In this week's Retro post, I revisit how the main super villian from heroes can teach about networking.
Lessons a super villain taught me about networking
A few months back I was introduced via netflix to the television show Heroes. I know, I know, I'm one of the last people to see the series I'm sure, but when it was on I was never home. For those of you familiar with the show, you know that the main villain is the guy above. What's even more fascinating is how many parallels one can draw to what he does and what a really talented networker does.
1. Heightened levels of inquiry- The thing that made Sylar such a powerful villain throughout the series was his ability to understand how things work. By seeing what makes certain individuals tick (ha ha) , he was able to then take their powers. A solid networker takes the time to look at what makes other people tick. That heightened level of inquiry helps in discovering who would make a great business partner and who should be introduced to whom.
2. Going to the source- Once Sylar discovered that the source of people's powers were connected to the brain, he wasted no time. He went right for the source and scored powers left and right, albeit he was a bit messy when he did this. Good networkers don't waste time shooting out blind emails and blasting everyone in a five block radius. They target the people they know will be helpful to them and then go directly to those people.
3. Prioritize- Once Sylar realized what powers could help him accomplish certain tasks, he made it a point to find those people first and get one power that would allow him easy access to others with powers. Good networkers do this too. They take the time to think about what other people are good at and how their connections to one person help in connecting to others.
4. Strategy- There are many times in the series where Sylar is captured, hurt, killed etc. In every one of these instances, he finds a way out because he is strategic. He knows that it's a bad idea to try and escape from one place, so he gets the guard to come closer and then figures out a way to shut the alarms off etc. A good networker thinks in the same strategic way. They think about how one interaction will help them three steps down the line rather than in the moment.
5. He ships- Love him or hate him, he always gets things done. He does whatever he says he's going to do and for that reason not many people can stop him. Good networkers ship. They make good on their promises of introductions and referrals and they back up what they say. For this reason they are the ones who do get things done.
So there you have it. If you have never watched the series, check it out. It's really some great writing and you may pick up even more tips from seeing how Syalr operates.
And the next time you meet someone in a networking scenario, think about what makes them
Tick, tick, tick.....