Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Chains of Networking

chainAfter I posted my business update last night, I began to think about the various projects I've done over the years and how I came to be working on them. It's kind of fun to play the "network chain" game to see how far my networking connections had to go to lead me to a job.

Some of my projects, like the ones I've done recently for AJ Boggs, are "zero links". I met the person with whom I worked (in this case, Jim Anderson, the president) myself with no intermediaries. Jim and I both were in the Leadership Ann Arbor class of 2007.

Then I have my "one link" projects. These are the ones where someone referred me or introduced me to the person who had need of my services. My recent work for cellochan would fall into this category. My good friend Cheryl O'Brien, the Membership Director at the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, referred Suzanne Smith, the director of cellochan, to me when she found out that Suzanne needed some help setting up her website.

Of course, I have a few projects that are two and three links. My longest, though, would probably have to be the project about which I wrote last night, the new one with Defrost Design. As I mentioned, I met Craig Steen and Matt Raup of Defrost through an introduction from LeAnn Auer, the Executive Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. I met LeAnn, through her husband, Joe. Joe and I first got together because when he and LeAnn first came to Michigan, he asked his friend, Myra Klarman, formerly of Studio Mobius to introduce him to people who worked on projects similar to those he did.

How did Myra know me? She and I worked together to set up online seminar registration for a couple of her clients, Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville. The two of them recommended me to her.

Peter and Lou? Oh I met them ages ago in some of my first projects when I worked at the University of Michigan. When Peter and Lou first left the University, they formed Argus Associates, Inc. They hired me for my very first freelance programming project, thirteen years ago.

It amazes me that from that first meeting way back then, I've had a chain of networking which led to working on projects at least four links deep.

That word of mouth stuff is a pretty incredible thing!

So, what is your longest chain of networking?

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