Entrepreneurs hear about this from other entrepreneurs. Source # 1 — rumor. They want to be part of the movement, part of the community.
Entrepreneurial communities, all of whom share a similar worldview, united by a common vision of development and movement into the future, meet on «new golf courses». That is, these are new places where powerful people meet and make deals.
«An educated person has three educations: his own, his father’s, and his grandfather’s.» Education is not equal to having a diploma, and the same applies to social connections. Therefore, in addition to natural ways of overgrowing with contacts, such as studying at a prestigious university or practicing prestigious sports (golf, tennis, polo, alpine skiing, etc.), there is a whole line of business — to form a business environment, to provide an opportunity to make the necessary acquaintances.
Connections are decisive, if not everything, then almost everything when it comes to business. Useful business contacts help you solve specific problems faster and more efficiently, get expert opinions on issues, useful recommendations. Networking is about building connections, acquaintances. The process itself is about finding, developing and maintaining relationships in which the mutual exchange of information contributes to the success of the people involved.
MaiTai and Kitesurfing
In the case of MaiTai, the community is made up of extreme athletes, innovators, entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley venture capitalists who work hard and achieve a lot. These are the proponents of the open source movement — like Linux or similar projects. MaiTai is made up of people who enjoy expanding their work and play opportunities every day of their lives.
Want to be successful in technology? Learn to kitesurf. MaiTai started out as a gathering of technical sport drivers. Basically this is Bill Tye’s network of influential people. In particular, there was a group that met at the home of now Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman in Maui to windsurf. But in 2000 in Mexico, Tai got to know kiteboarding, and since then he’s been on the hook — and everyone else got hooked too. After he met the professional kitesurfer Susie Mai, with the names Mai and Tai they had no choice but to organize something together. Of course, they are known as MaiTai.
Silicon Valley’s fascination with kite started sometime in 2003 with Sergey Brin and Larry Page. And this sport began to gain momentum. Since Bill Tai was one of the most visible people in the area, interesting aspiring entrepreneurs turned to him to learn more about the sport and to study. They all began to unite around him, the audience grew, and then, together with Suzie Mai, multiple winner of Red Bull’s King of the Air, they launched their project.
You don’t have to be Richard Branson to be invited. The criterion for being accepted into the community is not a bank account, it has more to do with what the person is: if you had dinner and, say, talked with this person for an hour, you would leave with the thought: “ Wow, did I learn something from a really cool man today? » If the answer is yes, then they will be invited. This is a closed to the general public space of communication, the focus of which has never been money. It was about creating a community of really interesting people who make life fun and exciting every day.
Bill Tai: “There are many parallels between kitesurfing and starting a new business. Both cases appeal to those who are not afraid to work in a very dynamic, rapidly changing environment. It is a necessity to study unwritten things. You cannot read a book and start a company. You cannot read a book and become a kitesurfer. You just have to try. » The person who survives is also resilient and recovers quickly from setbacks. Startups are organizations that are constantly changing and adapting to their environment and fail 99% of the time. You are recovering and making little progress. Then you combine these small successes into a big one. In a kitesferfig, you get fatally tired and fall, but you keep doing it, waiting for the moment when everything will work out, just for a few seconds. And then you feel on top of the world, says Tai.
People refer to the kite as the new golf, rather as a community element. The point is that deals are made during downtime. Kiteboarding is such an intense sport that you can’t be kiting all the time. Very few people can kite for longer than half an hour. You have plenty of time to hang out with other people when you are collecting gear, relaxing, or taking off your gear. And you have a common experience. People will sit on the beach and talk about what happened. Everyone can understand, because they were in each other’s place.
Kiteboarding is a sport in which, because it is difficult to practice, no matter who you are or how good an athlete you are, you will lose when you first start. You will fail a lot. Kiteboarding is a very humiliating experience. As a result, it becomes a very strong support group. Everyone is trying to help each other. Failure can be insidious. Although there are not many people killed while kiteboarding, there are still some. This creates an atmosphere in which everyone cares very deeply for each other. It’s like SWAT training — you take care of everyone in your tribe! It’s a deep connection — it allows people to interact on a level that they usually don’t get by simply leading someone in a meeting. Bill Tai: “I have funded many entrepreneurs who came through MaiTai. You really get to know people. There is a big difference in understanding who an entrepreneur is when they are going through something so difficult. How they learn. How they recover from failure. How they deal with stress. It’s a very different experience than just asking someone to present you with a PowerPoint presentation! »
There were several unicorns at MaiTai: the co-founders of mobile messaging service Tango.me, Australian design firm Canva, Scott Painter of TrueCar. Treasure Data has exited MaiTai. The Voxer messaging app presented their product at MaiTai.
