On linkedin last week, I asked how people can maximize serendipity. On http://www.dictionary.com, serendipity is defined as “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident”. Isn’t it interesting that they use the word “aptitude” which is defined as “the innate or acquired capacity for something”. To a large extent I believe we do make our own luck. I also believe that technology has increased our ability to do so dramatically. With things like blogs, twitter, linkedin, and all of the other social networking/media tools a person can multiply their opportunities for accidents.
According to Metcalfe’s Law, the power of a (telecommunications) network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users. Imagine applying this to your network of people. The challenge is that with telecommunications, all of the nodes have the same inherent value/utility. This is obviously not the case with the a personal network. In order to fully leverage opportunity as a network grows, you must spend time building relationships of value.
I have always been partial to the term guanxi when it comes to network building. You can google the term if you like and let me know what you think. You can also check it out at http://chinese-school.netfirms.com/guanxi.html.
I hope you have many happy accidents this week!