041: David Burkus, Conversation 1: Flipping the mental model, full transcript

May 3, 2018 by Joshua
in Podcast

David Burkus

David Burkus is a public speaker and he’s an author on leadership related things. He’s helped me a lot in my career. He’s help me with writing. He’s helped me with my speaking style and the business stuff behind it. His book is about networking but in my style, it comes from an academic perspective but also practical on the ground approach. It’s not merely what to do, nor is it just theoretically what to do but it’s how to improve your understanding and practice of meeting people in general. He is going to explain it better than I can so, listen. It’s a systematic approach that’s also practical. So, knowing me it’s going to mean that he’s going to share a practice that you can do just by listening to this and then you’ll see that the book has a lot more than that. I’m not going to say what his personal challenge is but I love his personal challenge and anyone who knows me knows when you hear it, you’re going to know why I love it so much. So, here’s David.


Joshua: Welcome to the Leadership and the Environment podcast. This is Joshua Spodek. I’m here’s David Burkus. David, how are you?

David: I am fantastic. How are you doing?

Joshua: I’m very good. And I know that you are in the window of launch period for your book and from my experience that’s a crazy time. This is not your first book. So…

David: Does it mean it’s any less crazy?

Joshua: Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask. Does it get easier? Do you just get more… Do you take on more challenges or how is it first compared to next?

David: I think you get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. So you know the right things to pay attention to. When the first one…I’m sure you were this way, when the first one comes out you just sort of like say yes to everything and then figure out how to swim in the ocean that you created for yourself later and feel like you’re drowning and all that kind of stuff. I think over time you get a better sense of what actually moves the needle and what doesn’t. And so, there’s that. But I think on the other end of that you get presumably more opportunities because your readership is a little bit bigger. You start pitching articles for places and they know that you’re an established author now so they’re more willing to say yes or to grant conditional yes or stuff like that. So yeah, I mean it doesn’t feel any less crazy. Hopefully it’s just as busy but more effective.

Joshua: So, I hope that listeners are… I think a lot of listeners with the word leadership in the podcast name are thinking you know either they’ve come out books, they want to do books and you’re probably ahead of a lot of them. So I hope that I can hear there’s a lot of work that you did at the beginning with all of this saying yes and having to juggle all these different things and now I hear a lot more confidence and calmness and it feels like you know what you’re doing. Or is that just a façade?

David: Oh. It’s a total facade. It’s a total facade. Let’s see. So like literally we’re recording this as I announced to my sort of social media and e-mail list following that the book is available, please preorder it, here’s all the score bonuses, the sort of standard preorder track. And you know I have probably checked its Amazon ranking and the number of people who have sent in their receipts preorder every thirty-seven minutes. So, you know you still obsess over that kind of stuff I think. But you know I think there also is that confidence sort of you know how the game is going to play out your first time like my very first book. I worked with a hand-in-hand with a publicist and I spent a lot of money on a publicist. I sort of like that old joke about advertising like half of it is wasted but you don’t know which half. But the thing that I learned that I also benefited from that is that I essentially paid someone to walk me hand-in-hand through “this is the process you’re going to go through”. Because I mean your publisher does that to some extent. But when it comes to the media landscape they don’t really know. Their job is to create a great book and then make sure it gets it listed in stores and then your job after the fact at least in nonfiction is to have this sort of marketing plan. So, it really helped to have somebody sort of walk me through that hand-in-hand. Now I feel like this is the third one so I have a little bit better sense of this is what the process looks like, these are the standard elements etc.

Joshua: Maybe you could say a few words about the book at first and then share about the book.

David: Yeah, yeah. So, I’ll send you the central ideas. The book’s called Friend of a Friend. The subtitle is something about understanding the hidden networks that can transform your life or career. That’s something about by the way is the realization that you don’t really get much of a say in your own title. There’s like five other people in the room. So I don’t remember what the subtitle was because I didn’t pick it. But the central premise is that when so many people I think have a faulty approach to networking, when I say the term even most people think that what I’m referring to is like going to that cocktail party, you’re supposed to have like this great elevator pitch and you’re supposed to work the room and in reality like you stand in the corner stirring your drink talking to somebody you already know because you’re still awkward the whole time and you just leave. I think this is most people’s experience.

