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The real way to build a social network

The real way to build a social network
If there is a guru of networking, it is Reid Hoffman. Here he explains how to do it right -- and wrong -- in an excerpt from his new book with Ben Casnocha, The Start-Up of You. Reid Hoffman travels with several devices so that he can constantly stay in touch. FORTUNE -- Forget Dale Carnegie. Many people are turned off by the topic of networking. Luckily, building your network doesn't have to be like that. Building a genuine relationship with another person depends on at least two abilities. The second ability is being able to think about how you can collaborate with and help the other person rather than thinking about what you can get. Follow that model. Strengthen your alliances The best way to engage with new people is not by cold calling or by "networking" with strangers at cocktail parties, but by working with the people you already know. I [Reid] first met Mark Pincus while at PayPal in 2002. We invested in Friendster together in 2002. The diversity of weak ties Giving helpful help

Founder's Dilemmas: Equity Splits The following is an excerpt from HBS Professor Noam Wasserman’s new book, The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Noam is one of a rare breed of business academics: he studies entrepreneurship using a rigorous empirical approach. The book taps Noam’s analyses of data on 10,000 founders, plus the personal stories of Evan Williams of Twitter, Tim Westergren of Pandora, and two dozen other founders. As an example of the kind of insight that this data makes possible, take a look at this diagram, which is one of my favorites in the whole book: Noam calls this the Rich vs King tradeoff, and it's a remarkable finding. I was lucky enough to get to read a version of the book when it was still in draft form. "If you're starting a new company, you probably already know that a crazy variety of landmines await you. The following is an exclusive excerpt which sets up a common pitfall regarding equity splits. But such a best-case approach is hazardous.

Study Says Pinterest More Trusted By Women Than Facebook, Twitter Earlier this week I moderated a panel at the SXSW conference entitled: “Social Commerce: Not Yet Taking Off Like Farmville.” The session explored the nature of “social commerce” and why companies were having trouble selling on Facebook, among other things. One of the basic ideas expressed was that people aren’t looking to “shop” on Facebook; they’re sharing with friends, having fun and so on. Those sentiments appear to be widespread and confirmed by a new survey from BlogHer, the women-centric blog network. The survey findings must be viewed with some caution because, in part, they’re being used as an argument to advertisers for why blogs are a more effective way to reach consumers than social destinations. Social media upstart Pinterest is more “trusted” as an information source than Facebook and Twitter by general internet users. One question asks, “Have you ever made a purchase based on a recommendation from . . .”

Crowdsourcing Demand One of my favorite features in a web application is Demand It! from Eventful. The concept is simple but powerful (the best kind). Users demand events, movies, concerts, etc and if they can rally enough demands, they get the events to come to their location. Eventful founder Brian Dear told me: I remember US bands shocked to discover they had throngs of fans in distant places like Finland and Uruguay and Japan, and so they'd go tour there because it turned out their Demand it! There are signs that this type of fan behavior is spreading to the large scale social networks and I think that's a good thing. I asked Tyrone about the broader significance of this effort. For me its the objective of success.

10 Mechanics of Personal Branding Hello, my name is .... and I .... When you introduce yourself to a new contact or colleague - do you stand out? Is what you're sharing about you memorable? Have you personal brand? Of course you do! Personal branding is what makes you uniquely you. Personal branding has long been a habit of politicians and celebrities for years - there's no reason why you cannot develop your own personal branding. How does one define a personal brand? Define how you stand out from the crowd.Understand what your core competencies and abilities are.Map out the value proposition that you offer.Figure out what makes you compelling.Don't borrow someone else's brand - the best person to be, is you. When you feel you've sufficiently mapped out this process - consider building a personal mission state and begin implementing the process with action. Clearly and consistently communicate those points across all platforms.Execute your consistent message via online and offline means.

A VC Privacy Am I the only one who doesn’t want to sign up for Facebook in order to use Spotify, Vevo and god knows what’s next? I’m not on Facebook. Oh, I’ve got a fake account so I can be up to speed, but I’ve got no desire to hook up with every girl I ever dated and be back in contact with every person I went to high school with, that’s why I moved to California! Is it just me? Have I just reached my limit? I don’t want to people to know what I’m listening to. And I don’t want digital recommendations. That’s why I hate Pandora… Seemingly every suggestion is a tune-out. Then again, I seem to be the only person who gives a thumbs-down to the site. But algorithms never work, not consistently enough to invest your listening time.

The coalition of No It's easy to join. There are a million reasons to say no, but few reasons to stand up and say yes. No requires just one objection, one defensible reason to avoid change. No is an easy way to grab power, because with yes comes responsibility, but no is the easy way to block action, to exert the privilege of your position to slow things down. No comes from fear and greed and, most of all, a shortage of openness and attention. And yet the coalition of No keeps losing. Yes is the new normal. Pavyment study shows sellers use Facebook ads to drive f-commerce

The Startup Curve I'm working with a few startups right now that are in various phases of Paul Graham's startup curve: Many people think startups are up and to the right all the time. But more services exhibit this "startup curve" than any other growth pattern. Of course, some never get past the trough of sorrow. I had lunch with an entrepreneur yesterday who I've been working with for two decades now. It turns out, like most success stories, the answer was simplifying the service. This is why you must go through the roller coaster ride. So to all those entrepreneurs whittling away in their offices trying to find out when to release their product to the market, I say "get on with it".

Upcoming Webinar Spotlights Social Commerce Best Practices Many retailers are struggling to crack the code on developing optimal customer engagement strategies via social networking sites — and to turn social interaction into dollars efficiently. An upcoming webinar from Retail TouchPoints will bring these industry pain points to the forefront, and provide best practices for retailers hoping to boost social buzz and transactions. The presentation, titled “Drive Commerce Growth Through Social Media,” taking place on March 23, 2012, will feature insight from Ray Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, and Melissa Schaefer, Global Retail Leader, Institute of Business Value for IBM. “It’s an exciting time as we look at what’s happening in terms of commerce and its growth through the use of social media,” Wang said. In the second part of the presentation, Schaefer will discuss how tapping into Smarter Commerce can help retailers transform the four phases of the commerce cycle: buy, market, sell and service.