Networking 101

I wanted to write a useful blog post about my experience so far having attended over 200 networking events.

I would like to mention that I love networking events. It’s actually my favorite thing to do in the whole world which many people would say is strange but I do feel an awesome connection with people I meet at networking events.

These are my takeaways so far.

BNI(Business Networking International) helped me really be able to practice my elevator pitch. For some of you who is not familiar with BNI it a networking group that meets once a week every day from 7 am to around 8:30 am. I was a part of Chapter 16 in Manhattan. It has taught me really to be able to be comfortable with talking about your business and what makes you different. I have met so many interesting people attending all of the different BNI groups out there.

Networking is a long game. You can’t truly expect to see the benefits until much later on because of the simple trust factor. People need to have patience and understand that trust takes time to build. The key to making meaningful connections is just be yourself and always be taking the time to get to know the person and why they are at this networking event. With consistent follow-up and just being generous with everyone by helping others, you will start to see referrals come your way. They say “givers gain”. Adam grant’s Give and take was a really interesting book that talks about the most successful people in the world are the ones that service the most people. Oprah and many other billionaires owe their success to just being able to provide value to everyone. Whether it’s your cashier at your local supermarket to your doorman. You should treat everyone with the same amount of respect.

It interesting when I reach out to influencers and they actually give me time to help me out or give me advice. It’s fascinating how altruistic people can be in life, I mainly leverage Linkedin and other social media channels.

I am extremely grateful for Linkedin for allowing me to connect with so many people I would have never dreamed possible to speak to.

A good piece of advice I read online was that treat everyone’s business cards with respect and have one pocket for your cards and one pocket for other people’s cards.

I am also a part of another amazing networking group called Ivy which is the best networking group I have been a part of so far. Everyone has the common goal of wanting to meet other interesting people. They do a great job at selecting a wide variety of people that are genuine and have a cool story to tell.

I think curiosity plays a huge role in being an awesome networker. Not being afraid to ask for introductions to other people if you see they are connected to someone you would like to speak to.

There are people that are serial networkers like myself who spends a huge part of their lives networking. It is interesting to see in a huge city like NYC you still get people that seem to know everyone.

Being able to follow up is extremely important as well. Once you collect the business card’s you should send a follow-up requesting coffee with the person if you truly do want to get to know them better.

Be persistent. Depending on how high up the person is, you may have try multiple times but people will get back to you eventually.

Being able to an active listener and have great questions; always asking how can I help you? Like I have mentioned being of service to someone else is the greatest value added you can provide. People will remember that and it will come around to you one day.

I am truly blessed to have met so many interesting and ambitious people throughout my lifetime. I love going outside my comfort zone and really getting to know what people are passionate about and how people get to where they are today.

Let me know what you think are attributes of a good networker.


Thursday nugget and motivational quote

Happy Thursday all!

“Simply ask yourself ‘what will happen today that is truly great’ or some similar question that fills you with an optimistic attitude towards the events you will encounter each day.”
Ilya Alexi

Match your attitude with altitude. Every action or company begins with an idea. Your perseverance is crucial to determining if your dreams will ever come true.

Thursday is the best day to work harder than everyone else while everyone is sleeping that is how you make up ground. Do not underestimate the power of hunger. I would choose hunger over an MBA any day.

Delivering Happiness Top 10 books of all time!

Delivering Happiness: Tony’s (CEO of Zappos) book is full of amazing insights and tidbits into finding your true happiness.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. “ -Buddha

“It is amazing what can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – H.S. Truman

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” -Carlos Castaneda

These 3 quotes at the same of book summarize his mentality and his pursuit of happiness really well.

He links us to his happiness movement which is pretty cool. You should check out.

The last chapter in the book summarizes a lot of his main points well.

There are 3 types of happiness- The first one is pleasure which you can think of a rock star chasing the next high which is what most of us do. Buying the next car, buying the next pair of shoes, buying a bigger house thinking that it will make us happier.

The next level of happiness is passion- Which is the state of flow when you do things and time goes by really quickly. Also engagement, for instance, athletes describe this state as being in the zone.

This happens to me sometimes when I am reading a good book and before I know I finished the whole book in a day. Similar to when I reading this book and couldn’t put it down. It is often uninterrupted when you are at work being super productive.

The last level which is the most important is finding your purpose so being a part of something bigger than yourself.

Zappos’s example is creating an experience and creating the WOW factor which is basically just going above and beyond the call of duty. He gave an example of how one of his friends asked which pizza places are open at this time (it was really late) and the customer loyalty rep told him to wait and helped him out right away and was super sincere about everything.

The parallels between a great business and happiness are similar.

Purpose- passion- pleasure.

Seeking pleasure is what we do when we get drunk or find hook ups, or buying a nice outfit etc. It is an externally driven world.

