Through my two years of studying at university, I have been graced with many opportunities. Friends who I scored Hackathons with; mentors who guided me on professional and private life matters; gracious recommendation letters that I received for my work; and interviews for jobs and scholarships that I’ve gotten from mutual friends.
What is the commonality above? That I have substance. Maybe not; I’m 100% sure there are many more out there who are more knowledgeable, with better GPA and a CV 10,000 lumen brighter than mine. So no, that is not the differentiating factor.
The commonality above is the friends I’ve made.
Ali Abdaal had an anecdote in his podcast on there existing three doors to every opportunity. Imagine wanting to get into an exclusive event, maybe a fan-meeting with Taylor Swift.
- The first door is the usual door. You work hard, earn money, turn on your computer at precisely 6.00 a.m; to purchase a lottery fan-meet ticket, and hope that the lucky stars fall upon you: high effort, low chance.
- The second door is for the rich, buying their way through. Money does work wonders in many situations: low effort, high chance.
- The third door is via mutual networks. Knowing a friend who knows a mutual friend who personally knows Taylor Swift (or her manager) could mean a private dinner or sundaes in the park with her: low effort, high chance, crazy perks.
The point is that people and networks open doors. Doors that aren’t publicly posted: not on LinkedIn, through Twitter, or Glassdoor (pun intended). The third door is a secret door.
What about traditional methods?
Traditional means of networking, albeit its effectiveness in bonding emotionally, is vastly ineffective. Your skills – the value you can bring to other people – is all that matters in networking.
In networking events, the way you exhibit your worth is limited by the duration of your conversations and your 2-by-4 inch name-card. Traditionally, you try to project value via your name-card, with a sophisticated title with an excellent company logo. Giving out cards after cards, with a hope that someone in the crowd reads it and – on the off chance – hopes to connect with you. And you don’t wanna be that person who keeps tooting their horn in the short 5 minutes conversations you share (not cool, friend, it is pathologically narcissistic).
The gist being, in the age of the internet today, this is the first door. You work your butt off, and yet hitting it off on anything is probabilistic-ally a minute.
This is why I am showing my work online. Imagine a name-card, with not only my CV attached, but the complete documentation on how I plowed through my projects. How I struggled and learned and achieved what I have. Now add that with people who watch my progress, resonating with my struggles and connecting to one another. This, followed up by friendships built beyond the physical borders of the world. Through six degrees of separation, high chance one of them knows Taylor Swift.
That is why I am showing my work. It takes a lot more time to record videos, writes blogs, and tweet – although I should say it is euphoric. I sincerely believe it is the key to the third door.