There is a selection procedure for inviting people. There is a group of people that has been a kind of core for a long time. They really understand the community and its spirit. Everyone who is interested goes through a small selection with them. They will look at the biography and try to understand the person and what they are working on. Then, if they look interesting, they make a video call with one or more people. If people like them, they are subsequently invited to events.
Richard Branson, an Island and a Yacht in the Caribbean
Meeting with Richard Branson and other investors is possible at his invitation and only on a private island. For example, spend 8 days in October in the British Virgin Islands. Branson’s Startup House is holding a regatta, the organizers offer to create their own team, mingle with other investors, entrepreneurs and travel the Caribbean in a luxury yacht with a captain and crew.
The goal of the Business Chicks project is to make the impossible possible. “We want to open the doors and give you access to people and events that you may have only ever dreamed of,” the organizers explain. Each year, a limited number of Business Chicks Premium members travel to Sir Richard Branson’s paradise private island (again!), A place he calls home.
We often hear from innovators who have transformed entire industries that they are driven by ideas that will inspire you to look inside yourself. And Business Chicks do it in paradise: surrounded by turquoise waters, soft white sand, exotic wildlife and a group of like-minded people who know they can move mountains. This Leadership Gathering has been held since 2015, and according to the organizers, “every person who joined us has achieved something that they could never have imagined. They forged lifelong partnerships and friendships and received the mountains of advice that they now live by. »
Lions Clubs International and Philanthropy
The organization has over 1.35 million people and 46,000 clubs and is the largest community organization in the world. The headquarters are located in Oak Brook, USA.
Lions Clubs International is the only public organization in the world that took part in the creation of the United Nations and is its equal member. Lions Club International was founded in 1917, when in Chicago, Melvin Jones, the president of one of the insurance companies (it was he who invented the «white cane» for the blind, which is now used in all countries of the world), proposed that local business clubs expand their horizons from narrowly professional enterprises to improve life in their communities and the surrounding world in general. The ideas of respect for the individual, honesty in business, helping those in need, loyalty to friends have become the club’s hallmark and have turned out to be close and attractive to many people.
The objectives of Lions Clubs International are rather vague — to create and strengthen mutual understanding between peoples. Promote principles of fair leadership and citizenship. Unite clubs based on a sense of friendship, camaraderie and understanding, etc. Currently, the Association is a charitable organization, the slogan of which is «We serve» — («We serve»). The main task of Lions clubs is to serve people. Programs to help the deaf, blind, visually impaired people, lonely and indigent old people, children faced with poverty and loneliness, adopted at the beginning of the Lions movement, remain relevant to this day. There are hospitals, nursing homes in the world, over which Lions clubs have taken patronage or built on their own funds. Since 1982, Lions clubs began to carry out actions against drug addiction and alcoholism, for a physically and morally healthy lifestyle. Anyone who needs care and human attention will find help and support from Lions clubs. The club unites in its ranks not indifferent people, those who are ready to use their strengths themselves, to use their abilities in order to help people, to make their life and the lives of other people more interesting, brighter, more meaningful.
Rotary International is a non-governmental association that brings together Rotary Clubs around the world and positions itself as a non-religious and non-political charity. There are over 33,000 clubs worldwide with over 1.2 million members. The main motto of Rotary International is «Service above ourselves», an additional motto is the phrase «Those who serve best receive the most.»
Club members, the Rotarians, usually hold meetings once a week — at breakfast, lunch or dinner in restaurants, cafes or offices. The main purpose of these meetings is to unite professionals and businessmen to «carry out humanitarian projects, develop high ethical standards in the professional field and help establish peace and goodwill throughout the planet.» The Rotary rules determine a special procedure for admitting new members, and the club is governed by its own Constitution of the Republic of Ingushetia and the club’s Council, working on the principle of rotation, which means their annual change.
Prestigious Universities and Student Clubs as Social Networking for Elites
A neurosurgeon needs to graduate from a medical school. And physics come from the physics department. Meanwhile, in many jobs, specialized education could harm a career. Because classical general education is considered good, not special education. It is a hundred times more important which university is finished than which specialty is received. British Oxbridge, american Ivy League universities, french grand ecoles — good universities don’t have specialties like Human Resources or Media Studies or Investment Banking.
In most modern professions, it is important to simply have a suitable education. In terms of quality, not focus. Then you can always do a short qualifying course, usually one year. Among successful investment bankers, for example, there are few people with an «economic» education, which is not needed in finance. In a world where everything is constantly changing, one of the key skills is the ability to constantly learn and relearn.