Business equivalent is seeking profits.

Passion is the 2nd level for both.

Purpose is the highest level for both.

He gives us an exercise to do.

What are your values?

What are you passionate about?

What inspires you?

What is your goal in life?

What are your company values?

What is your company’s higher purpose?

What is your higher purpose?

I love how Tony is so vulnerable in this book even though he is a billionaire.

He is just so relatable more so than almost anyone I have ever read about.

Some of the other takeaways from the book is – defying conventional wisdom. He basically did what everyone else neglects to do. Invest the most energy and time into your customer service department. Most companies dread spending money on customer service and pay their customer service employees the least amount of money. He does the opposite and creates a whole company based on giving the customer the ultimate WOW experience.

Truly innovative. Tony was always very ambitious and credited his work ethic from having super strict Asian parents. He was forced to go to Harvard because his parents said it was great for bragging rights to compare to other Asian parents that they lived near in the bay area. He was very entrepreneurial even in middle school and high school. He created his own business and all he cared about was money when he was a young child. He was super money hungry that way he described when he first received his first check and when he started his own businesses and became very successful from it. His parents actually wanted to do more something more practical than computer science.

He just has a passion for learning and is open minded about everything. He is not afraid of judgment you can tell by him pouring out his heart by still open and honest about everything. Admitting all of his mistakes and thought process for every decision he makes. The fear of bankruptcy and going out of business time and time again.

Do not get it wrong, he has many many failures. I think many of us read that and say sure…. But we don’t truly understand the significance of it. Normal people think of failures it’s like maybe once in awhile when we will have failures but he had so many failures it is even hard to comprehend sometimes unless you are Mark Cuban or a serial entrepreneur.

He makes a lot of comparison with poker to business. Some of his analogies are: Appearing weak when strong and appearing strong when weak. Being in it for the long term game and being flexible and most importantly the table that you sit at- he talks about being on table with a lot of poker chips is tired people vs professionals with a small stack. His analogy is that the table represents your market and when he was just in the shoe market. His options were limited but by opening it up to accessories and so much more. His options grew exponentially.

He talks about just having fun in everything in life. Do not take anything so serious, it is just not worth your time and energy to get bogged down when your first 100 businesses do not work out. The earthworm farm story was memorable because he was talking about his first business venture at the age of 6 was he wanted to grow earthworms because he heard they multiplied when cut in half so he put a wire at the end of his farm but that did not work out and they ended up all escaping.

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard

“Be humble: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” -Shunryu Suzuki.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” -Jon Wabat- Zian

These are questions to ask yourself in your are in a business or in a management level position:

Ask yourself: How do you plan and prepare for change? Do you view new challenges optimistically? Do you encourage and drive change? How do you encourage more change to be driven from the bottom up?

Are you empowering your direct reports to drive change?

Another common theme I have noticed is that Tony is an amazing story teller. He is extremely funny and witty which makes the stories that much more memorable. You can’t help but root for the guy.

Ask yourself: How do you encourage more teamwork?

How do you encourage more people to take initiative? How do you encourage more people to take ownership? What can you do with your team members so that you feel both like a family and a team? How can build stronger relationships with your team members both inside and outside the office? Do you instill a sense of team and family not just within your department, but across the entire company? Do you exemplify a positive team spirit?

Doing more with less- Being scrappy is extremely important as well.

Ask yourself: How can you do what you’re doing more efficiently? How can your department become more efficient? How can the company as a whole become more efficient? How can you personally help the company become more efficient?

The TLDR version is that life is too short to worry about what others think of you.

Find your passion and ask why? If you keep asking why to your response you will eventually get happiness is the reason why you do the things you do.

Most people think of happiness is having materialistic things but he argues that it doesn’t matter at all. True happiness revolves around connectedness, something greater than your yourself, making a difference and paying it forward.

Morning routines- What does your routine look like?

What does your morning routine look like? I typically from Monday to Friday will wake up at 5:25 am. I will meditate for 10 minutes on Headspace. Go to CrossFit from 6 am to 7 am. I will typically boil eggs and eat honey flavored greek yogurt and then listen to my podcast for the 30-minute commute. After work, I will typically go to on networking event. I will try to blog or read an interesting article or clear out my inbox. Do my phone calls, and rinse repeat. I will usually try to spend an hour with my girlfriend and be present with her.

On the weekends I typically wake up around 8 am and I will pretty much try to finish a book over the weekend usually. Sometimes, I will go for a run. Catch up with family and write blog posts.

How important do you stress carving out a routine? How many days do you think it takes to create a habit? Many books say it takes around 68 days to create a habit.

I often think people always say there is not enough time in a day but I truly think that you have a consistent routine you can accomplish much more than spending energy trying to figure out what to do next.

