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
incredible strength 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.
beautiful sweety 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. This puts the decision about where a touring event goes into the hands of the fans and reduces the power of the concert organizers. 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.
A VC 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 has many allies--anyone who fears the future or stands to benefit from the status quo. 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.
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. But many do. 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".
Quick Sprout — I'm Kind of a Big Deal How Paypal and Reddit faked their way to traction — Design + Startups There were several factors that contributed to YouTube becoming the #1 video sharing service on the web. But a lot of initial adoption was driven by the fact that it had pirated content hosted on it. If you wanted to watch the latest episode of Lost for free, YouTube was your best bet: no queued downloading through torrents, just stream it from the server. Kim Dotcom’s mail to his crew, which ultimately damned MegaUpload, offers a rather brute-force but effective tactic for seeding platforms. Some community owners, as in the case of MegaUpload, solve this by creating a false aura of activity using a variety of methods. There are typically three ways of going about this: Seeding and Weeding Dating services simulate initial traction by creating fake profiles and conversations. Seeding Demand In the book, Paypal Wars, Eric M. Seeding Supply A platform is useless without complementary products. There is, of course, a method to the apparent madness. Use attractive seeds Consider incentives