And so, we sort of start from this premise, I think where a lot of that comes from is most networking books and most of the sort of networking thinkers or thought leaders whatever you call them are giving you advice on how to deal with that situation. And I think that’s a little too far forward too fast. I think what most people need is to have a better understanding of the network that they’re already a part of. Like you don’t have a network. You exist inside of a network already. You’re already part of one. All of your existing contacts etc. are sort of part of that. We’re all part of 7.4 billion people strong accounting. So, the better approach would be to learn more about how networks work and then figure out if you really do need to go to that mixer or if you do really need to work a room or if what you need to do is do a better job staying in touch with the connections you already have, do a better job introducing people etc.

So that’s the premise of the book and then we look at where we draw that information is from five to six decades of research into network science. There are people who study human networks but also computer networks, electrical grids, food chain networks, ecosystems etc. and almost all networks have a couple of universal things in common. And so that’s where I sort of want to start is here’s the manual on how networks work based on universal principles that sort of we all have in common. Now look where you’re lacking something or where you get the strength. We’ve got suggestions in the book about how to get better at certain things based on the science. But like no one’s going to do everything in the book, it’s not a step by step manual. It’s an instruction manual on how a network works. Now you figure out how to be the best member of that network. And over time that will lead you to the same things that you’re trying to get like going to that that weird awkward party and trying to rehearse your elevator pitch etc. That’s the top line of the book and I forgot what the second part of your question was.

Joshua: I have a couple of questions on that anyway. Actually, the first comment of what you’re talking about how a lot of people view networking and a lot of it is like people want exchange as many cards as they can and then you come home and got all those cards and you have to write with the person does on the card so you remember because you haven’t really made a connection with the person. And I feel like when you go in with your elevator pitch I feel like… I’m really glad that you said it’s not about you, it’s about the network and presumably the people in your network. And when you come in and say, “Look at me. Look at my awesomeness” I feel like you still present yourself as a commodity. You’re just trying to be like the shiniest one as opposed to a unique individual and I feel like if I read you write what you’re doing is you’re helping people see not just the trees but to understand that there’s not just a force but the force is like a system that people study and people understand from lots of different perspectives and if you just think, “There’s a bunch of people there. I’ve got to meet them all” it’s not the same as understanding that there’s something out there that people have understood and you can learn from their decades of experience.

David: Yeah. No, I think that’s exactly right. I think most people use this mental model that networking means adding new contacts into their phone or connections on LinkedIn or whatever. Some of it is the overlap between a lot of the folks that are talking about networking are also the folks that are talking about how to build your platform or grow your empire or whatever you know trademarked phrase that thought leaders are trying to use. And again, I think that’s wrong. I think when we look at networks as a whole there’s this principle right away called social capital and social capital sort of the value in an existing network because of the tightness of the bonds that are in that community but also sort of the value that can be extracted that networks sort of individually. And one of the best things you can do to increase the social capital that you’re allowed to tap into is to increase the social capital of the entire network. And that’s a different approach than coming in and like you said, “Everybody look at me. I’ve got this perfect way to phrase what I do. That’s just the right blend of interesting and provocative that gets everyone to want to get to know me” etc. because all that approach does is add more connections but those connections aren’t of value the same way paying attention to the network is.

Even if you went to one of those events, I studied in the book plenty of networkers do not go to these types of events anymore because they’re basically a waste of time and we can dive into that if you want. But if you do go to one of those you are far better like going with two or three people you already know and then making it a goal to meet someone new and introduce them to that other person than you are going to that event trying to meet seven new people that you like you said you have to write down notes on the back of the business card in the bathroom where you’re hiding because you don’t want to let them know that you’ve got the secret system or whatever.

