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« Tough Decision Making: Chess, Chrysler, and Seeing Patterns | Main | On Company Evolution, Survival, and Start-Ups »

April 04, 2008



Hi Raj,

Broadening my universe has been one of the key challenges I've faced. I work closely with sales & our (limited) customer base already to "deep dive" on the issues you mentioned.

Can you offer your thoughts about good networking tools / organizations that you use? (LinkedIn, SVPMA, etc.?) I'm in the silicon valley & work in the (computer) networking industry. Trade shows (unfortunately) make folks sales averse, so establishing contacts is difficult since they think I'm planning to "sell AT them". Do you advise hitting developer's groups, hitting online IT news groups, etc?

Thanks, Frank

Raj Kanaya

Frank, I haven't had great success with trade shows, user groups, or other networking functions. It's hard to find the people that you really want to talk to -- i.e. the knowledgeable "experts" who can provide the useful nuggets of info. The best means that I've found is the "cold e-mail." It's like a cold call but less intrusive. IT professionals vastly prefer it over talking on the phone. Find the people that you want to talk to by scouring competitor press releases or those from adjacent industry players. You can also find names through trade pubs. Then, you'll need to guess the e-mail address. This isn't hard to do. You can see how their company e-mail addresses are formed by finding some e-mail addresses that are publicly available. Then send them a note. Keep it brief, make it clear that you're not selling anything, mention where you read about them (they'll feel good about it), and ask for very little time (15-20 min). Realistically, if you get them on the phone, they'll talk for longer. If it goes well, you can set-up a F2F meeting.

Good luck.


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