This is a very short musing about what has worked for me to connect with great people and build a decent sized professional network.

It comes down to one simple thing actually — try to avoid post/share news (even if it is something like Apple bought Tesla with a shipload of cash!).

So what do you do?

Share something new that you created.

Anything.

A piece of code on GitHub, an idea of an app (however silly), an advice for young students or professionals who follows you, a syllabus from a class you took, an encouraging story from work or a family get-together. It does not matter how brief or small in scope it is.

Anything original. This way, you add value. Nobody has put it before in front of the world. So, it is yours. It is a new idea, a new thought.

Trust me, people are perceptive. They will take notice and differentiate if you add value.

If you read Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens’, you will see that he argues (rather convincingly) that the real difference between Homo Sapiens and other human species ( Neanderthals, Homo Erectus, Homo Denisova, etc.) was that only Sapiens started doing this unique thing — gossip. They talked and gossiped among themselves which built trust and a large group — leading to societal structure and collective wisdom to defeat other species for dominance on the planet. However, mere gossip about everyday physical objects — food, sex, children, rocks, and lions, could not have propelled them too far. So, they invented other things to talk about — Harari calls these imagined hierarchy or constructs — like God, spirit, sin, love, strategy, etc. Not everybody were capable of this kind of fertile imagination. Those who were, advanced by leaps and bounds in the new societal hierarchy. They were the priests, chiefs, shamans, and tribe leaders.

Generally, these folks did not spend their time spreading the Daily News of Which Fruit Was Seen on What Tree, rather they talked about New Stuff.

A newer way to cook the meat — a recipe. A novel way to polish the stone knife — a skill. A dream about a deity — an idea. A proposal to encircle the band of neighborhood Neanderthals to kill them off easily — a strategy.

Sounds like an ancient version of Silicon Valley startup? Sounds enterprising?

So, there it is.

  • Share open-source.
  • Give useful advice.
  • Muse about new idea.
  • Write articles.
  • Report research findings (copy-paste the latest arXiv paper link if you must)
  • Collaborate with people half the world across on a hobby project.

Leave the news sharing to the Facebooks and Twitters of this world and their Latent-Dirichlet allocation-based-Bayesian-Generative-Supermodels. You are better than them 🙂