On yesterday’s flight back from LA to SF I read a quote by entrepreneur Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
It’s a wonderful (and in my opinion true) way of highlighting how important your network is. Surround yourself with amazing people and you will do amazing work. In all my jobs I was happiest, most productive, creative and generally on top of my game when I had the privilege to work with highly talented people. People who inspired me, who pushed me and who made me ask the right questions. When I look back at my startups — we did the best work when we had access to fantastic mentors, an incredible board and superb partners.
I would take Jim’s quote and extend it though. In my view it’s not only your immediate network and the people you spend most time with who count, but also your extend network — your weak links — which matter. I can’t count the times something amazing came up through the weirdest links and coincidences.
Take yesterday: I was on stage at the CASH Music Summit, discussing open source and punk rock with Mike Watt, when I was introduced to the person who runs a tech non-profit which fits wonderfully into the work I’m doing at Google Giving. If I wouldn’t have been there I might have never met him.
That is all to say: Get out there and meet amazing people. They make you who you are. Plus it’s a hell a lot of fun!