Reflecting back on Singularity University’s last Executive Program (which I had the honor, pleasure, and fortune to moderate) made me think about the “weak ties vs strong ties” theory: I believe that one of the main values of our program lies in us bringing together incredibly interesting people from all different backgrounds, throw them into a crazy experience together and create an island effect for them. Which results in people talking, working and learning from and with each other, who wouldn’t normally do so.
The weak vs strong ties theory tells you that you get the most interesting, thought-provoking, insightful stimuli not from the people you would normally hang out with — the people who are like you — but from the people you are usually not as connected to. The people you routinely converse with, your strong ties, usually see the same things, think in the same way and experience the world in the same way as you do. Thus they rarely see anything you wouldn’t have seen before. But the ones who are different — different area of work, socioeconomic background, ethnicity, geography — are the ones who see and experience things differently.
I make it a point to spend as much time as I possibly can with my “weak ties”. I seek them out where I can, sit down with them and ask them question after question. Most, if not all, my breakthroughs came from conversations from people who were distinct not in my inner circle.
Here’s an interesting article on “How strong and weak ties help you find a job”. Cultivate your weak ties! It takes effort and dedication — and it is so much fun once you get started.