In Asia, it’s all about who you know

February 10, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

A few months ago I wrote a short series about better networking. The theme was simple: “who you know” absolutely, positively counts, and getting ahead often requires investing in relationships.

I thought the topic was so important that I wrote a free 20-page special report on the subject. I call the concept “Network Infiltration,” and discussed how to infiltrate any network, personal or professional, by following some core principles: finding the open door, differentiating yourself from the crowd, and consistently adding value.

Download the Network Infiltration Report HERE

I’ve used these principles over and over again throughout the world, particularly when traveling to an unfamiliar country. Using these established tactics, I’m generally able to go from unwashed newbie to mingling with the country’s elite in a short period of time.

This quantum leap has less to do with me, and much more to do with following the core principles.

To be clear, I often trade money for time, paying for the privilege to cut in line… but I consider the money spent to be a valuable investment, one that pays for itself many times over.

A business I’m involved with in Asia provides a great example.  While I’m still sworn to confidentiality for now, I can tell you that it is something truly innovative, and the project has attracted some really phenomenal partners… industry titans in entertainment, finance, design, and technology.

Because what we we’re doing is so new, however, there is a great deal of risk associated with the deal– particularly geopolitical risk of the government shutting us down.

Most people are surprised that I’m actually quite risk averse. I prefer to be involved in deals with easy, ‘low hanging fruit’ that don’t require me to assume much financial risk, and projects in which I can see a clear, achievable end state.

In this case, we decided to drastically reduce our risk in the deal by inviting the government on board at the absolute highest level.  My partners and I have all followed the core principles of network infiltration for years, and in a short time we were able to penetrate the inner circles of government and demonstrate significant value in our partnership.

How did we do it? By leaving a lot of money on the table at law offices and investment banks with influential locals who knew even more influential locals.

As a result of our efforts, the deal was greenlighted with the government’s full blessing.  This made raising money for the project much, much easier. Investors knew that with a government endorsement, the deal appeared much less risky.  Consequently, we were able to negotiate more favorable terms with investors.

This literally saved our partners millions of dollars; compared to what was spent in getting to senior government officials, the return on investment was extraordinary.

It’s not always about dollars and cents either. I’m a member of a private club that I’ve discussed before called Atlas 400– it’s designed to bring together like-minded individuals who build lasting relationships and enjoy unique experiences together.

The club recently got together over the weekend in Miami… you guessed it– to attend the Superbowl. As you probably saw on the news, it wasn’t just any ordinary Superbowl, it was THE Superbowl… TV ratings hit an all-time high, finally unseating the 1983 MASH finale as the most-watched television event in history.

Tickets were impossible to find, yet club members were able to score front row seats.  Great seats for a fantastic game, VIP-only celebrity events, fantastic meals at Miami’s best restaurants, and of course, great networking and business conversations are par for the course in The Atlas 400.

The Atlas 400 is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re looking for the kind of  “open door” that I talk about in the Network Infiltration report, this very unique social club might just be perfect for you.

A while ago I interviewed the club president, Sean Goldsmith. To listen to that interview and learn more about the club go here:

At the end of the day all we have are our skills and our relationships.  One of my big priorities is to invest in each of these each day by asking myself a couple of questions:

What can I do today to support the important relationships in my life?

What skill can I work on today?

What new relationship would I like to develop?

I sincerely believe skills and relationships require constant cultivation.  What skills are you developing?   What relationships are you expanding? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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