Joshua: And that you don’t know who they are.

David: Yeah, you just totally don’t remember who they are. All of that sort of stuff like you’re better off… Truthfully, you’re better off skipping those events and putting something together that brings your connections together in unique ways. But even if you don’t do that, if you do find yourself or those events, you’re far better off sort of just being interested in other people and then focused on who in your network can you connect them to, not how can they help me immediately. And this is where I think a lot of people go wrong is that either they’re one of those people those super aggressive, “I’m talking to you but I’m wondering how you can help me and as soon as I figure out you can’t I’m looking over your shoulder.” Or they’re the person on the receiving end of that which is just mean it’s cringeworthy to be the person on the receiving end of that. And so, everybody goes away thinking, “Man, these events are a waste of time.” Well, they are because you’re not thinking about the whole network you’re in, you’re just thinking about yourself and what you can get out of it. And it turns out that the best stuff that you can get at it happens after you focus on making the investments in the network that you’re part of.

Joshua: Now you’re making it hard for me to interview you because what you’re saying…. I’m trying to interview you but I’m also thinking about what you’re saying and thinking, “Wait a minute. How do I think of networks?”

David: And I suppose that’s good, right?

Joshua: Yeah, I mean also it’s I’m really glad that if you were an academic saying the things that you’re saying, I would say I’d be a little nervous about reading the book because it would probably give a lot of theory but you are an academic.

David: I call myself a recovering academic and I think you and I are in the same boat, we’re recovering academics.

Joshua: Yeah, I know you have the academic credentials but you also have the practical experience. And so, I imagine a lot of this is coming from a mix of both of these…

David: No, you’re right. So, my approach is essentially that I saw this kind of big gap between these two communities, the actual scientists who are writing and publishing about it but they’re not taking it from the approach of this is what it means when you apply it to your life and your personal network, and then these people who are super focused on your life and your personal network but had no scientific basis whatsoever. And you know my hope is that that connecting those two dots unlocks a tremendous amount of value for most readers. I don’t know if that’s true yet because like I said we’re recording this before it comes out but I think that we’ll know that that’s true. If the book performs well, we’ll know that that sort of theory is true. And if it’s not, I will go hide in a hole for like three years and figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.

Joshua: [unintelligible] network. It’s very refreshing to hear because I’ve definitely read the theoretical stuff and found it interesting. The geek in me is like, “Wow, it’s really cool. I’m glad people figure that out.” And I have certainly seen expert networkers. But the connection of the two I have not seen. And so, it feels to me like it’s a book whose time has come.

David: Here’s hoping. Yeah, I mean that’s the grand theory. And I’ll tell you from a personal level too. One of the other reasons for this is that I mean you live in New York City, I live in probably the opposite of New York City. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma smack dab in the middle of the country I’m not far from the literal crossroads of America in terms of where the two major highways that connect north, south, east and west interact. And yet I have managed and I’m not saying the sort of [unintelligible] like a lot of the folks that we just threw on the bus but I’ve managed to build out connections and a network that have allowed me to do the things that I wanted to do from here. And I started like you, I started from this standpoint of, “Wow, these studies are fascinating” but what I saw was like and they also explain why this weird thing I did five years ago worked. And that this weird thing work, etc.

And so to some extent it does sort of I couldn’t be I’m going to master how to work a room because there just aren’t that many New York City. There’s an event you can go to every single night that puts a bunch of strangers together, mixes some alcohol and random connections happened. Where I am you’ve got to be much more deliberate and over time I sort of learn what works and then it was like weird. This science stuff I’m finding fascinating also kind of overlaps how this other stuff worked you know. And then you find like even a lot of the sort of power networkers in New York City or San Francisco or L.A. or wherever I was looking they’re doing things a little bit differently too and their stories line up with the science thing too. So, like you said I hope that it’s a book whose time has come in that regard because it’s connecting those two communities and also explaining a lot of the stuff. Truthfully, I’ll be happy if people just look at it as their official permission not to ever have to go to one of those awkward networking events ever again.

