Kerr: Today I am speaking with Bryan Kerr, tech guru, wizard from Menlo Park. One of the original folks from Silicon Valley that has made a career out of the semiconductor industry and the growth of technology in America. Bryan, I want to ask you about, really, what’s networking to Bryan?
Bryan: I am a geek; networking has always been a bit of a challenge because it requires me to get out of myself to reach out to people. Networking really is just two fold. One is it’s just to keep in the flow of knowledge that is swirling about and that is not easy with today’s pace. Technology continues to race ahead.
The other is to just fulfill our basic belief that if you want to accomplish anything you have got to be out moving about. And by that I mean If I am in motion opportunities and information, everything else I’m looking for presents itself to me.
Kerr: How do you do that? How do you stay in touch with folks?
Bryan: For me, there’s a lot that has shifted to almost entirely online in the last few years. I’m able to maintain relationships that go back fifteen, twenty sometimes thirty years. I keep in touch with what’s going on with them as they share what’s going on in their lives thru the normal avenues: LinkedIn, Face book, Twitter, etc.
I try to reach out and connect with people at least once a year and get together, just go have coffee, just casual stuff and just approach it on a personal basis of what’s going on in your life and share what’s going on with mine. Just skip over all of the formalities of the business networking, the stuffiness.
Kerr: Give me an example of somebody that you wanted to meet. How did you connect? How did you work that system to get yourself in front of them or make that connection?
Bryan: Again, I can’t say what I do is necessarily what works for everybody. I tend to be very analytic in how I approach things. If there is a business connection or a relationship that I’m interested in, I will invest a great deal of time to just investigate the background on the person and the company..
The idea is to identify something that will engage the, get their attention so the conversation isn’t just out of the blue for them without being too intrusive.
I strip off the top level; look inside to see if there is an obvious market hole or an obvious technology and then do a write up. Not extensive just a page or a page and a half, nothing super heavy but just to acknowledge that I see what’s going on.
Providing information and a bit of structure – it’s basically a consulting step. I’m providing my thoughts with no hook nothing other than a direct approach to begin a conversation.