mardi, novembre 28, 2006

Are French and German not interested in “social networking”?

I have several thousands of 1st level LinkedIn connections who gave me access to about 55% of the total LinkedIn users. Like you, I can see the top 5 locations where my network is the most developed.

In my network, the top 5 locations are: UK 8%, Bay area 7%, NY 6%, France 4% and Netherland 4%. Germany does not even appear.

UK, Germany and France have roughly the same population around 60 millions. Netherland have less than 20 millions inhabitants a third of the population of the above countries.

So are are french and german not interested in “social networking”?

The truth is that germans and frenchs are as much interested in social networking as other western countries, but they are using other networking social sites than LinkedIn.

Germans use Xing (ex-OpenBC) and frenchs use Viadeo (ex-Viaduc).

750 000 french people are on Viadeo whether 300 000 are on LinkedIn.

If you want to reach french and german people today, you also have to be present on Xing and Viadeo.

To have a good start-up on Viadeo, I invite you as an open networker with thousands of Viadeo 1st level connections to connect with me by clicking

Read also: LinkedIn, The World, France, Germany and China

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vendredi, octobre 13, 2006

My last IBM meeting: a new concept

Years ago, I was a proud IBMer in Corbeil (FR), RTP (USA) and La Gaude (FR).

A few weeks ago, I was invited to “The Greater IBM Connection” here , here or even better here.

“The Greater IBM Connection” is a bunch of IBMers and ex-IBMers who wish to connect, communicate and collaborate.

As you may be aware, IBM was and is still present in a lot of countries around the world. As IBM alumnis, as we call ourselves, wanted to meet and not just communicate through emails and blogs, some face to face meetings were set up in various cities. I always refused the invitations as these meetings were taking place too far from where I now live and work (France and Switzerland).

Then came another invitation taking place at first sight in New-York. I told myself, “yet another one, I’ll have to decline”. Then on second sight, I read that it took place here on a website named Second Life…

I want to share here my experience at this meeting (Oct 12th, 2006) with you and invite you to “The Greater IBM Connection” if you are or were a proud IBMer. This was for me the first concrete result from participating to the “The Greater IBM Connection”: discovering and living a new concept.

First of all I had to register on SL (2ndlife) create an Avatar (an image of myself in SL), learn to move and interact with the world and other avatars through SL IM (instant messaging). Then you modify your appearance (clothing, hairs, etc…). After half an hour you’re set, ready to second live.

The Meeting

A few days later I went to the meeting, a specific place on SL, by teleporting. By the way, you can also fly in SL which is a great experience. I was welcomed by the organizers, and the meeting took place there.

In addition to being there in the SL meeting room, we had to be also on a conference call on the regular phone.

We first had some powerpoint presentations commented on the phone by various people as seen on the snapshot I took during the meeting. In SL I’m “Kebra Sakai” with the turquoise zebra shirt, listening carefully and staring at the greaterIBM slide…

Questions could be asked through the phone.

Then we gathered in small focus groups around tables discussing some specific topics. To communicate around the tables we used IM shared by table rather than the phone, to discriminate between discussion groups.

The last phase of the meeting was spent doing direct IM communication two by two to know specific peoples.

After two hours I left the meeting and teleported elsewhere after a flight around the meeting building.


We’re still at dawn of such practices:

  • We still need a regular phone for conference calls to be able to listen to people.
  • We have sometimes difficulties to master the interface to interact with SL.
  • We are just not used to attend meetings this way.

But it makes these kind of meetings more lively than conf calls with a netmeeting presentation. From my point of view this is especially important when you meet people for the 1st time.

I guess it is going to be more and more common to have such meetings who bring some second life to today’s meeting.

By joining “The Greater IBM Connection”, I hope to participate to such other meetings and discover some revolutionary concepts such as this one.

please find other blogposts on this specific subject here.

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lundi, août 07, 2006

OpenBC is gaining ground on LinkedIn.

Try this link:

By the way don't try to compare with Viaduc because it won't tell you anything except that Viaduc is often associated with Millau (Viaduc de Millau) as google trend done with "LinkedIn, OpenBC, Viaduc" gives same result as "LinkedIn, OpenBC, Millau".