Joshua: So all the stuff of you telling about your experiences and other people’s experiences leads me to the second part of the question which I had to delve into the book for a minute but maybe you have a story or two either from experiences that led you to write the book or maybe experiences writing the book.

David: Yeah, so I basically I just told you the sort of the story of where the idea came from. I mean in the past two books I wrote a little bit about network science and I found it sort of fascinating and I wanted excuse to study it more because I had this sort of inkling so that’s where it came from and in studying it more that’s where the sort of thesis of the book came from. I mean in my own life I’ll give you an example of… OK, so if there is a wealth of research that suggests for a couple of different reasons one of them being homophily which is the sort of love of same like attracts like kind of thing but another just being our general comfort zone like people don’t actually mix at mixers. You spend most of your time with people you already know. We know this from research we know this from studies where we literally track like put a tag on everyone to track who they’re interacting with and how long. In one study they did 100 executives each who knew on average about a third of the room and yet on average every executive spent half of their time talking to the one third of the room that they already knew. [unintelligible] If you flip a coin about whether or not to talk to somebody, you would have met more new people than they did. Because it turns out when there’s that sort of unstructured space which presumably is supposed to sort of lower all the impotence to just striking up a conversation with someone it turns out that that lack of structure, in that lack of comfort, we run back to our comfort zone and hang out with people we already know. And there’s benefits to reconnecting with people you already know, it’s not totally worthless in that regard but…

Joshua: Sounds like most of my life up until I started working on the stuff.

David: Well, right. So, but one of the better things to do by a lot of this research point is to join what so the sociologist Brian Uzzi has a great term for. He’s also one of the network scientists featured prominently the book. He uses the term shared activities and he defines a shared activity as something really specific. It’s an event or gathering that draws a diverse set of people together where there is something at stake that is bigger than sort of any of them and the people basically have to work together to achieve that end. So that can be working on a nonprofit board, that can be like a pickup basketball league or like a formal sort of softball league for grownups, that could be building a house for habitat for humanity. It can be a bunch of things.

Actually, in New York where you are and you may know him but one of the guys that feature in this chapter is Jon Levy who builds a kind of a really influential network doing dinner parties where people have to cook. They arrive and they find out that they’re going to be paired together and given a task and everybody is going to cook the meal that they’re about to eat. It’s a great example of like the steaks aren’t too high like the world will not end if you burn the chicken. But they’re high enough to force you to have to get to know that person that you are paired with where otherwise because the demands of a freeform cocktail party networking event are none. You just cling to your comfort zone. When the demands are here’s what we have to accomplish by working together you have to learn about the other person, you have to work together, you have to get to know them. So Brian Uzzi suggests that you come out of these shared activities with newer connections to more diverse people because the networking almost happens by accident. Okay, so now fast forward to me.

Joshua: Oh, wait. Can I interrupt to ask?

David: Oh, yeah, go.

Joshua: Because it strikes me that when people do an event strictly for networking they’re actually shooting themselves in the foot because they’re not giving people something to do and so people when left to just talk to each other they retreat.

David: Yes, exactly right. And I have to say it’s a little bit different than like when you’re at a trade show or you’re at a company meeting and they plan that sort of networking hour or cocktail hour before the dinner type of thing. That’s a different event than these sort of like meetup.com networking events where there’s just freeform and the whole purpose is to meet each other. But exactly right. They almost shoot themselves in the foot because the goal, the thinking is that if I bring people together through the promise of like I don’t know free liquor or something and that that there is nothing at stake so people are free to converse with anyone, people will converse with anyone but the opposite happens. We converse with fewer people, we spend way more time people we already know. When there is something else that people have to do that’s something that they have to do forces them to line up next to strangers and people who are not similar to them and they end up in conversation with those people.

