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Networking Results

I've written quite a few posts lately on networking and a very common question is - where's the results? What do I get out of all the effort, and so far my best (if lame) answer is that networking is an investment based on faith that it will pay off somewhere, somehow. Not a great answer, and definitely doesn't help support my case very well.

So, I've been trying to pay a little more attention to my own network lately, and see if I could identify anything interesting. What follows is a quick summary of things from the past two weeks or so:

  • I'm driving to Atlanta for SQLSaturday #13 with Kendal Van Dyke who works with my friend Jon, who I met as a co-worker just over 10 years ago
  • Terrence sent me a comment on a recent blog post, and we met because he attends oPASS meetings, and that because he was referred from former co-workers
  • In another case a friend referred his spouse because she in turn needed some short term assistance with a consulting engagement of her own
  • I met Stuart - the man behind SQLSaturday #13 - at PASS last year, after he heard some discussion about the event concept at a chapter leader meeting held there
  • I met Don Gabor and that lead to me taking a short class on networking, and maybe more
  • Bonnie attended a class that my partner Brian taught, Bonnie heard about us from Ken Tucker, who I met via Joe Healy & Shawn Weisfeld. In turn Bonnie asked me for suggestions about speakers for her user group, and I recommended Kendal (see above) and Jack Corbett, who I met at SQLSaturday #1
  • John Kelly attended a class and it turns out we were working for the same employer too many years ago - though with definitely different opinions about the experience!
  • I met Lars Rasmussen, who it turns out knows my friend Tjay Belt, who I also met via PASS. Kudos to Lars for putting into my head that Twitter is often 'stream of consciousness', a useful way to look at it (and Lars is a Twitter-ite, though seemingly not obsessed!)
  • I had lunch with an old friend and co-worker after we reconnected on LinkedIn

Looking back further, I landed a job in IT that allowed me to grow from entry level data guy to senior manager due to a referral from a friend (Jon, see above). I met my partners Steve Jones and Brian Knight via our participation in Swynk.com, and that bit of networking has paid a lot of dividends over the years.

A little bit of that has lead to earnings, but all of it has lead to a lot of career satisfaction in one way or another. There's still no guarantee, but maybe I'm inching closer to being able to illustrate the real value of networking.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by Steve Jones on 20 April 2009

Good summary. I should track how various networking things have worked for me. I know a lot of people know about me from Facebook, Twitter, user groups, etc., but not sure how many I know.

Posted by Dan Guzman on 30 April 2009

Were all of those items 'connections' you currently have in LinkedIn, or is it a combination of networks?

Posted by Andy Warren on 30 April 2009

Dan, they are all in LinkedIn now I think, but really all of them happened via personal connections. So far I don't think anything interesting has happened from a connection I've discovered (or having been discovered myself) from LinkedIn.

Posted by Bob Griffin on 1 May 2009

I just have to say that discussions like this, dealing with soft skills, are what make sqlservercentral outstanding.  The technical discussions are awesome, but when you sprinkle in discussions of the people side of our business, you have something special.  


Posted by Andy Warren on 1 May 2009

Definitely nice that I can blog about things beyond 'just SQL' and find an audience for it too!

Posted by lharmes on 1 May 2009

One of the comments I ran across in doing some reading about networking is that one of the best things you can be known for is being a resource for other people.  Whether or not each of those contacts results in paying work, people will begin to think of you first when they are trying to identify resources for help.  As you pointed out, there is a lot of personal and career satisfaction in that.  It is also bound to lead to paying work as well.  The other factor is that you become exposed to a wider variety of business and technical issues, which increase your knowledge and give you more tools for dealing with future situations.

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