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lundi, juillet 10, 2006


At least for me…

Quantity brings quality part I: How does quantity bring quality to MY network?

Here is my experience where I discovered that quantity does bring quality to my network.

I started like a regular networker, having a LinkedIn profile and a bunch of contacts. Once, a year ago, users I did not know, invited me. And I accepted their invitations.

Then I began to connect with people I did not really know but with whom we had common interests. While I gradually increased the number of my connections I got more and more users contacting me for interessant new opportunities proposals. Regularly these people tell me that they contact me because of my number of connections, that enable them to have more visibility through my network and by extension more visibility through their network.

This is why I write that in my case quantity does bring quality.

Let’s now make some theory.

Quantity brings quality part II: Who are the LinkedIn users I invited?

Every LinkedIn user looks more for quality rather than quantity. Quantity is a clear concept for all LinkedIn users. It means a quantity of 1st level connections. Quality is another matter, quality can mean different things for many people. It can be asked in two ways, quality or/and networking goals.

Some questions

What is quality for me?

Is quality, really knowing my connections so that I can discover new opportunities through a “trusted” chain of LinkedIn users?


Is quality the ability to discover new opportunities even if I do not personnally know the people involved?

What are my networking goals?

Are they just to manage my network of people I personnally know?


Are they to maximizing chances to find new opportunities by meeting people I have not personnally met?

From answers to these questions we can outline several user’s profile (see sacred cow dung web site from Chris Mayaud at for more details).

Let’s simplify this classification by writing that we have 2 kinds of LinkedIn users: “regular” networkers and “open” networkers.

Regular networkers only connect with people they personnally know while open networkers may accept connections with users they don’t personnally know.

We will now try to know what is the ratio between regular and open networkers in the LinkedIn network.

Some numbers

I have invited several thousands of people who were working in domains similar to mine but whom I did not personnally know. Inviting people you do not personnally know is strictly forbidden by LinkedIn and I stopped doing so 9 months ago. But I got some results to be analyzed from this random/blind invitations experience.

I can see from the ratio between users who accepted my invitation and those who did not accept that roughly 40% of LinkedIn users are open networkers.

If you are a “regular” networker stop reading this post here, but if you are on the 40% open networker side please go on!

I think we may find some common ground...

Quantity brings quality part III: Back to something concrete for open networkers

As you can imagine I am open to ALL connections from LinkedIn users who have the common goal of increasing our number of connections so YOU and I can bring quality to our networks.

Connect with me using the “Invite Eric to connect” link in the top right green window at the top of my LinkedIn profile that you can find at click "I know Eric" and put my email

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mardi, juin 27, 2006

Dinosaurs demise Part IV: epitaph

We talked about dying dinosaurs and mummies in the previous chapter.

Where do you find dinosaurs remnants and mummies today?

You usually find them in museum.

I invite you to visit the mega-networker museum where you will find these dinosaurs or mummies.

We’re talking about web stuff, so it’s an online museum.

Let’s surf at This is a brother museum from the one I wrote about in part I.

Here comes the curator: Marc Freedman already expelled from LinkedIn top50.

Have a look at the 1st display:

Here, Marc Freedman curator, reintegrated the LinkedIn place he lost in this already dusty museum.

If this display was complete (this is a half empty museum) you should see Marjan Bolmeijer. Marjan is an already discouraged mega-networker, refusing to play the networking game, that is to transmit requests. She is an already inactive/mummified mega-networker.

This is the common fate of mega-networker, as they don’t see any interest of being a mega-networker anymore, they let their network die and with themselves some of their direct connections.

Let’s now have a look at the 2nd display:

Only one pathetic person trying to still have the sacred online networking fire: myself.

Here is the epitaph: “Tell the king the ornately designed temple has collapsed. Phoebus no longer has a home, nor a mantic laurel, nor a talking spring. The babbling water has run dry.”

This epitaph was first uttered in year 362 AD by Delphi Oracle concerning its own demise. This was the end of classical greek culture, a foundation of the modern western world.

Start the story again...

Dinosaurs demise Part III: Konstantin, kill’em all!

Konstantin, please, find here my 2 cents advices to complete LinkedIn evolution towards the ultimate online business networking tool. Now you should specifically implement steps 3 and 4 detailed below.

