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Roadshow Learning

(July 24, 2007) On Friday of last week, 120 local members of the Recruiting Industry took a half day out of their schedules to attend the Recruiting Roadshow in Minneapolis. Hosted by Best Buy (with breakfast snacks from HotGigs and lunch by Arbita), the day included four half hour presentations and structured networking. The goal was to introduce recruiters to each other in the local community.

Each of the volunteers who presented, took pictures, organized, sponsored, arranged, cleaned or set up took time out of their busy schedules to make the event work. Roughly, 100 people benefited from the generosity of 20. That's how networks work... the vast majority of the people in the network get lots back for a relatively small investment. It seems to me that the 20 core volunteers got a handsome return and that the 100 participants were big beneficiaries.

That's the interesting thing about networks. Executed well (and the Minneapolis crew did an amazing job), a network will yield a significant return on investment for every participant. In fact, network founders have to find a way to guarantee members a good return.

That's pretty easy online. You can trace the growth of social networks directly to the fact that membership usually yields a big return for individual users. (People who don't see the return drop out pretty quickly). As long as there is value in the connections and services, membership will continue to grow.

We're seeing some levels of "network fatigue". Early and extensive users of online Social networks can be routinely heard to say "It's easier to say yes to a request for connection than it is to tell the truth." Online social network services allow little room for the truth that not everyone wants \to be everyone else's friend. In fact, at 300, it gets pretty noisy for most.

Gaining online contacts is one of those things that you can actually have too much of. (Not everyone, I know, but lots of us).

Anyhow, the idea behind the roadshow is that people are hungry for connection. I am clear that the biggest learning from Minneapolis is that much more time needs to be devoted to structured networking.

Today, work gets really started on the Atlanta event (we're thinking the 27th of September). Watch closely for more news and some requests for help.

And, thanks to everyone who has pitched in so far.


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