I love networking, marketing, connecting. But lately, with this hyper-active networking throughout China and the world…I have been connecting some people who don’t click in the network. Some have kind of stretched the truth about who they are, their background. Others, maybe in financial distress, have refused to pay others I have connected.
This happened also a few years ago, I connected people, and then they both come back to me angry when it doesn’t work out. Is this my fault. Is this my responsibility?
I love meeting new people. I love believing what they say is at face value. But maybe….just due to the high volume of people I meet, I have to account for a certain percentage of people who may either not mesh well with the others, or are not who they say they really are.
Example Introductions Gone Bad…
Here are a few cases of introduction issues gone bad, to put some context in why I am writing this blog post. I don’t want to use names to keep it… simpler….
- Overly inquisitive counterpart – Many people come to me that want to be introduced to others I know. For hopes of getting an investment, getting information, or getting a deal. The more I network, the more people I know, and the more people want me to introduce them to others, etc etc. Its happened now a few times, people who want to find out all kinds of background information on someone I know and then they contact this person inquiring tons of information. I then get people complaining to me for people I introduce them to that is asking all kinds of direct and personal questions. Gets me in awkward situations sometimes.
- Angel Investor Unhappy about a Startup Investment – I Introduced a startup to an angel investor, things went along nicely at the beginning. But I got caught up in the middle when miscommunication happened. Terms made, signed, investment put in. Went along ok to start, but then the angel got angry and wanted to cancel and get his money back. The entrepreneurs used the funds for the best interests of the startup. The deal didn’t work out. Is that my responsibility? That is the risks in business. Felt bad about it,
- Discrepancies about position at a company he/she stated she was in, in order to get another position at a new company – I guess more like lying on his/her resume. I connected this person in to a group of friends and he was accepted by most. Rather quickly, he got opportunities to join some companies, but then questions started popping up about his past company experience and length of employment. I even received a call from the old company and it got a bit political, based on the amount of people this person had already met. I wasn’t sure what to do. Maybe it was a dispute in that company, how can I know? But if there is this rumor and doubt, should I share it with those in my network that are looking to engage a business cooperation?
- Customer not paying what he (verbally) said he would pay to a company I connected him with I am a hyper networker, and I am always blogging and tweeting what I’m doing. I was contacted about a previous post, and referred him to that company. They had been working together for a few months, maybe some mis-communications (and I have to hear about it). I started getting calls from both sides, CC’d on emails. I’m told to help, told that I was the one who knew this person and introduced them. Asked to mediate. But I am not financially in the transaction.
Of course, there are tons and tons of positive transactions from my connecting. It does create an awesome environment and ecosystem around me. But I am just highlighting some of the negative cases …. and openly blogging it to the world.
The worst part of it all is – I am just trying to help and am not even getting sales commissions for any of this.
How to Verify? Circles of Trust
Maybe I’ve been in China too long, but now I understand the value of circles, networks, “guanxi”. Who else knows this new person in the group? How do they know him/her. how long. In what manner. Especially when doing international business. Business between USA and China. Where its hard to verify. And people come and go so quickly. I’m learning to value these “circles” of guanxi and networks to help more quickly verify.
Makes me think of that movie “Meet The Parents” and the father’s “circle of trust” philosophy.
And when I meet new people who aren’t in these circles…I am going to have to be more cautious before I introduce them in the circle. Wondering if people have some suggestions here.
Maybe this should all change?
Not Only Verify, but Focus my Networking
I don’t want to get “snotty” or stuck up about who I meet and seem selective. But it is true, what advice I have gotten over and over. That I am too nice, too gullible. I have to protect myself, and protect my network more. I have sometimes been too easy, and the benefit of the doubt, in the situation, and seen people “get into the circle” and cause problems.
Plus have a purpose for networking. Focus for my own business as well. Its getting better, and blogging openly has helped me develop myself and those around me.
Overall Doing More Positive than Negative
This post mostly highlights some of the negative deals / outcomes. I have talked about some awesome events in previous blog posts and those who know me personally know all the awesome things that come out from this hyperactive networking.
Today I am just reflecting on all of it, may need to be a bit more selective and careful. But still have full intention of genuinely connecting people and building a strong ecosystem of successful people around me.
So I’ll try adjusting a bit, tweaking. For the better of everything and everyone around me, I hope!
I wish people would comment more on this blog, but instead I get a lot of feedback via skype, calls, chats, twitter, facebook. Van, my friend in China, gave me a good article and feedback, posting below:
[5/5/12 10:08:42 PM] Van: hey mike, read your blog post
[5/5/12 10:09:08 PM] Michael: cool, the one just published?
[5/5/12 10:09:23 PM] Van: yeah
[5/5/12 10:09:33 PM] Michaeli 迈理倪: cool. good one then? 🙂
[5/5/12 10:09:36 PM] Van: there’s a counter article about that
[5/5/12 10:09:41 PM] Michael: was a bit worried publishing it
[5/5/12 10:09:55 PM] Van: yes, i just read something called “let’s put a stop to networking”
[5/5/12 10:10:08 PM] Michael: a book?
[5/5/12 10:10:09 PM] Van: but the article is more like just building more solid business relationships
[5/5/12 10:10:30 PM] Van: or in other words, just be more picky
[5/5/12 10:10:35 PM] Van: no, an online article
[5/5/12 10:12:52 PM] Michael: cool, maybe u can leave a blog comment w/ that article link too 🙂
[5/5/12 10:12:57 PM] Michael: i love comments on the blog posts
[5/5/12 10:13:04 PM] Van: sure
[5/5/12 10:13:04 PM] Michael: yea, i will be more picky now….
[5/5/12 10:15:41 PM] Van: here is the link: http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/02/stop-networking-and-start-building.html