My takeaways from having a consistent routine are that there is less time spent trying to figure out what to do and more time actually doing the things you want to do.


Main takeaways from Ray Kroc’s book: Grinding It out- The making of McDonald’s The personal story behind founder Ray Kroc’s Amazing Success.

The main thing I took from this was that he was the hardest worker in his time.

He owned the San Diego Padres baseball team as well after he retired which is amazing for someone who grew up very modestly! 

He started off his career as a milkshake mixer salesman for Prince Castle. He was amazingly competitive very charismatic and personable.

He has an extremely high emotional intelligence and empathy. He truly believed in his employees.

He met the McDonald brothers were visiting the San Bernardino back in 1955. He saw how much business they were getting and the rave reviews of the people that were waiting in line at McDonald’s.

He really changed the franchising system model. He had an amazing vision and hired the best talent. He has an amazing gut feeling for everyone that he hires for them to become successful and great leaders.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking to start their own business or is interested in starting a franchise.

His life was certainly not easy. I really found the way he talked about his romantic life very interesting. He was head over heels over a lady that was previously married but that didn’t stop him from announcing his true love for her. The way he talked about how incomplete his life was without her was so fascinating to me!

It was like even though he was a multi-millionaire, he did not stop thinking about her and the way he felt when he saw her. The way he described his love was so personal and relatable. 

Kroc was 52 when he started franchising the McDonalds business which goes to show that everything you do in life leads you up to a point where you can be successful. All of the experiences and relationships that he has created while being a rockstar sales manager and leader led him to be able to manage the people he did and to inspire his employees.

He also attests much of his success to the people under him. I have noticed a common trend amongst great leaders that they always talk about the people under them as the reason for their success.

The book title is perfectly suited for his life. His life was not easy, there were so many times where he thought it would all be over but he managed to tough it out and was able to escape bankruptcy and was able to invest more energy and time into his business.

Kroc stuck me as such a typical salesman not in a bad sense but the way he handled and was able to connect with you. You just really respected his hustle and drive. The moment where he took a risk and move to Florida to try new ventures. It was just a matter of time until he struck gold. You just wanted to root for him the whole way, because he just had such a positive outlook on life.

This is an inspirational book for anyone that is thinking that people get lucky. True, sometimes people do get lucky but I truly think that all of your misfortunes happen for a reason and with Kroc all of his failures lead him to McDonald’s.

This book kind of reminded me of the founder of Nike- Shoe Dog- Phil Knight just both of their abilities to work beyond imaginably possible. It was all of they can think about and their romantic relationships have suffered because of that. Phil Knight did a better job at being able to find someone who can truly support him and his business but Kroc’s first wife had a hard time accepting his trade off for his business for the lack of time and energy he spent with his wife.


Takeaways from the cofounder of Microsoft, owner of the Seahawks and Trailblazers- Paul Allen- Idea Man

My main takeaways is that holy crap! This man has lived a super important life. I can’t believe I have never really heard of him until stumbling upon this gem from Stig and Preston on the Investors Podcast which if you haven’t listened to yet. You totally should. I will link it at the bottom of this post.

First of all, the man is a genius and is incredibly humble. He has been a self-made billionaire for most of his life and still thinks there is so much left to accomplish.

Anyone that has a passion or curiosity towards life, in general, should read this book. I do not know one person that would not benefit from reading this book.

I will just list his main accomplishments below.

  • Cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates- in August of 2016, he was the 40th richest world in the world with an estimated net worth of $18.6 billion.
  • He owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers. -He was a player’s owner and really spent the time to get to know his players and everyone on his team loved the way he treated them.

Once his dad passed away he really wanted to invest and save the Seahawks from moving to a different city because they were short on funding. His dad also used to take him to University of Washington football games as a young child so it was a way to honor his dad but became one of his many passions.

  • He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science.- the type of work he is doing for society and in the name of science is just so amazing and inspiring!
  • Institute for Artificial Intelligence- He does right a lot about the challenges of Artificial Intelligence is does acknowledge we need to understand our own brain first before can truly master AI.

He grew up middle class but did extremely well in school and got into a highly competitive private school where he met Bill Gates.

This taught me the importance of having a really solid network because even though Bill Gates was a lot richer than Paul Allen was as a young child. The meeting during their younger days was from the initial contact of being in the computer science club.

His passion, curiosity and relentless amount of hard work. While everyone else told him to quit computer science, his family I mean basically they were told that business and being a lawyer were much more practical majors and career paths. Computer science being relatively new back when he started and not as respected.

Paul Allen is the ultimate idea man. He is extremely creative and pursues a passion for music also invested in Ticketmaster to acquire 80% of Ticketmaster.

