• The 9 Skills Needed to Become a Super Connector

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    by James Altucher: 7
    Things I Learned from My 8 Greatest Teachers



    I did this as a guest
    post on TechCrunch
    yesterday and now publishing here.

    I know why I’m not a billionaire. Other than having
    the consistent self-sabotaging quality of destroying money in massive
    bonfires every time I sell a company I also have a severe psychosocial
    disorder which makes me a horrible connector of people. Connecting
    people who can benefit each other is the most useful skill you can
    have on the entrepreneurial ladder of skills. When you help others
    make money by connecting them together, the world forces itself
    into the moeubius strip of success that brings the money right back
    to you times ten. Some billionaires are great at it. If I write
    Mark Cuban an email he responds in two seconds even though he doesn’t
    even know me. He’s a “Super Connector”. I know quite a few talented
    super connectors and they will be very successful as they grow into
    it. Future Mark Cubans. [See, “How
    I Helped Mark Cuban Make a Billion Dollars and 5 Other Things I
    learned from him”.]

    I’m horrible at following up. I also burn bridges. I used to play
    a nice social game of Wordtwist on Facebook every day with Don Graham,
    the publisher/owner of the Washington Post. Then I wrote a blog
    “Don Graham is a Punk”
    . Guess what. He doesn’t play Wordtwist
    with me anymore. Another time I was trying to get a job working
    for the hedge fund manager Stevie Cohen
    . He wanted me to share
    a few trades with him as I was doing them. We IMed back and forth
    a bit during the trades. One trade didn’t work out and I was ashamed
    of it. So I stopped IMing him. After a few days of this billionaire
    IMing me with, “Where’d you go?” I blocked him on my IM list and
    that was that.

    But that said, I love meeting new people and I’ve always done a
    good job with the initial skills involved with meeting new people.
    I feel like I can meet anyone in the world that I want to. Whether
    I make use of that meeting is another story. In fact, it’s a fairy
    tale. Because I seldom do the follow up correctly.

    But here are the 9 Skills you Need to Become a Super-Connector.

    1. Introduce two other connectors — this is an
    unbelievable technique. If you can introduce two people who are
    themselves great connectors then you become a meta-connector. They
    will meet and get along (connectors get along with each other for
    two reasons: they are naturally friendly people
    (hence their ability to connect so easily with people) AND
    they have a lot of friends in common almost by definition.)
    If you are in the middle of that connection then they will always
    remember you and you’ll always be on their mind for future potential
    connections they can make that would be useful FOR YOU. And their
    rolodexes are immense. So if you need to meet Prince William of
    England, for instance, or Ellen Degeneres then just connect two
    connectors and the next thing you know you’ll be dancing right down
    the aisle with Ellen on her show or bowing to Kate Middleton, or
    whatever you want to do. Ellen? Kate? Uma?

    2. Introduce two people with an idea in mind:
    Marsha, meet Cindy. Cindy, meet Marsha. Marsha, you are the best
    book editor in the world. Cindy, your book is the best book idea
    I have ever heard. You both can make money together. No need to
    “cc” me.

    In other words, if you can help two other people make money then
    eventually, good things will happen to you. In cases where I’ve
    been able to do this (rare, but it’s happened) I always tell people
    who say “what can I do for you” that “if they ever find me in the
    gutter with blood leaking from my mouth and a needle sticking out
    of the veins in my elbow then at the very least pull the needle
    out.” That’s all I ask. The first time I ever did this I went home
    (1994) and told my girlfriend, “I just helped two people make money
    for the first time ever.” And she said, “yeah, but what did you
    get?” I got nothing. But I felt something. I felt like I had done
    good in the world and that if I kept doing it, eventually it would
    return to me. And it did. With those very two people that first
    time but about years later.

    3. Have a dinner of interesting people. I’ve only
    done this twice. When the last Star Wars prequel came out I invited
    people from every aspect of my life (friends, hedge funds, writers)
    to a dinner, I got everyone movie tickets, and it was a fun night.
    I solidified my relationships with some of my investors, plus some
    of the funds I was invested in, and I managed to connect people
    up who later did business together. On another occasion I threw
    a party for everyone who had been fired by thestreet.com. It got
    a little awkward when the guy who had done most of the firing (who
    had himself been fired right before then) was also there but it
    was all in good fun. Not sure how much goodwill it created for me.
    Too early to tell.

    But, I much more enjoy GOING to the dinner that I’m invited to.
    [See, “Why
    a Grenade Needs to Get Thrown At Me”
    ] I’ve met a lot of interesting
    people. My main problem is is that my normal bedtime is about 8pm.
    So sometimes I fall asleep at the table and everyone thinks I’m
    on drugs. And other times I just can’t go to the diner because I
    know I won’t be functional the next morning when I like to write.
    But sometimes I got just because Claudia gets sick of having me
    around all the time and pushes me out the door. So please keep inviting

    4. Following up. This
    is the hardest part for me. I have a list five years old of people
    who introduced me to people I actually wanted to be introduced
    to and then I never followed up. For instance, a few months ago
    I wrote a post “Burton
    Silverman, are you dead yet??
    ” Burton Silverman is one of
    my favorite artists. I wanted to know if he was dead to see if
    the value of one of his paintings had gone up. Guess what? HE
    WROTE ME to tell me he wasn’t dead yet. And as I type this, his
    studio is only a few blocks away. I could visit him right now
    if I want. Except…for some reason I never returned his email.
    He’s on my list. But followup is my hardest part. Then I put it
    off until I start to feel guilty about not following up. So then
    I push back the follow-up even more. At my first company I hired
    someone to follow up for me. Claudia tells me she will follow
    for me on emails. But I have a hard time letting other people
    do things for me that I should really be doing for myselves. For
    awhile, there was a dwarf from the circus that was willing to
    wipe me but I ultimately had to let him go. I just couldn’t go
    through with it.

    But needless to say, if you make a connection, it’s so easy to
    KEEP it by just saying, “hey, it was great meeting you. Lets do
    that again in a month or so.” Why the hell can’t I ever do easy
    things? Instead of writing this post I could simply write an email
    to 400 people on my list, including Silverman. Something is mentally
    wrong with me.

    the rest of the article

    29, 2011

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