Network Suckers

I had the opportunity to meet a young man who was  focusing full time pursuing his own ventures. He really wanted to launch some of the projects he’s been working on a broader scale.   He’s met a decent amount of people in his respective industry but none of those connections were able to help elevate him to where he wanted to be.  So he’s been continuously reaching out to new connections.

After talking to him for a few hours longer than I anticipated, I got the feeling he seemed to be a very jovial person.  He seemed to be a really nice person.  Like I do after every meeting, I shot him a short email thanking him for meeting with me and it was pleasure meeting him and a brief recap of what we talked about during our meeting.  About a week and a half  later, he responds to my email.  He tells me it was nice meeting me too, he had some referrals for me and he also needed  some passes for an upcoming event in the LA area and was hoping I could get them for him.  I wasn’t clear about the event he was talking about, so I looked it up online and noticed it was a week away from the date of  his request.  I sent him a polite email saying I doubt I could find someone who could come up with passes, but there was no harm in asking around.  Two days later I get a text in which he again asks me to get him passes to this event.  Then it dawned on me.  He’s network sucker.

A network sucker (yes, it’s a term I  threw together just now) is someone who’s primary goal is to meet as many people as possible in hopes that someone will be able to provide them favor to launch them to their next opportunity.

I had just met him once, shared fewer than half a dozen emails with him and had to endure two awkward texts.  In short, I didn’t feel comfortable going out of my way, and to be honest, outside the scope of what I do, to do him a favor.  I barely knew him.  In this day in age, if you don’t know how to network properly and build rapport with people, either learn (quickly) or don’t bother.  The rules of networking are simple: establish a foundation/ relationship with the other party/ person and make deposits.  Be of service first before you ask someone to be of service to you.

Needless to say, I was appalled.  Then I quickly realized he did me a favor (the irony, right?).  He added himself to a list of people I would rather not conduct business with.  I didn’t go stark raving mad, I didn’t send him an unfriendly text back.  I just ignored him.  Not everybody is working with common sense or principles and not everybody is doing business the right way.  Some people have a knack for sucking the life out of others and that’s okay.  That’s their own undoing.    As for me, I remember that anything worth doing is worth doing right.  Especially, networking.    You can’t make a withdrawal if you’ve never made a deposit.

Question: Was it wrong of him to have asked for a favor after one meeting or was it a harmless request?  After all, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.  Sometimes you gotta take a leap and see where you land.  However, there is such a thing as business etiquette. 

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