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15 in ’15: Turning Networking on its Head

In recent months, one of the biggest topics has been the “sharing” or “barter” economy, enabled by the latest range of apps, online exchanges and other digital tools. Among other thoughts this has prompted, I had a realization that these tools represent reservoirs of non-financial wealth, wealth that can be given and shared at least as easily as it can be monetized.

Around New Year, I hit 2500 LinkedIn contacts. In so doing, it struck me that this was a massive reservoir of “wealth”, but one requiring some agitation to unlock and spread that wealth. So, I launched my personal project for the year: “15 in ’15”–an effort to recruit people to make 15 introductions between people in their own networks-for no specific agenda.

The idea–even though most people make a few connections between friends and colleagues, very few of even the most socially generous people intentionally look for introductions to make. A target, say 15 in ’15, and a commitment to participate, focuses the mind and calls to action.

So far, I have mobilized 11 participants and already made a dozen introductions of my own, between peers, people with common interests, and people who could potentially do business together. Naturally, I would be delighted to have more participants on the team–let me know in the comment field or send me a note if you want to participate.

In joining, we’ll turn networking on its head-from being mainly about career advancement to being social philanthropy. By shifting the approach to networking-it changes the terms.