Networking in Silicon Valley is not a spectator sport, it’s essential to helping your startup prosper. Networking is good questions, listening, and helping others. Carry more than your own card and connect folks who will benefit from talking to each other.

The Best Advice On Networking I’ve Read

The best advice on networking I have read comes from Ford Harding’s book “Rain Making” in particular pages 44-59 have some very good “Rules of Thumb” for networking:

  • Networking is helping people
  • You must learn to recognize a lead for someone else when you hear it
  • Networking is a sincere effort rather than keeping score
  • Networking is a sense of urgency and obligation
  • Networking is showing gratitude
  • Networking is maintaining trust
  • Networking requires you to spend some of your time selling other firm’s products and services.
  • You must selective in who you partner with as these are a serious investment of time.
  • Motivation is critical ingredient in effective networking.

For a profile of a very effective networker see “Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Networking in Silicon Valley

One of the secrets to navigating Silicon Valley, is that it’s actually a very small place with many connections, some take a while to discover are nonetheless quite potent. That being said the single most important thing to avoid is wasting people’s time. Time is more scarce than capital, technology, or knowledge.

Update February 19, 2009: Ford Harding E-mailed me a reminder to link to his second addition of Rainmaking, called “Rainmaking Attracting New Clients No Matter What Your Field” which has 40% new material in preference to his older addition of “Rainmaking.” The pages referenced in this blog post are from his first edition.

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