123: The Friend of a Friend with David Burkus

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews David Burkus, a best-selling author, sought after speaker and associate professor of leadership and innovation.

Here’s what Travis and David discuss in this episode:

  • About David Burkus
    • He just published a new book, Friend of a Friend.
    • He has a Ted Talk that’s been viewed over 1.8 million times.
    • He’s a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review.
  • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
    • Who you know, and more importantly who you know is inside your control.
    • The big idea is that we need to redefine networking.
    • If you want to grow your network, you need to understand the network that’s already around you.
    • He translated the science of networking into something that’s readable and created his book.
  • Give us an example of the science in the book?
    • They did a deep dive on the concept of “six degrees of separation.”
    • We’re better off trying to get as many possible introductions in the beginning and to work backwards.
    • The idea that you need to have a huge rolodex to meet someone famous is outdated.
  • In writing this book, were you trying to bring awareness to the idea of who you know being important?
    • For a lot of people, networks are an organic thing.
    • We need to be intentional about all our networks, even the least important.
  • Is it harmful or hurtful to seek out people who are in your field specifically?
    • Structural holes, as people become closer to each other, every new connection you make is redundant.
    • The people who provide the most value in a network are those who build a bridge between networks.
  • Networking is a science and an art.
    • If you’re embedded in the community you can start to become a bridge.
    • Look for related fields to bridge to.
    • Very few people he wrote about were aware of the research although they were in line with it.
  • Talk about the idea of super connectors.
    • They’re more likely to be a bridge but aren’t always.
    • A super connector is anyone who has a disproportionate number of connections.
    • Preferential attachment – The more connections you have, the more potential introductions you have.
      • It’s like a compound interest effect.
    • You should be participating in events with more structure –
      • Volunteering for a non-profit
      • Brainstorming sessions, etc.
    • If you were to put together the ultimate networking conference, what would it look like?
      • A mix of old and weak connections.
      • The day begins with an activity.
      • Morning begins with a talk or keynote.
      • Meals are all planned for where you’re mixed in with people.
      • Small mastermind format.
      • Another activity
      • Planned out dinner
      • Move back and forth between content and activities.
    • Do you have any tips for leaving a conversation that you’re fed up with?
      • You should be the first person to break it off because then you look like you’re being mindful of their time.
      • Ask for their card if they’ve got one.
      • In Asian cultures the business card is a ritual.
    • How do you view paying for masterminds?
      • He has a hard time mentally with the idea, however, they require a skilled and trained facilitator.

The Random Round:

  • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
    • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • If you could sit on a park bench with anyone for an hour who would it be, and why?
    • Milton Hershey
    • Toward the end of his life he started a school for orphans.
    • He formed a trust for the school and gave the shares to the trust.
  • How do you like to consume content?
    • Books are the favorite.
  • Give us a book and podcast recommendation.
    • Ryan Hawk – Learning Leader Podcast
    • The Opposable Mind – Roger Martin
  • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine
    • Wake up and get kids ready for school
    • Deep work time
    • Normal Jiu Jitsu practice
    • Phone calls, podcast interviews, etc. in the afternoon.
    • Come upstairs and hang with family
  • What is your go-to pump up song?
    • Eye of the Tiger
  • What are you not very good at?
    • International level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • What is one place where we can find you online?
    • Davidburkus.com

Tweetable Quotes:

  • If you have a Facebook account, you’re really only 2-3 degrees away from anyone.
  • The people who provide the most value in a network are those who build a bridge between networks.
  • In masterminds, you’re paying for the facilitator and if that person is good, it’s worth the money.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.com – Podcast website

BYN.media/fb – Facebook Group

Friend of a Friend – book by David Burkus

David’s Website

The Learning Leader Podcast

The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin


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