Welcome -
open networking in the Silicon Forest

This is an information web site in support of a LinkedIn networking group for Portland's tech industry. The group is launching this summer at OSCON.

scalet macaw avatar Greetings!

gentoo penguin avatar Uh... hi. What's with the gregariousness?

scalet macaw avatar I'm just networking. This seemed like a fun way to get the ball rolling.

gentoo penguin avatar Hmm... I've never been a big networker. It's not my thing. Maybe if I were looking for work or something.

scalet macaw avatar That's rather like buying insurance after the house fire. You need to be networking before a situation like that comes up. You won't want to take the time to build a network from scratch if you're looking for work, looking to hire, or looking to find some sort of information. Your network needs to be there waiting for you before then.

gentoo penguin avatar I guess, but I'm not a networking sort of bird. Really, am I supposed to come to these events with a stack of business cards and palm them to folks as I shake hands? What are folks going to do with all those cards? How is it going to help me that my card is sitting on fifty different dressers a month from now? If half of those folks give me a card back, it doesn't help me that those cards are sitting on my dresser either. I'm not realistically going to email all those folks.

scalet macaw avatar Probably not... but hear me out. You're perfectly comfortable contacting dozens or thousands of folks via mailing list or usenet, right?

gentoo penguin avatar Sure, but everyone reading that email has opted in to that sort of communication because they're interested in the subject matter. It's totally different.

scalet macaw avatar A mailing list is a network. It's a network with a specific purpose: to discuss some specific subject matter. You're already a more capable networker than you think. What if there were a mailing list for networking?

gentoo penguin avatar You mean a list where folks subscribed just to be subscribed to the same list? What's the point?

scalet macaw avatar Have you heard of LinkedIn?

gentoo penguin avatar Yeah. I created an account once, connected with a few folks. It didn't seem very useful. I'm already connected to these folks outside of LinkedIn, and the site doesn't add anything.

scalet macaw avatar Did you know that some folks have hundreds or thousands of LinkedIn connections?

gentoo penguin avatar Sure. The sales birds at my company all have 500+ connections. I doubt that they're serious connections though. Sales birds are just into that sort of thing.

scalet macaw avatar If one of your sales birds got laid off, that huge network would be pretty valuable. When a LinkedIn connection helps you to get your next job, you're not going to care that they're not the sort of friend who would help you move furniture. It's precisely those non-serious connections that add value to your network. Connecting to folks you see every day buys you very little.

gentoo penguin avatar I guess. But still, I'm just not that in to pressing the flesh and building a network. How many folks am I really going to get to know in a day? I've only got so much time and I just feel like there are better ways to spend my time.

scalet macaw avatar Your sales birds understand that you don't have to know everyone in your network that well. How well do you know the other subscribers on those mailing lists? Listen... What if someone else were to build your network for you?

gentoo penguin avatar Are you volunteering?

scalet macaw avatar Yes.

gentoo penguin avatar Uh. Ok. What do you mean?

scalet macaw avatar Well, if you join a networking group, then you derive benefit from that network even if you don't expand it any more than the +1 from adding yourself. Others will grow the network and you'll be along for the ride. If you ever do decide to grow the network, you'll benefit as will everyone else in the group.

gentoo penguin avatar Hmmm.

scalet macaw avatar Here. Take these cards. If you encounter anyone you'd like to have in your network, hand them a card. Let them know there's no pressure to join, but you'd like to add them to your network. Give them multiple cards if you want and ask them to pass the cards on to folks they want to network with. They can even give away the very last card once they have joined (or memorized the half dozen syllables in They're networking tokens.

gentoo penguin avatar OK. I'll give it a shot. It sounds better than collecting business cards. I like the idea of throwing a few pebbles in the pond and letting the ripples grow the network while I kick back.

scalet macaw avatar If you run out of cards, hit me up for more. Hopefully they'll continue to float around the community networking on your behalf for months to come. If you can't find me, feel free to make your own cards, or kazoos, or balloons, or just spread the word.

scalet macaw avatar Welcome to open networking in the Silicon Forest!