This week's retro wednesday is all about how the collecting of trading cards is great prep for networking. Check it out!
September 28, 2011
What comic trading cards taught me about networking
When I was a kid, I loved going to the store and buying packs of Marvel trading cards. I bought tons of packs and there were even a few instances where I bought an entire box of these cards. I would then take the cards out, organize them and finally place them into binders with plastic sheets. The cards were numbered with usually about 200 in a set and had five hologram cards. Each hologram was randomly placed throughout the 36 packs. You might get 1 or 2 holograms per box. So I would spend a ton of money on these packs of cards and often end up with a ton of doubles and triples of the cards. I would then place the doubles in the same sleeve and continue on. Sometimes I would create multiple full sets and then put them in my room. Little did I realize that I was training myself to become very good at networking...
So here's the way it breaks down:
The connections we make are the cards and just as there is only one Spiderman card and one Magneto with a specific number, most people have 1 specific profession.
In the Marvel Universe there are thousands of superheroes and supervillians each with specific powers and in the real world there are billions of individuals each with specific talents and abilities and professions.
Holograms are the rare cards that only come around once in awhile. If you have read The Tipping Point, Connectors, Salesman, and Mavens are the holograms of our world. They are not as plentiful as the rest of the cards, but they are sought after and if you have a complete set, your binder increases in value.
Doubles or triples of cards get added to the same sleeve or become a part of separate sets, when you find people who have the same job you group them and then have 4 or 5 people to refer to when someone asks you, meaning you are more likely to find them the best match.
The cards get put in sheets to protect them from scratches, bent corners, and fading. The people in the network are placed in a rotation of correspondence so that they feel informed and supported by you.
So the next time you are thinking about building your network, ask yourself:
Are you making a complete set or just piling up doubles and triples?
Are you making sure that your set includes holograms?
Are you taking care of the cards and keeping them from damage?
If you are building a diverse network and taking care of your people, then when you do finally complete that set, it's going to be priceless.