So, like I said two examples from my life that demonstrate this. The first is that for the last 11 years, 12 years in July I’ve been training and practicing and Brazilian jujitsu which is an amazing art for a bunch of different reasons. But one of the weirdest things is about four years into it I looked back and realized that I had a far more diverse set of friends because of it. So, you know I’ve met folks that are lawyers and doctors but also folks that are construction workers. One guy literally volunteered after practice one time to come to my house and climb on the roof and check the roof for damages from a hailstorm. You just meet these incredibly diverse people that come together to practice this art and you meet them by accident. I wouldn’t go have lunch with a lot of these type of people because I wouldn’t see that sort of networking utility right. But this activity draws me to that.

The other thing that’s cool is that I can pretty much go to any city in the world now and seek out like is there a gym that I’m already connected to that either somebody’s come and visited ours or we know each other because if filiation and I can go visit a gym there and start in a totally new city with a couple of connections through this art.

Joshua: For that to work do you have to reach a certain level of mastery or can you dabble in it and still work?

David: I mean I know folks that have done it from I mean I would say you have to reach a level of non-embarrassingness. So you know for jujitsu you spend almost the first two years, 18 months to two years as a white belt. So you can be a white belt but I wouldn’t be… I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months. And the less experienced I am in it the more I would rely on like the owner of the gym, my teacher to make the introduction for me to say you know so… And that is how basically I started out.

Joshua: So you were able to… What I heard was purpose, like you created a purpose and I don’t mean purpose in some deep sense although it may achieve that. But doing something instead of just networking. And so this is I take it a subset of what you’ll what you get when you read the book.

David: Yes, although my story is not in the book because I I’m bored with myself. And there are people that are way more exciting. But yes, this idea around this principle of shared activity is that people don’t mix at mixers, that things where there’s something at stake draw people closer to each other than things where there’s free form and that you can structure those things and they don’t have to be high. I mean I’m talking about a 30-minute podcast that if it goes terrible we just don’t air it. John Levy’s talking about a dinner where like worst case scenario they get takeout. So it doesn’t have to be these huge high stakes things but inviting people in to do something with you will build a deeper connection faster to those people than just let’s get together for lunch, let’s do coffee, let’s chit chat etc. That’s not going to work. We already know that we’ve been trying it for years and wondering why we bother to go back to those type of events.


Joshua: Now I have to shift to talk about something purposeful because the title of the podcast is Leadership and the Environment. We’ve been leaning heavily on the leadership part and I want to bring in some environment here. Actually, I want to ask is the environment something that matters to you? We haven’t touched on yet not that we would have. But is it something that is important to you?

David: So, I got to be weird. I mean to get a couple of pieces of hate mail for saying it this way but if you listen to the end, you’ll get it. No, no, it’s not. But people are important to me. And one of the things that I realized in this book is that like I said earlier we’re all part of one network 7.4 billion people strong and counting which means that were we’re all connected. Which means that I have a responsibility to all of those people not just the people I’m closest connected to but sort of all of those people. One of the people that we feature in the book is Scott Harrison from Charity Water. And as I’m writing the book and interview with him I’m starting to realize like I’m a few handshakes away from people who still cannot get clean water. That’s unacceptable. You know what I mean? They’re still in the network. We still feed off each other. We are all sort of interconnected. And so, the idea that I would be apathetic to their plight is unacceptable.

I have this mentality that like if we don’t take care of the environment all the people are going to die but Earth is going to probably be fine. She’s a big planet. She can take care of herself. But if we don’t and you miss the middle part, you don’t take care of it, it is going to die. That’s a huge problem because everybody is my network. I need to care about everybody in that network and I have responsibility to act in ways that provide value and provide help to that network. So, no but also yes.