3rd step : enforce the no email policy (summer 2008).

goal is to earn money.

Having it’s email visible is kind of having a free “personal plus” account. You can be contacted by everyone but freely.

Make people pay for visibility!

4th step: take off the “sort by number” search option (december 2008).

Goal is to just kill the mega-networkers and definitely get rid of those pests.

if you take off the “sort by number” search option, mega-networkers are now undistinguishable from any regular user. They can’t compare their connection numbers between each other and thus they lose one of their motivation that set thenm apart from the regular user.

It will probably be like the unthinkable catastrophe that destroyed dinosaurs millions years ago. Mega-networkers will slowly wither and return to ashes or at least be mummified.

Now that LinkedIn is enforcing its rules and that there is no user annoyance problem let’s see in part IV the destiny of the mummified mega-networkers.

vendredi, juin 23, 2006

Dinosaurs demise Part II: mega-networker twilight

Once LinkedIn has been established as a serious and widely adopted online business tool, there came the problem of becoming profitable and fix complaints by spammed users. Here are 2 steps that have been implemented addressing these concerns.

1st step: cutting visibility from 4 to 3 levels (summer 2005).

Goal was to improve profitability by being able to sell new features such as the openlink.

Openlink makes the problem of being separated irrelevant: you’re accessible by almost anyone. But if you have 4 levels of visibility, provided that you havea few dizains of connections, you are also accessible by everyone.

2nd step: limit mega-networkers activity (winter 2006).

Goal was, and still is, to avoid some annoying side effects due to mega-networkers activity.

These mega-networking side effects are listed below:

  • high: sometimes do some borderline spamming to collect new connections and thus being an annoyance to other regular users.
  • high: spoil the network by removing all signification to the chain of trust between users.
  • low: non paying privilege access due to number of connections

Concretely limiting mega-networking activity is done by:

  • number of connections are not displayed above 500.
  • users are not allowed to send more than 3000 invitations.

Having more than 5000 connections become almost impossible with the 3000 invitations cap.

There are still other steps to be taken to get people stop cheating and to get rid of the mega-networkers in order to be a spam free online business networking tool.

I will expose these other steps in part III.

mercredi, juin 21, 2006

Dinosaurs demise on Linkedin Part I: how LinkedIn ruled them all

Once upon a time, internet ages ago, in 1995, in the deep and wet marshes of the internet, a website: was created. was the first of a fairly high number of “online social network website” now a sizeable part of the online buzz.

Let’s look more closely at one of these website: LinkedIn. LinkedIn is arguably the first, in terms of users, in the online BUSINESS networking websites. Why is LinkedIn the first?

Let’s imagine you would want to launch an online BUSINESS networking tool. What would you do?

1st step: build a website with nice features.

It’s relatively easy but in terms of features what is the difference between a stalled tool (CIWI) and a successful one (OpenBC)? CIWI and OpenBC have exactly the same interface but one is an established success (OpenBC), the other (CIWI) is still in its infancy.

Having nice features is not enough. We need a 2nd step.

2nd step: get people registering AND using it.

You need to have lot of people participating to a network to make it attractive.

Mega-networkers animate a network because they are very active.

You need to motivate mega-networkers.

Mega-networkers can be motivated by:

  1. ability to invite lot of people to connect them.
  2. ability to receive, forward or initiate virtual or real encounters for discovering new opportunities.
  3. looking at what’s going on on the web.
  4. seeing their number of connections increasing.
  5. seeing that they have more connections than other mega-networkers (Yeah! I know it’s bad).

OK. So mega-networkers are, sometimes, motivated by seeing that they have more connections than others. Let’s have a search tool that has the ability to sort results by number of connections.

That’s what LinkedIn did in the early days…

LinkedIn early days

Let’s visit an online LinkedIn museum

When you go back to LinkedIn 2003 early days (, you observe that people like Reid Hoffmann and Konstantin Guericke were in the top 3 in numbers of connections.

Reid and Konstantin were the top mega-networkers of this period.

For people not aware: Reid and Konstantin still work at LinkedIn today.

Mega-networkers had a significant importance to the LinkedIn success, and were once part of its strategy for growth.

