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Shack – Rejected!

February 10th, 2009

So today, I have the pleasure of seeing my first LinkedIn network invitation REJECTED. Now, let me explain why I am blogging about this. Because my feelings are hurt? Nah. I have pretty thick skin, so that’s not it. Why, then?

The reason, quite simply, is because I am NOT one of those people that just tries to get as many connections/friends/twitter followers/whatever as possible. I connect with people for two reasons:

  1. I have a bitch of a time keeping up with business cards and such, and I need some way of keeping track of people. Tools like LinkedIn have actually been a Godsend for me for this reason alone.
  2. Most of my interesting opportunities in life have come from my connections to people. In fact, I have only gotten ONE job or consulting gig from an advertisement or job site. Every other one has come from connections to people and industry groups and associations.

To make my point of why and how this is useful, I’ll refer the erstwhile reader to Guy Kawasaki’s blog post about using LinkedIn to find jobs.

So let me turn this to the infosec field I live and breathe. Our field is one of those that is a bit easier to find employment in at the moment, at least if you have some skills that are marketable. Most infosec folks I know are employed, this of course is not an absolute. But folks – this doesn’t mean we can take this for granted. You should be looking to connect in some way with people you know, interesting people that THEY know, and others in your field that are related via industry groups. This is exactly what I do with LinkedIn – most of my connections I know or have met, some are just compelling or interesting people that have been introduced to me or have introduced themselves. I always check them out, make sure they seem to have some relevance to me or my field, and then typically connect with them if they do.

So I sent an invitation to a fellow instructor in this little training organization I work with. This is a small group of people, only around 50-60 folks in the whole world. This guy is international, and we’ve never met in person. But I clearly identified myself as being connected to him via this particular group, and I am sure he looked at my profile. And he declined to connect with me. Why? I’m not sure. I’m inclined to think maybe the guy’s just an uptight douchebag. Shocking as it may seem, this sometimes happens. 🙂

Regardless, to anyone reading this bit of drivel – my advice to you is simple: Don’t do this. If someone takes some initiative and tries to connect with you on a professional level, you should probably accept that invitation. Unless, of course, you’re a douchebag.

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  1. February 11th, 2009 at 09:00 | #1

    Hi Dave, maybe he is using LinkedIn for a different purpose and only adds people he knows in person? I still do a number of filtering on my LinkedIn profile and network, just because of the publicness of LinkedIn.

    Obviously, he needs to meet you and judge for himself the energy you bring to the room.

  2. admin
    February 11th, 2009 at 12:55 | #2

    Lily, good to hear from you. This is a totally fair point, but let me put it in a different sort of “scenario”. Imagine that you and I met for the first time at a security conference. Someone introduced us, and we quickly realized we were both in the “San Francisco Security and Compliance Dorks” group. So, we have something in common, even though we’ve never really chatted before. We both need to go meet up with friends, and I ask for your business card to follow up and network. And you say “No thanks, I’d prefer not to.” This, at least in my mind, is pretty similar to how this dude looked at the situation. Now, I’m no industry luminary like Bruce Schneier or Marcus Ranum, but I know lots of people and I’m heavily involved in the industry, making me a pretty good candidate to network with, if nothing else. You could argue, too, that perhaps it is I who is the douchebag. Maybe you’d be right, I’m sure there are those who would agree. 🙂 But does that make connecting professionally with me any less desirable when it benefits you? Still, I think the answer is no.

    Ultimately, again, it’s no sweat to me. I figured I’d just use this an example of what most of us should NOT do given that networking is so damn important to career and professional growth.

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