Joshua: I’m glad you made that distinction. If I read you right to me… Yes. Environment, it’s kind of abstract. It’s like this abstract thing. Like to me the moon is in my environment. I don’t really care if people kick the sand around and mess up the moon that much. What matters to me is if what I do affects other people. I totally agree with that. And that’s a distinction that I think is really important because just like lots of stuff that doesn’t really matter to me. But if it affects other people it does. And so, when I’m like thinking of I don’t know car exhaust I’m thinking someone’s going to breathe this like my nephew has asthma. If I press on the gas that means I’m affecting someone. I don’t like that he got asthma. I mean maybe it will happen anyway but maybe you know my understanding is it goes up because of pollution. So, for you it’s other people. So if I make that distinction I think you actually clearly said but I’ll ask anyway how you affect other people is mediated through the air and water and land that we breathe or that we share.

David: Exactly. No, that’s exactly right.

Joshua: And I’m glad also that you didn’t jump in like out of people jump in when they hear environment, they think global warming but it’s not just global warming. Or did I misread you? It’s also these other things like…

David: No, no, I mean I think you’re right that most people when they hear the term environment they jump to abstract things like global warming or like ozone layer before that or like or they might jump to something like this sort of the giant trash heap in the Pacific ocean etc.

Joshua: There’s more than one.

David: So the giant trash heaps, plural. For me it was thinking about it I just tell you that there are six hundred thousand people on the planet that still don’t have access to clean water, that’s a statistic and it’s a travesty. If I tell you that those people are a friend of a friend of a friend, that you are already connected to those people that some of your friends have met those people, that some of your friends are family with those people, that’s a far more compelling reason to start taking action than anything else.

Joshua: So given that you have these compelling reasons to act that you’ve identified and you feel and it sounds intuitively or viscerally that you are a couple of handshakes away from people who don’t have clean water, people who don’t have other things, would you be willing… I invite you and your option to act on one of these things? And that’s why I asked people do on this podcast is to act on something that they care about and I have to put in a couple constraints and loosening up constraints because I’ve learned that I have to say it doesn’t have to change…. It doesn’t to fix all the world’s problems all by yourself overnight.

David: But it can’t be something that I am already doing, right?

Joshua: Yeah, it can’t be something you’re already doing and it can’t be something that is awareness or knowledge or facts that you know it has to be something measurable and not that you can be telling other people what to do. But one thing that I find that most people have something in mind that they’ve been like you know I’ve been trying to think about how to do X or Y.

David: Yeah. So, I’ve actually been anticipating this on a pick and I will say I’ve arrived at something, we’ll do it, we’ll follow up with it, it’s one half maybe not even a half sort of environmental and it’s another half in that sort of realization. So again, the big thing that came out of this book and the big sort of running theme has been this idea of water. And so I’ve been thinking about what is my challenge going to be and it is that I really like hot water especially when I’m trying to get clean and I’m going to try and avoid it. So, I’m going to try and take as much colder showers as possibly even baths even reduce less water. But the biggest thing is gas. I also live in an oil and gas state. So, the awareness of not using as much of it is a big thing but I think there’s also sort of the awareness that this is a small way to reduce emissions, a small way to reduce output. Where I live because we’re near the producers, oil and gas is so cheap right. Like utility bills here are ridiculously cheap. And as a result, people use it more and I probably use it more than I should.

Joshua: Do you know about me and cold showers?

David: I don’t. I know you take a bunch of burpees and I was thinking maybe this could be my 10 burpees in the morning without actually having to put my face on the ground.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s also cold showers evolves from… They come after burpees and…

David: [unintelligible] because I don’t want to do burpees.

Joshua: Actually, yeah, I found that burpees are… They are a nice SIDCHA – my self-imposed daily challenging healthy activity but cold showers give you almost all the benefits at even less cost. And I think you’re in for a treat even if it’s not pleasurable and lucky if you are heading into spring right now. So I like to make the goal a SMART goal, so specific measurable and so forth. And how long do you think it’ll take you to do for this to have something to share with the audience?

David: You know I don’t know. I don’t know when an interesting time for follow could be. I mean certainly I can make the shower cold tomorrow but it’s probably going to take some getting used to. So like you know starting warm and gradually getting colder type of thing maybe that will be better to dive into it.

Joshua: I did it every day for 30 days but now I do it once every fourth day. If you do it every day, a tip of the hat.

