Monday, 15 March 2010

It's all about who you know

It may be obvious, but fairly closed industries such as media are insular virtually to the point of incest. The industry really is about whom you know, not what you have to offer.

I often go to meetings where you don’t have an immediate ‘in’. If you have to introduce yourself at the start of the meeting, you invariably end up with little in return.

In fact you get to realise that in this mind bogglingly complex web of who knows who, you are a pawn used by others unless you aggressively collate contacts of your own.

Some people are competitive about how many LinkedIn contacts they have – I’m still not sure what you are supposed to do on LinkedIn apart from making a ‘connection’ with someone. Facebook sure as hell is more fun.

Some elder members of the media fraternity get competitive on numbers (or most likely quality) of the lunches they have been taken out for. And for the higher echelons of the business, the bragging goes on about jollies, premieres and parties.

For someone who has little interest in firing out business cards like bullets in the air at a Confederates pride BBQ, you get an eye for who is in media for the long haul. Who is playing the long gain? These people know they have to doll out enough pats on the back to get ahead further down the line and not just grab free gifts and lunches like a spoilt child.

It brought is all home to me when I came back from a constructive agency meeting and your bosses say:

Where have you been? . . . Who was it with . . . OOOOHHHHHH, I know them, how are they? Did you say hi from me?

Etc etc.

It is never the content of your work that is interesting to those in the long gain, just the connection made and how it affects their tally of back slap received to back slaps doled out ratio.