One of my best decisions in 2014 was to start building my network in the Bay Area and as such it is also a 2015 “resolution” (even though I hate that word) to continue that effort. Building a tight network from 2000 miles away can be challenging.
Here are some ideas on how I am trying to be more involved in the tech capital of the universe:
- Schedule 4-6 standing trips per year and just go. This is useful for me. Even if I go out for one day and back, I can always fill up a day with coffee meetings and lunches. There are potential clients in every city you will visit. Investors, especially in the Bay Area.
- Give extra effort to provide introductions. I work hard to be sure that my friends and contacts in the Bay Area see me as a valuable connection to Atlanta.
- Curate the outbound introductions carefully. Double opt in as the minimum standard. This one is unique: many times entrepreneurs in Atlanta see that I’m connected on LinkedIn to some well known Valley VC’s and ask for direct introductions. I normally just will politely decline unless I really believe there is potential value to be created. And even then, I always ask the VC first if they are ok with an intro by giving them a quick one liner about the entrepreneur.
Yes, the world is small and flat nowadays, but face-to-face meetings and serendipitous meetings still rule for building deep relationships. Getting on a plane is the only way to really make it happen long distance.