But the wheel of life turns for everyone and that brings us to part II of this article series.


This is an introduction to a serie of 4 articles about LinkedIn past, present and future complex relations with “mega-networkers”.

Glossary: a widely accepted definition is that Linkedin mega-networkers have, nowadays, thousand(s) of 1st level connections.

Audience for these articles is:
• LinkedIn administrators
• Mega-networkers, less than 0.1% of LinkedIn audience (but they are more active and visible than average LinkedIn users)
• Web historians and web ethnographs

If you’re not matching one of these 3 categories, DON’T READ THESE ARTICLES. You will lose your time and wonder how people can be so weird.

The plan is the following:

Part I: how LinkedIn ruled them all
LinkedIn early relations with mega-networking

Part II: mega-networker twilight
LinkedIn recent and current relations with mega-networking

Part III: Konstantin, kill’em all!
My 2 cents advice to LinkedIn administrators for the near future of LinkedIn.

Part IV: epitaph
“Tell the king the ornately designed temple has collapsed. Phoebus no longer has a home, nor a mantic laurel, nor a talking spring. The babbling water has run dry.”

Articles will also be posted in and

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jeudi, juin 01, 2006

freemind and treemap

Has anyone done some roundtrip transformation from freemind to treemap to freemind?

That would be way cool.

jeudi, mai 11, 2006


Someone wrote that my findings from a previous post which says “The time and effort required to multiply by 70 the number of 1st level connections from 100 to 7000 DOES NOT increase significantly visibility and ability to see through the network” contradict Reed’s and Metcalfe’s law.

Metcalfe's law states that the value of a network equals approximately the square of the number of users of the system (n2). Since a user cannot connect to itself, the actual calculation is the number of diagonals and sides in an n-gon: n*(n-1)/2

Reed's law is the assertion of David P. Reed that the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network.

The reason for this is that the number of possible sub-groups of network participants is 2**n-n-1, where N is the number of participants. This grows much more rapidly than either

  • the number of participants, N, or
  • the number of possible pair connections, n*(n-1)/2(which follows Metcalfe's law)

so that even if the utility of groups available to be joined is very small on a per-group basis, eventually the network effect of potential group membership can dominate the overall economics of the system.

To summarize Reed’s and Metcalfe’s laws says that the more you are connected the more opportunities you can find, and I say exactly the opposite…

Actually my findings do not contradict reed’s and metcalfe’s laws. When you read carefully Reed’s and Metcalfe’s laws, both use the verb “can” associated to possibility. These 2 laws stay at the theoretical level. while my findings are based on actual facts and real world where people even when they have the opportunity to connect to a lot of people only connect or accept to be connected to a limited number of people. And when trying to connect through a chain of people, the request is sometimes blocked.

Let me take the opportunity to re-phrase “Mariacher’s NETWORKING law ;-)” in other words:

On a total of 5.5 millions LinkedIn users, here are 2 guys active on LinkedIn trying to sort out if it is worth having 7000 LinkedIn connections compared to only 100?

This question is intended to be discussed as a pure quantity/mathematical question. I don't want to go here in a quantity vs quality discussion.

guy100 has:

  • 110 1st level connections (of these 110 connections 2 or 3 are connections to mega-connectors).
  • 50000 2nd level connections
  • 1.3 millions 3rd level connections

guy7000 has:

  • 7300 1st level connections
  • 650000 2nd level connections
  • 2.6 millions 3rd level connections

“Mariacher’s NETWORKING law :-)” which is based on actual findings and thus use the verb “do” or “be” instead of “can” is divided in 2 main chapters:

  • visibility
    • assign a value to every LinkedIn users based on its number of connections
    • finds that participants are not all equals: there are some active and passive LinkedIn users. The arbitrary threshold between a passive and active user is 1. LinkedIn users having more than 1 connection is called active.
    • sees that inside active Linkedin users there are some mega-networkers. The arbitrary threshold between a regular active user and a mega-networker is fixed to 1000.
    • knows that the more users are connected to other users the more:
      • they become active thus have their Linked networking value increase
      • you have the opportunity to see their profile
    • finds that when guy100 does an “elna” keyword search as described in (BASIC LINKEDIN USERS RADIOSCOPY on, he roughly sees as many active users as guy7000.

