Organization – How to power network

Francis Pedraza – Organization – How to power network your way to the top.

Organization is like a secret weapon. I have this tools that I have created to Google spread sheet and the title right now is NETWORK. It has twenty five sheets in the spread sheet. They are for each type of person I know. So there is a sheet for investors. There is a sheet for funded start up founders who have raised at least five hundred thousand dollars. And I have name, email, location, company, market, like consumer, social network for stuff.

Then I have some interesting columns. I have a column for connection strength.Its goes from negative one which is a strange relationship to zero: they don’t really know you exist. To one: you interacted before but you’re under their radar .Two: they’re colleague, there’s a contact, there’s responsiveness. Three: they’re your friend. Four: they got your back, like brotherly love right.

So I rank all these contacts by the connection strength. And then I’ve got a power rank, which is like, if I invited them to dinner with other people, how would the other people perceive their relative, like status influence, power.  Like: 1 being they’re a legend. 2 being they’re a legend someday. 3 being like they have a shot; you know, they’re solid. 4 being like they could have a shot or could be solid. 5 being they’re very, they’re at sort of like, they’re worth following.

So connection strength; power rank; priority; like basically relevance to my priority.

If you look at this long list of people and you have a set of priorities which A B or C, are they very relevant to your priorities right now and you interact with them a lot. Not really yes but not super urgent, no, just stay in touch for now. And then, there are some columns around that like how much money they raised. This is also a good indication of where they’re at. You know on the investors list it’s like if they’re an angel what is their cheque size and then if they’re a fund, what is the fund size.

I think if you have Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Gmail; contacts; address book, none of these do a really good job. There’re actually horrible ways to stay organized. They are just not built for power user. So going through the effort of just putting the legit people you know in to the spreadsheet you manage, you know, I have a list of people I know in various government trading and investor officers worldwide. I have a list of people I know in the Press. I’ve got a list of people I know who are at technology companies but they are not CEOs, they’re just have various roles. I got people I know in brands. Like if I didn’t have that spreadsheet, it’s such a weapon. It’s so helpful.

For example a friend of mine shows up in London, she says like “hey could you; I know you know people here, could you make some introductions?” I have to think, who I know in London. Ok…Instead I could be like, oh I know these twenty people in London. Let me email them all at once and not even have to think about if I missed anyone. No, I didn’t miss anyone. I’m there. And that’s like really helpful to that person. They hit the ground running and all of a sudden you have just made their time amazing.

A friend of mine is like, she’s a VC and she’s like “we really want to host a party for a funded start up founders who have enterprise businesses”.

Done. here are my ten people. Done. A friend of mine is like “I really want to go talk to investors to invest in this space”. Here is everyone I know. And that’s how it’s useful. It’s really useful. So I do that and I also religiously get to zero my inbox. At the end of everyday: nothing in my inbox. When I tell that to people they are shocked and I’m shocked that they’re shocked because how do you function without it?  Actually I play a game. The game I play is not only can I get to zero inbox but can I be always sending more emails than I’m receiving? Because I think if you’re just responding to whatever you’re receiving, that’s like a half life.

Let’s just say in the beginning of all time you send a hundred emails out and you got seventy fives responses and you responded to your responses and you get fifty back. Eventually you get to zero right. I want that not to be degrading but to be accelerating and I want more band wave. There are processes you have to create to create this band wave.

I don’t have a personal assistant or EA, I’ve tried that multiply times. And every single time they just get in the way.

I suppose there is a world in which you have like Tony Starks has Pepper Pots. Somebody who is like you, know they probably should be getting paid more than you because they’re just like, they are literally living your life, and you probably are going to end up sleeping with them, right. Because you can’t possible; the level of support I would need from an executive assistant would end up requiring them to like so live my life that they are on all the time. Like responding to email in the middle of the night and that’s just not realistically feasible.

Marzena Kmiecik: How do you find balance? Don’t we all have 24 hours in the day?

Do we? Most people don’t have twenty four hours in a day. Most people have like five hours in the day. Most people don’t like; are so inefficient. I don’t have twenty four hours in a day. I’m lucky if I get ten.

And of those ten, how many are my head’s down working?

I try to spread out my own lighter. Like if I have one night a week, were I get three or four hours of sleep, I end up getting so much done that night. That night that I stayed up until 3 or 4am. Because there’s nobody calling, there’s no emails coming in and I’m able to get a lot of heads down work. I really segment my work into heads down and heads up.

Head up is meetings, like inactive with people.

Heads down is like in a spreadsheet or sending lots of email or working on a report or creating something, doing research, reading and writing. These are very different modes for me so there are couple of things.

My friend T J Sassani, who is the CEO of ZOZI, was just telling me yesterday that he has this thing that he does ,which I think is a part of the reason why he has such long Gevity as a CEO. Most CEO can only do one stage and they get to another stage and all the problems that they are dealing with are so different from the last stage and then they need to replace CEO. But there are huge values in somebody who’s able to like keep learning the problems of different phases and growing with the company. And the only way to do that without burning out overtime is like doing things like he does. Which is: every quarter he will go and take a week and work remotely. Like Friday to Monday of week one, that weekend, the following week and that following weekend and Monday he will return. He would go to like Tahoe or go to like Big Sur or he’ll go somewhere else and work remotely. And every single one of those times he said is an inflection point for his company. And bill gates use to do this.

