In the past, I was never one to get out of the office. Over the years I would work late into the night building my business, but did so in seclusion.
Then in 2011, as I founded my current endeavor, it was obvious to me that this was going to be a much more multifaceted company. I came to the realization quickly that I would need to do things differently with this one.
Although I invented RxFusion from a need, I wanted to do something that would have a larger impact and be more than a one-off product. To make this larger impact it would require a discovery that was much grander.
So, I went on a hunt.
As I started looking for a breakthrough idea around which I could devote my efforts, I talked to a lot of people.
How did I know with whom to talk? I didn’t, but I found them through networking.
Networking took me many places
Because of a conversation I had with a friend, who was an attorney in Washington DC, I left my home in Arizona and I headed to the nation’s capital. I was introduced to the technical transfer people at Johns Hopkins University. I spent some time learning about the great work they were doing, and met a lot of people with ideas that I might be able to work with.
Not feeling that what they had to offer was what I was looking for, I continued my search and headed north.
I found myself in Rochester, NY – not by mistake, but because the company I owned at the time had an office in the area. In preceding years I had joined a small local professionals group, and attended their meetings while visiting the area. I did so whenever my travels and schedule permitted (I also do this in other cities as opportunities arise).
During one of the networking meetings I was introduced to a person who would become my networking “patient zero” of sorts. This person set off a chain of events for me that resulted in formation of the company now known as Efferent Labs. This nice lady listened to my story and said she had someone I need to talk with, resulting in the first lesson in networking:
Why did this work for me?
Networking is both an art and a science. The art is in listening to the people you meet, and relating to them in a way to gain mutual understanding and a connection.
It is very important that you have an objective when attending any networking event. The objective does not have to be anything more than simply meeting one person.
The science is in the execution: how you identify your objective and take discrete steps to obtain your goal.
The second lesson – have a plan and a goal
Results are the reward
My quest led me to a lot of people, many of whom I now count as friends.
For me, one person led to the next, and before I knew it I had found what I was looking for.
I was introduced to Spencer Rosero, who would become my co-founder at Efferent Labs. His idea (the insertable biosensor known as CytoComm) had all the earmarks of a company that was worth building. It is a device that can be used in a variety of applications, so it lends itself as the core technology to build a company around.
I knew building this company was not going to be easy, but Spencer and I both believe that the potential benefits to society are large, and the rewards to investors and our team, equally sizeable.
I have been introduced to a lot of great people through networking contacts and they in turn have introduced me to others. Through a string of conversations I ended up meeting my co-founder and started what is poised to be my most meaningful achievement.
The moral of this story – there is power in networking.
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