Fortune Excerpt on Networks and Relationships

This week’s Fortune magazine contains two articles of note! The first is a lengthy excerpt from The Start-Up of You. The second is a brief profile/introduction of Reid.

The brief profile ends by mentioning the book:

In 2009, Hoffman joined venture firm Greylock, where he runs a seed fund and helps manage a portfolio of nearly 100 companies, including Groupon (GRPN), Tumblr, and AirBnb. With LinkedIn’s IPO and other investments, Hoffman is worth some $1.5 billion. Now comes his book, The Start-Up of You, in which he shares tips on building a great career. Paramount among them: being an authentic networker. After all, Hoffman has 800 Facebook friends and 2,579 LinkedIn connections, and sits on six corporate and four nonprofit boards. At meetings he spreads out no fewer than five screens — iPads, Androids — to keep up with contacts. That skill has helped Hoffman recruit to Greylock such web stars as former Mozilla CEO John Lilly. Hoffman now believes that the defining principle of the web’s next innovation cycle is data. “We are generating a massive amount,” he says. “What are we inventing?” It’s one of the first questions he asks everyone he meets. The other: “How can I help you?”

The funny thing is, “authentic networker” is oxymoronic to some. The cynical view of “networkers” is that they are by definition not very authentic. We prefer the term “relationship-building” and talk more about building “networks.” As it relates to authenticity, there’s also the challenge of trying too hard–obvious attempts at sincerity leave us cold. This made writing about the topic particularly challenging for us: in the very act of writing analytically and prescriptively about how networks work and how you should deploy them in your career, it’s hard not to come off as overly calculating–exactly what we’re saying not to be.

The reality is that unless the process of bonding and allying with others comes off as effortlessly as tying your shoes, which is to say, unless allying and helping really *is* what you want to be doing, the collaborative mind-set will fail, and so, ultimately, will the relationship.

All that being said, check out the excerpt for an introduction to some of the network themes we address in the book. In the full chapter, we go deeper on each of these points, and expand into other topics.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting a bit more on networks here on my personal blog, over at the Startup of You blog, and leading discussions in the LinkedIn Group, which I encourage you to join and participate in. The book is about much more than networks, but it is an excellent theme to start with!

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