It’s Time to Start Networking for Real

Opinion

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new, year-long MTLC Accelerator Program. This semi-structured roundtable of founders and CEOs is designed to allow participants to learn from each other and make faster connections to the marketplace.

We also intend to collaborate with several other networking organizations in town to reach a wide base of people. Specifically, we are launching a new program called “Storytelling,” where we will partner with other organizations to bring leaders in the technology community to share their lessons learned, the ups and downs, and how they navigated challenges to find success.

You don’t have to wait for these programs to get on the bandwagon. You don’t need a button on your lapel saying, “Ask me whom I know!” When you run into a startup that you find interesting, just ask them, “What are your three biggest needs?” and see if you know somebody who is a good fit. A big name or your most protected contact usually isn’t the right answer; it’s somebody where there’s the potential for an excellent two-way relationship. It is a small expense of your social capital, and if the fit is a good one, you will gain way more than you spend.

As for me, I do this most days but have had trouble scaling it, particularly in areas with which I’m less familiar. My most recent examples of facilitating connections have involved a trio of impressive entrepreneurs, one creating high-end technology for financials services, another working on non-invasive medical diagnostics, and the third developing a new system in robotics. I know enough to see that each probably has a substantial opportunity in front of them, but they need just the right people and organizations as partners at critical phases of their company’s growth. So with their permission, I’ll tweet a brief description of what they need to see if other people might know the right person to connect them with or be a good fit themselves. So, follow @CommonAngels, if you don’t already, and be on the lookout for some cool people and opportunities. And think about doing something like this yourself. I’ll be on the lookout for your introductions, too.

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James Geshwiler is Managing Director at CommonAngels Ventures. He joined CommonAngels in 1999 and has been an active investor in mobile, cloud, consumer and business software as well as digital media companies. [Editor's note: CommonAngels is the lead investor in Xconomy.] Follow @geshwiler

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