In my work I meet with hundreds of people from different parts of the technology world. I talk with marketing, PR and AR folks a lot, and I also spend a bunch of time talking with operations and technology folks. My LinkedIn connection list (not that I’d ever give quantity more weight than quality) is fairly lengthy and, until I dispensed with keeping business cards in favor of automatically importing them into my Google contacts, I had a bulging box of cards given to me at industry events. All of this is just to show that I have pretty extensive connections in the technology world.
The absolutely best thing about this extensive network doesn’t relate to finding work for myself, some kind of ego trip or a Freudian game of “who has more”. Rater the benefit that I see from this network is when I’m able to connect folks together in ways that, from my position, appear made in heaven. You see I’ve had some awesome things happen to me in this industry. I’ve been given some favors by some folks who did so not because they expected any kind of return, but because they knew that I’d go on to use my success to benefit others – they “paid it forwards” for the very fact that early in their careers someone had done the same for them.
I can think of a few examples over the past few years where I have made introductions that have led to some amazingly smart people finding awesome jobs at incredible companies. I’ve never wanted, expected or thought about any kind of personal benefit that I might accrue from making those introductions – the satisfaction of knowing that someone who possibly wasn’t in the right place formerly is now in a role that fits them like a glove is payment enough. Add to that the fact that vendors whom I have a lot of time and admiration for have gained a staffer who can help them to excel – and it’s pretty obvious that the benefits, while intangible, are great.
So, my question to other folks that have extensive interactions with different people around the place – when did you last pay it forward?