How to Grow your Network 🍻
A no-nonsense guide for engineers and introverts.
Hey 👋 this is Luca! Welcome to a new 🔒 weekly edition 🔒 of Refactoring.
Every week I write advice on how to become a better engineering leader, backed by my own experience, research and case studies.
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For as long as I can remember, a good share of the people I admired have recommended me to grow my network.
VCs, other founders, people at conferences — they all seemed a lot into it.
The problem is, I am not a big networker.
I am kind of an introvert, and for the most part of my life I haven’t put much thought into meeting more people. I have a small, trusted circle of friends; I have a set of current + former co-workers who I respect—and respect me likewise—and that’s it.
That’s until two years ago. In just a couple of years, the following things happened to me:
I started to work 100% remotely.
I started writing Refactoring as a side gig.
I quit my job to work full-time on Refactoring.
In hindsight, all these events gradually shifted the bulk of my work relationships from those with my co-workers, to those with… strangers on the internet!
This changed the game completely.
While at the office you may not need much effort to relate to people, because they are all around you, when you are alone at home every gesture is intentional. If you don’t put in the effort, you don’t get anything in return.
So, over the last year I have developed routines that help me keep track of the people I care about. Things are not perfect, and what works for me might not work for you, but these principles and systems have served me well and I am now comfortable that, at least, I am not missing out big way.
It’s the classic 20% of effort to get 80% of results.
So, this article is my take on how you can create and nurture your network in tech. It covers:
✨ How friendships are made — backed by science™!
🌱 Three types of relationships — not all relationships are made equal.
🌟 Principles for networking — the non-trivial ideas that have been the most useful to me.
🔄 How to nurture relationships — what I do to meet new people, and to make sure I keep showing up.
✏️ Journaling + CRM — the personal system that I use everyday for keeping track of people and events.