically quite often. The most annoying things is random bozoz claiming you as a friend whne you have no idea who they are! It’s almost entirely uselessto me, though if I were a software consultant ion the West Coast of the USA it might be useful.

Call Aol (user link) says:

Contat Aol Support service for your technical issues

A very good and information provider blog is here. Today it is trending to contact a technical support service provider for getting rid of any kinds of technical troubleshooting. There are so many technical support service providers are available in the United States those can resolve any kind of technical like mail, antivirus, electronic gadgets related issues. A good technical support service provider is one who understand the complexity of matter and for whom customer satisfaction is on high priority. GTH and Cnorton are very dedicated service providers among all of them. They are known for their customer value. contact aol for better technical services.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...