David: That’s OK. I’ll go every other day or every other shower. Because sometimes it take two showers a day depending on gym etc. So I’ll go every other shower. And I don’t know, is 30 days check back in a month a good timeframe or when do you normally do your follow ups?

Joshua: I mean a month sounds like totally reasonable.

David: Well, that was… I’m keying off of you, that was your challenge. So yeah, let’s do that.

Joshua: All right. So today’s April 3, so I propose that we schedule May 3. Let’s see, let me have my calendar. May 3 is open for me. Do you mind if we schedule now?

David: Yeah, we can do it. I’m [unintelligible] time normally afternoons like this work best and I am looking at that provided I mean hopefully the book is so popular that I’ll have to reschedule with you because that’s two days after launch but if not, I’m wide open that afternoon.

Joshua: We could do it maybe a couple days of before… But is it better before launch or better after launch?

David: No, let’s do it after or during, it will be fun. We can get a check in on that too, I guess.

Joshua: Yeah, that would be great. So then how about 3 pm my time on 3rd?

David: Okay, sounds good to me. We put it in.

Joshua: All right and then you’ll get an invitation from me.

David: Alright. Well if I get an invitation, I won’t put it in.

Joshua: Okay. I’ll put it in.

David: Does this part get listened to too? Do people listen to us being super boring looking at our calendars?

Joshua: Yes, but it probably gets edited. Although this might be kept, these exact words might be left in so that people can have a little chuckle.

David: Okay, well. Hi everyone thanks for sharing and letting me talk about my calendar with you and having me admit that I two days after the book comes out I have nothing on my calendar so that makes me feel great about my message.

Joshua: More like they’re saying note to self: experts leave days open after the after launch so they can handle what comes their way.

David: Well, that’s true. I actually we do have like we have a launch day slew of stuff and so yeah, the second half that we kind of is a let’s just be at home and we’ll respond to stuff as it comes and if not, we’ll sleep.

Joshua: So, do you like to finish with… Do you have any messages for listeners, something to share with them? It could be about the book, it could be what we talked about or the challenge or anything.

David: Yeah, I mean so obviously I hope you check out the book and I hope you buy copies in triplicate. I don’t have any idea whether or not you should do cold showers yet although Josh says you should. So, I’ll let you know about that in a month.

I guess the biggest thing would be you know I’m happy if people flip the mental model they use when they use the term networking and they flip from like the goal is not to add connections to your contacts, your phone or connections on LinkedIn. It’s not necessarily additive. The goal is to have an awareness that you already exist inside of a three-dimensional network and that the other elements of that network beyond just people being connected to you are also important, in fact that they are arguably hugely important for explaining who gets connected to you and why. So, pay attention and see your whole network, not just the people that you see in your news feed on social media whether you have the e-mail address or something like that. It’s about much more than that of when you figure out how to map that network out and navigate accordingly the benefits are tremendous.

Joshua: I’m really glad you said that because I’ve never heard someone say something like that and it seems obvious. I feel like why didn’t someone tell me that a long time ago? And of course, there’s a lot of detail that you alluded to which I guess the book will have.

David: Yes. Yes. So check it out because it’s in the book Friend of a Friend. And if you don’t, I’ll be really sad when we are [unintelligible].

Joshua: On that note with me laughing, I’m going to wrap up. And I look forward to hearing about the cold shower experience in a few weeks. Thank you.

David: Thanks. I hopefully look forward to telling you about it.


If you know me, you know I love cold showers and the benefits that they bring at virtually no cost. It’s just a big challenge and reduces your fossil fuel use. And we’ve also emailed since and while I avoid talking with guests about their personal commitments to keep that on the recordings I know he started it I think the very next day because he was grumbling about it. Going back to what he cares about the environment I’m glad that he rooted it in other people because for a lot of people environment is abstract and that keeps people from acting on it. Whereas for him it’s people that he cares about, people he observes as well as people in general. Connecting with people who care about that as meaning and value, to me that’s leadership.

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