I was inspired by a blog post by Michael Thomas about dropping out of college and his experiences. We are of similar age, so we share many of the same thoughts. He talks about real world learning, startups, and the subject of this blog post, network. I quote:
When I was running SkyRocket my goal was to reach out to (email, phone or voicemail) at least 10 people every day. So over the course of the last 9 months I’ve “touched” over 2,700 people and probably met about 500-750 of those people. Some of these people are CEOs of top companies like HootSuite and Mobify, which has its obvious perks, and others are thought leaders who I get to learn from.
He reached out to at least 10 people every day. When I read this, I knew he was onto something. I have in the past cold emailed people to get to know or meet the recipient, but I didn’t consider to take it to this extent. If you’ve played any RPG games, then I would say its similar to being able to view a new area of the map. It also reminds me of the story of people saying it was physically impossible to run a mile under four minutes. It only took one person to run a four minute mile in order to allow other runners to break through a mental barrier they’ve had and run a mile in shorter times. This one paragraph more or less had the same effect on me.
Since moving to SF, I’ve been on my laptop gaining more knowledge on Ruby and Rails that I haven’t explored much of the area. The only time I’m in the city is when I have a meetup event to attend or a meeting with someone I corresponded with online. Reaching out to at least 10 people a day provides me with more excuses to take a break from my laptop and actually visit and talk to people in the tech and startup community.
Another benefit of having this daily goal is that it is S.M.A.R.T. or Specific, Measureble, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related. If I don’t reach out to at least 10 people every day, then I didn’t accomplish my goal. It is a realistic goal as well because I am not relying on people’s responses to determine if I achieved it or not.
So who was the first person I reached out to? Michael Thomas of course. Followed him on with and told him what I was doing. After Michael, I hopped on AngelList and looked up interesting companies and people I would like know. The best part was, I had already found a way to contact them. I’ve had some people ignore my emails, but I also had people reply and tell me they were willing to meet and talk. I have a meeting set with the CEO of Synata, Patrick White, to talk and try to validate an idea I have in B2B. Also scheduled a visit to Palo Alto to drop by Upstart and talk to one of the co-founders.
I’ve only been doing this for three days, but it feels great to reach out and find people willing to respond and more.