(2017-12-26) Reinhardt Networking For Nerds

Benjamin Reinhardt: Networking for Nerds. I developed a set of tactics that unleashed many opportunities - a stint as an EIR at Susa Ventures, speaking at conferences in Brazil and SXSW, and getting a company off the ground. (I like to think that) these were all built on a door of real value, but tactical network building provided the key.

Tactic 1: The Projection Model

They create a little mental model of themselves that makes it easy for everybody they meet. Everybody has a “projection” - a small representation - of each person they know living in their heads

A projection can be distinct - “Ben is looking for X, Y, Z and can help with A, B, C.” Or it can be fuzzy - “Ben’s that guy with curly hair I think who I met at that meetup and we talked about a bunch of interesting stuff.”

If it’s distinct, whenever X comes up in conversation, you will instantly come to mind, and you’ll start getting messages like “we were having a discussion about X and would love to bring you on as an advisor.”

The trick is that projections are small and can only hold a few pieces of information (rule of thumb - about three.) In order to maximize the effectiveness of your projections, figure out which things you want to be associated with in people’s heads and be excited about them.

How do you build a strong projection? A strong story. Stories (storytelling) stick in people’s heads better than anything else. Make sure you have a good one. All you need is a short narrative with at least one compelling character (you), a captivating theme, and some kind of narrative arc. (Hero's Journey)

Tactic 2: Know your ask

Reality check: people are going to remember at most three things about you. Make sure one of them is your ask- the most impactful thing they can do to help you. To maximize your ask, make it short, clear, and a single step.

Some good examples of asks:

Why are they good?

  • Single Action to Execute - connect with people, or a link on the internet.
  • Detailed - they don’t force you to ask clarifying questions.

When to ask

Once someone is interested in you, they’re likely to remember how they can help, regardless of how long they’ve known you

Tactic 3: Pre-Meeting Motions


Do: Say what you want to talk about during the meeting in the email

Don’t: Use the term “I’d like to pick your brain about …

Do: Give as much information as possible - “I’m based in the Mission and I’m in SOMA on Thursday afternoons

Do: Anchor the conversation with 2-3 options around both time and place.

Don’t: Ask “when is best for you?” or say “we should grab coffee!” without an anchor time

Calendar Invite - It might seem obvious, but many people still screw up the concluding act leading up to a meeting - a calendar event

It could be even better if I had titled it “Ben<>Jim discuss AI Strategies” or put the subject in the notes section


Do your homework before a meeting

Make it easy

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