Sunday, May 15, 2011

Always be Networking

This posting is a slight departure from my usual fare...

For the second time during the past year I found myself having to look for work.   I was fortunate enough to receive two offers recently, and I ended up taking a position running a venture called outbid.com.  In a nutshell, Outbid is an online, virtual auction platform with built-in gaming mechanics.  Now, for those of you that know me well you're probably wondering how this is so different from what I did at Wigix.  Well, there are certainly some elements that are similar, but the main differentiators are the game mechanics themselves and the fact that we are simulating the live auction experience...what we are doing will truly be a game changer in this space.

But I'm not here to plug Outbid so much as I am to share a little story about how my gig came to be.  As it turns out, I was specifically recruited by somebody that I worked with many years ago and who happens to work for Outbid's parent company.  Though we haven't seen or spoken to each other in at least a dozen years, we happen to be connected via Facebook and LinkedIn...and through these connections we happened to stay on top of each other's whereabouts and had a good sense of each other's careers during that span of time.  So, when this opportunity came up he immediately thought of me because of my work at Wigix and other startups, and the fact that my IT background could also be leveraged.  Anyway, after a couple of phone calls I came into their office one afternoon to meet with both he and his boss (parent company CEO), and before I left the offer was presented...and here I am!

The moral of my story is this...For as long as you need to be part of the labor market you should always spend a portion of your free time building/maintaining your professional network.  I've been fortunate for most of my career to not have to leverage my network to any great degree, but with all that's happened with me during the past year or so it's really brought to light just how important this is and how it should be an ongoing activity, both during good times and bad.  And with social media being so easily accessible there really is no excuse for not doing so.  I occasionally come across someone that has not jumped onto the Facebook or LinkedIn bandwagon...these are people typically of my generation (i.e. old) and when asked why this is the case they usually cite issues around their privacy.  I say to these people:  "Get over it".  If you're not willing to accept and participate in this ongoing trend of increased transparency then you are going to be left behind and become dinosaurs, both literally and figuratively.
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