hence the 1st conclusion I made: “It is not worth having 100 connections instead of 7000 because you can see the same number of active LinkedIn users”.

now let’s go the connectivity chapter

  • connectivity
    • LinkedIn is so made that you can directly see the profiles of all your 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections BUT sadly :
      • there are some linkedIn users who sadly block requests (either intentionally or because they are away) when you try to reach LinkedIn users.
    • That is why guy7000 has more ways of ACTUALLY connecting to any LinkedIn user because he has more paths to have access to him.
    • by having more ways to connect to him, guy7000 also have more chances to see who any LinkedIn user knows.

To conclude with another metaphor “guy100 is standing just seeing through its network, guy7000 is seeing and moving in its network”.

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mardi, mai 09, 2006


On a total of 5.5 millions LinkedIn users, here are 2 guys active on LinkedIn trying to sort out if it is worth having 7000 LinkedIn connections compared to only 100?

This question is intended to be discussed as a pure quantity/mathematical question. I don't want to go here in a quantity vs quality discussion.

guy100 has:

  • 110 1st level connections (of these 110 connections 2 or 3 are connections to mega-connectors).
  • 50000 2nd level connections
  • 1.3 millions 3rd level connections

guy7000 has:

  • 7300 1st level connections
  • 650000 2nd level connections
  • 2.6 millions 3rd level connections

From these raw numbers we can see that 70 times more 1st level connections

only bring 13 times more 2nd level connections which in turn

only bring 2 times more 3rd level connections.

So is the time and effort required to multiply by 70 the number of 1st level connections increase significantly visibility and ability to see through the network?

I explained elsewhere (See BASIC LINKEDIN USERS RADIOSCOPY ) that probably half of the 5.5 millions LinkedIn users have only 1 connection and can be deemed as “inactive” LinkedIn users. Of my 2.6 millions 3rd level connections, probably 1 million to 1.5 millions are not active LinkedIn users.

With its 100 1st level connections guy100 has access roughly to the same number of active LinkedIn users as guy7000 who has 7000 1st level connections.

We can safely answer that the time and effort required to multiply by 70 the number of 1st level connections DOES NOT increase significantly visibility and ability to see through the network.

If by visibility we mean having access to profiles, the above answer is correct.

But if by visibility we mean ability not only to read the profile but to have more than one path to access this person then the answer might not be so clear.

Let’s suppose guy100 and guy7000 want to have access to a person, who for both, is a 3rd level connection. guy7000 will probably find 70 times more ways of accessing this person at 1st level and 13 times more ways at 2nd level.

In addition by seeing more paths, guy7000 will have more knowledge of “who his 1st and 2nd level connections know” by seeing “connections shared” list of connections.

To conclude with a metaphor the difference between having 110 and 7000 1st level connections is like the difference between looking at 2D and 3D images. You can see depth when looking at 3D images compared to flat 2D images.

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lundi, mai 08, 2006


The goal of this blog is to have a better knowledge of who participate to the LinkedIn business network.

I personally have on a total of 5.5 millions LinkedIn users:

  • 7300 1st level connections
  • 650000 2nd level connections
  • 2.6 millions 3rd level connections

The added number of my 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels connections show that I roughly have access to 60% of all LinkedIn users. I want to have a radioscopy of whom I miss.

Keyword search in LinkedIn outputs 2 kind LinkedIn users:

  • In a 1st tab: LinkedIn users belonging to your network at 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels up to 500 people.
  • In a 2nd tab: LinkedIn users NOT belonging to your network at 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels up to 20 people.

To have snapshot of LinkedIn users I did a search on a keyword that must have the following properties:

  • be neutral i.e. company or country dependant. (A 1st name would do except that 1st names are culture dependant). The neutrality of the keyword search is validated by the fact that you have the same proportion between people found in your network and people found outside your network.
  • bring less than 20 people NOT belonging to your network at 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels.

After a few tries, I found that the “elna” keyword fullfilled the previous 2 criterias.

16 LinkedIn users responding to “elna” criteria belong to my network while 12 do not, which more or less makes a 60% ratio which is the same as my overall ratio (3.3 millions vs 5.5 millions).