Another friend of mine, Sarah I think, suggested that like, I take at least one day a week as a creative day. Maybe not one day; maybe like a four or five hour walk. Just time on my own to get into creative space and like just spend, oh no, it was my friend Carson. And he recommended this book; it was that way of the artist or something like that I don’t remember.

I definitely try to pollinate my thinking with, so, I talk a lot about networking. So there is, like one of the most important things I think you can do is: networking is I think is a, three, tri part type function. Not just meeting new people, which is like, you might call them prospecting or expanding your network in terms of the number of people you know. But another is sort of canvassing those people and asking them question and a third is like landscaping

What I mean by that is: I meet you, I ask you questions and I try to get insights and understand how you see the world and then thirdly as I have this whole, like your bunch of inputs, I need to put it into a picture. Like: here are the mountains, here is the river, here’s the forest, here are the valleys, here is the ocean, and like, beyond here there will be dragons right. I need to have an understanding of how the world works and how it like all fits together. And the economy is this miracle of like, you know, hundreds of millions, billions of people all operation with their own self interest and yet it all fits together somehow.

I know a lot of startups founders. So I love meeting more start up founders, but if I know a lot of them, every incremental one that I meet is not giving me that much more new data. But if I’m like on a bus going from JFK to Manhattan and I’m sitting next to Franciscan a priest right, that’s interesting. This is a whole other world that I just don’t understand but that will give me a better appreciation for how the world works. And may have unintended, unexpected value down the road. You never know knows when you need to like speak to the Vatican. Like who knows. Or like someone who is in the bake and order business.

Like a friend a mine who is running a food truck here in San Francisco called Bacon Bacon, right, so that’s interesting. It’s a super different business than a startup. What are the problems he’s dealing with?

I think being really an electric curious is important and that’s not just with learning from people and experiences but also; I advice a lot of startups and there’s always like random meetings that come into your life that have no point per say, and you should take them but you should take them in an organize way. So I started to like block two days a week. One for coffees, so I don’t actually like taking coffees and like going on walks and whatever or we getting tea, and one day for Google hangs outs, that are really fast, like thirty minutes ones.

And the other five days a week I can do other things with but these are like opportunities.

In advising startups I end up having, I’m being able to get data points that I’m not normally able to get. So for example: I’m able to know, your metric looks like this, mine looks like this that interesting. Here’s what I’ve learn from my metric that’s useful to them and I’m also getting some value out of it.

Here’s this person you know, I don’t know them but here are these five or ten people I know. Having founders help each other is really helpful. You know I was on this call this week helping this startup negotiating partnership with the company. That was a type of negotiation that I just would never have with Everest. That was like useful to my own personal business maturity and experience. It was really fascinating.

So, I think that, the thing there is, you should spread out and like do this intellectual too. Try to have a lot of books. Go to art galleries and try to pollinate yourself like a bee and like bring all these influences together because what will kill you is the unknown unknowns.

Like Socrates said: Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know because what you don’t know can like really mess you up. It‘s like the blind spot when you’re driving and you turn and there is an accident and you’re dead right.

And as a startup, I know the problems I’m dealing with right. And if I get tunnel vision around those, like you know, the nice thing is that there’s the doubles you know. There are the things I know that are problems but like I don’t want to get side lined from the thing I don’t know is a problem. But it is a problem and it could be something to do with me.

Like I wrote this blog post about “Parallax”, which is what your eyes do.

So you have two eyes which have two separate cones of vision right. But your mind doesn’t see two different cones of vision, it see one unified field of vision. And your mind is doing maths and processing and you don’t even notice but its one unified cone of vision.

I think it’s sort of like that for the individual. You’re like this person and there’s like people around you who are all looking at you and perceiving you right and perceiving the situation. So think about your company like this, and then there’s the people who are looking at your company from the outside.

So getting really good at tapping different people and getting a sense of what their cone of vision is and being good at weighting these things and doing the maths in your head and sort of figuring where you actually stand is important.

I think you can weight too much of what other people think but it’s important to sort of have this element to your personality to say I don’t care what other people think but it’s the process of like getting these inputs.

And so the original prompt was around organization we strayed a little bit from organization but this is all organization. You’re creative and organizational processes are these habits that you have that end up really defining how effective you are and who you are and how you operate.

For example: I’ve been observing this power for the last couple of years. I tend to be very momentum based productivity where I’ll do all the small tasks then I will go to the medium tasks then the large tasks because I feel like I’m able to ramp up my momentum and so I tend to deal with the most important things last which is somewhat dangerous. It works for me.

I find it really hard to like, they call it swallowing the frog, I find it really hard to swallow the frog like right away and do really hard thing while there is this whole stack of smaller things because when I get the smaller things out of the way I can focus. But sometimes I know that I need to reverse that and do the other thing.

I think being self aware is pretty critical and these other people help you be self aware.