Despite the impressive resume, I do get the feeling that legacy is what is extremely important to him. Being able to be remembered. He created a scholarship fund when he dad died and his dad was the master librarian so he said he was fortunate to be the son of the head of librarians which gave him a passion and the resources to be so knowledgeable about what is going on in the world of computer science. He said that his dad gave him the best advice in the world which is to have a job you love and he certainly lived his life that way. He said in a way, being so interested in computer science most of his early career/ life during those times were very one dimensional. He poured so much of his time and energy into it that he was not able to do everything else he was passionate about such as music and playing the guitar.

His natural curiosity for everything in life could not be understated. The man always challenged conventional thinking and he invested in SETI– Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence when the company was at risk of going down under.

He talks about the point of singularity which is a really interesting topic now that we started to see AI change our ways and the way we do things. It is hard to go anywhere and not see AI start to pop up as main discussion topics.

He loves making a difference in people’s lives. It is funny people always ask him how he thinks money has changed his life but he says that it really doesn’t. It just gives him more influence over the things he loves in life. Like after growing through some close calls where he almost died. He then invests in learning more about how to cure Dementia and other diseases. Because his mother has a severe case of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

It is interesting to see someone who is so bold and rich but still has the same level of insecurities that we do as you and I. I saw a lot of myself in Paul Allen being a dreamer. His advice is that research and development are important but you need a truly fearless leader such as Bill Gates to be able to execute. That is actually one of the biggest takeaways from this book.

He gives examples of how Bill Gates used to be the biggest risk taker ever and would risk his life speeding everywhere. It was his escape from working 80-100 hours a week without sleep. Bill gates even had to hire the best traffic attorney in the country to help him with the fact that he was getting so many speeding tickets.

I found it interesting how he portrayed Bill as a ruthless negotiator and about how he pushed everyone to their limits mentally and physically. That type of leadership is what made Microsoft so successful because of the fact that Bill would challenge you for hours and days. That type of accountability made the company so successful.

Another consistent topic was that timing is everything. He mentioned that during the timeframe of where he went to school and how the computer programmers were at the time. It was an opportune moment, if he was born 5 years later then he would have missed the boat and 5 years before, everything is so new he wouldn’t have the opportunity to do everything that he did.

He does mention that yes timing and luck is important but he did bust his ass and took bold risks to get to where he is.

Money is not everything, but it does give you a vehicle to influence potentially millions of people. He has invested billionaires into research, charities, non-profits. When he became the youngest NBA owner, he went through the emotional rollercoaster of the draft and going to the playoffs, etc. I loved his stories about how he took a big risk with the Seahawks but he is excited to see how they are able to compete with big money markets.

He also mentioned that if he was more patience and held onto his AOL stocks, he would have made 40 billion dollars!!!!! More money than he has made from all of the Microsoft stocks. That is such a crazy concept just because is still one the richest men in the world.

Another reflective comment he keeps talking about is it doesn’t matter if you have the coolest idea in the world, there needs to be a market for it. That is why being a dreamer is important to a certain extent but you still need a market because his research innovation lab was his biggest wasted investments, because on paper it was really good and there were groundbreaking inventions but none of it amounted to everything because they were poorly executed and the market thought it was too early for wide adoption.

Surround yourself with great people –he surrounded himself with People like Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Richard Branson, and I mean most of all of the people he hired were amazing, hard working people. He does realize the importance of your network. Even though Bill dropped out of Harvard he did meet a ton of very successful people that he hired that ended up growing his company to one of the biggest companies in the world today such as Ballmer and the guys who invented many other important Microsoft milestones and products.

His appreciation for the finer things in life is evident.

Creating a museum for Jimi Hendrix because he was such a fan and loved playing the guitar. The way he describes music is simply amazing. It truly gave me a new profound appreciation for the electric guitar.

I thought it was interesting that when he first met Michael Jordan in the playoffs he said the only time he has ever met someone with that level of confidence and leadership was Bill Gates. I just thought it was interesting because most people would never compare Bill Gates to Michael Jordan but it does make sense now because no one else is willing to work as hard as them. The vision that both MJ and Gates have was evident from day one.

Bill Gates at the young age of being in 8th grade knew that he was going to be Fortune 100 CEO and the stories that Paul Allen had of Bill being so fearless cold calling companies at the age of 18 is amazing pitching them his ideas before anything was even developed.

He also talked about the importance of diversifying your investments. One of his worst investments was his billions of dollars into Charter Communications. He felt like the telecom industry is moving at a mule’s pace for innovation and realized that put way too much energy time into that could be been diversified in other ventures he was more passionate about.

I hope you guys got something out of this read. If you guys are looking to read more and if you want to recommend a cool book similar to this book. Let me know I am excited to continue on my 1000 books journey…