80% of professionally very successful people in Britain and America graduated from the top 10 universities, mainly Classics, Math, Law. Studying at such a university (moreover, it is important to simply enter there, it is possible not to finish) contributes to the formation of social ties and the «right» environment, which helps in career and business. Is this why successful entrepreneurs go to MBA courses? Hardly just for study.
Children’s Clubs and Societies with a Strict Hierarchy
The role of a leader is to work with yourself and people. In working with oneself, this is about awareness, attention management, self-regulation; in working with people — about creating an environment and discovering opportunities. As a rule, we do not acquire these skills in business schools, the ability to succeed does not depend on knowledge of tools (they change every couple of months), but on personal skills. And they can begin to grow at a very young age.
The most valuable programs are those that allow you to get real experience through strong emotion, and then comprehend what you are doing. And it is natural to form strong ties in conditions of strict hierarchy, mutual assistance and joint activities. All this is, for example, in the scouts and the pioneers.
Previously, only boys (boy scouts) became scouts. The purpose of the organization is character development, training in manual labor, obedience and the ability to rely on one’s own strength, the development of altruism and patriotism. The unique scouting method is defined as progressive parenting through promise and law, learning by doing, small group membership, character building and the development of self-confidence. Each patrol has a leader, as well as its own special signal: lions roar, cats meow, snakes hiss … After passing all the tests, the newcomer became a second class scout and received a badge with the words be prepared. From the second class, the scout can go to the first and so on.
Now scouting is a huge movement, more than 16 million people in 150 countries around the world. What caused such popularity? The scouts’ commandments have absorbed all the wisdom accumulated by humanity: to be honest and truthful, cheerful and modest, to be a knight, a protector of the poor and weak, to fight evil in the world, to live for others, to be better tomorrow than yesterday. The Scout Commandments, invented almost a century ago by Baden-Powell, are the basis of the movement’s ideology.
Scouting is a game of life with objective and invented rules. The place of this game is all real life with its difficulties and problems, personal and corporate interests. Literally, scouts do everything that other people do, but this is filled with a special meaning, which allows us to call this «game by special rules» — scouting.
Accelerators: Connections, Understanding the Business Model, Technological Knowledge
Accelerator is a company whose business is to help other companies (residents of the accelerator). Accelerators offer residents a structured three to six month program that helps them hone their business model, acquire the right contacts, and increase sales. Usually there is a coworking space where resident companies can stay during acceleration.
Accelerators earn money by obtaining a share in a company and then selling this share, therefore they often work in conjunction with a venture fund (the fund gives investments, the accelerator provides an educational program, networking, infrastructure).
A pioneer among accelerators was the Y – Combinator, opened by Paul Graham and others in Boston in 2005. They offered three-month group business programs and a small seed investment. The first European accelerator — London-based Seedcamp — began operations in 2007.
There are several business accelerators in the world that are closely monitored by venture capital funds — Y Combinator, Techstars, Alchemist, Startupbootcamp, etc. Participation in them shows that a startup was able to pass a very difficult selection and may be one of the best in its niche. The other several thousand incubators / accelerators, which are relatively easy to get to, do not give a special bonus in the eyes of the investor.
Participation in the acceleration program can be extremely useful for aspiring entrepreneurs in terms of expanding their horizons and networking, building business processes and attracting customers.
One of the best networking platforms. Its very concept is created around the exchange of business contacts. Search filters allow you not only to find the audience segment you need, but to point-to-point to the right contacts. Looking to find IT professionals from a specific country or region? Please, here’s a list. Interested in participating in an industry event? Here are all the upcoming events and groups with participants. Do you want to find a specific expert from the field? Easy. Just indicate his position or specialization in the search filters.
Networking on the Internet means both communication with other people (through private messages, comments, discussions), and maintaining your page on social networks and, if necessary, the site. The way you maintain your page on Facebook or other popular resources should match the image you want to create.
How to Make Networking More Fruitful
Analyze your skills and potential and enroll in organizations, communities or groups that are related to the thing that interests you, or try something new. This will give you the opportunity to meet people with whom you have common interests. Take part in conferences and seminars.
Business contacts are strengthened in the long term. First, you “give” and benefit others, and only then you get what you want yourself. We remember those who help us. If you help others, they will see you as an effective specialist with a good base of contacts, skills and experience, and cooperation with you will be of great value.
In short, take the initiative. Networking is precisely a regular and painstaking activity that always pays dividends.