Here is a summary of the result:

  • people in my network:
    • more than 60 connections: 2
    • 8 to 60 connections: 4
    • 2 to 7 connections: 4
    • 1 connection: 6
  • people outside my network:
    • more than 60 connections: 0
    • 8 to 60 connections: 1
    • 2 to 7 connections: 4
    • 1 connection: 6

Here is a tentative radioscopy of LinkedIn users based on a basic snapshot:

  • more than 60 connections -> heavy networker: 7%
  • 8 to 60 connections -> concerned networker: 18%
  • 2 to 7 connections -> average networker: 28%
  • 1 connection -> passive networker: 43%

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samedi, mai 06, 2006

My 2 cents about Online Business Networking

1st advice “Grow your network while you don’t need it”
Perhaps you don’t need to network today, but what about tomorrow?

How do you know that you can’t have any better opportunity than today?

This “Grow your network while you don’t need it” statement may sound weird but it is essential as, to make your network grow, you need to dare inviting people who might decline your invitation. The people you sometimes “blindly” invite may consider you as a spammer. By extension you will also be seen as a spammer by LinkedIn administrators.

If you are in an urgent need of growing your network, for instance looking for your next job, you don’t want to be considered as a spammer, so you want to grow your network before you really need it.

2nd advice “know why you want to network”

As an example, Here are my goals:
I have 3 types of connections corresponding to 3 different networking styles:
  • connections (about 100) with people who really know me
  • connections where we do not know each others but we have something in common
  • connections for seeing, being visible and help people connecting.
    • When I'll be aware of some opportunity on Linkedin, I'll hope to be one connection closer as I have many 1st level connections, 2 millions 2nd level and 15 millions 3rd level. Plus thousands on other networking sites (Viadeo for France and Xing for Switzerland).

I am networking applying concurrently these 3 networking styles.

The number of people that I really or better know is growing thanks to GLE face to face meetings for instance or to email exchange I have with several people through LinkedIn.

Regarding “weak” connections meant “for seeing and being visible”, I spend about half an hour per day helping people to connect by forwarding requests, giving advices. I once forwarded a request between people of the same company (I am not part of this company).

These “weak” connections are also a way to rediscover people I really know from school or previous jobs.

Read more on this subject at HOW DOES QUANTITY BRING QUALITY?

3rd advice "get recommendations from current and past colleagues posted on your profile"

That is one of the top Linkedin or Viadeo feature that does not exists when simply posting your resume on the web.

4th advice "make heavy use of the Q&A feature (on Linkedin) or post on forums"

Show your competencies and what you stand for by using one of the top "LinkedIn plus" feature. By browsing through your questions and answers people wanting to know you better will get a better feeling of who you are. If not registered on LinkedIn use the web groups features (especially on Yahoo). (read also What will be the successor of the current user profile in online networks?, Finding a $250K contract on LinkedIn Answers - Steven Shimek, Ruder Finn PR ).

5th advice “never use standard boiler plate templates” when inviting people to connect

In your invitations be specific, explain clearly and honestly why YOU want to connect with them.

6th advice/fact “The more connections you have, the more time you must spend”

With 1000’s of connections, I spend at least half an hour a day to keep my network alive.
I forward requests, answer questions, give and read advices, Update some various wikis, participate to various Yahoo and Google groups.
By answering questions, forwarding requests, I give a little bit of my time to many people, I hope that a small portion of them will also spend some time when I'll need it.

7th advice “join yahoo networking groups. You will learn a lot”

8th advice “Read other 2 cents advices”

The Unofficial LinkedIn User's Guide for Executives and Professionals

Becoming a Promiscuous Linker on LinkedIn

The (unofficial) source for information about business (social) networking online

Helping Friends Career Network

Ten ways to get LinkedIn to work for you‘ written by Ajay Jain.

Interview of the "biggest" networker: Ron Bates

9th advice “Do not forget other ways of networking”

  • participate to face to face business networking in your region as GLE meetings.
  • publish white papers
  • participate to usenet groups.


After 6 years of networking, I still have 4 specifics reasons for getting as many contacts as possible on LinkedIn. Read more...