Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Personal Story about Networking

This is not a technical or SQL Server post, but it does illustrate the power of networking.

We recently took my daughter for a checkup at the eye doctor.  Our family has a history of poor eyesight and she has had glasses for a few years now.  Having moved to Florida this was our first appointment with the optometrist and during the visit my wife noticed a flyer about Corneal Refractive Therapy (a method of orthokeratology) and asked about it.  The optometrist then mentioned that our daughter was actually a good candidate for this treatment.  The treatment is that you wear specially designed rigid gas-permeable contact lenses to bed and these lenses temporarily "flatten" your cornea which corrects your vision, thus leaving you contact lens or glasses free during the day. Because of our family history we decided that we should consider this therapy in spite of the cost (~$2000).  In the research we found that the therapy has the potential, not proven, to slow or stop the progression of myopia (near-sightedness) and this could be a great thing for our daughter. 

Now we get to the networking part.  Since it is a relatively new therapy, we wanted more information and I posted on Facebook that I was researching it.  Lo, and behold, my cousin, who happens to be friends with the head of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Boston Children's Hospital, saw my post and offered to contact him about it.  He in turn consulted one of his colleagues about it who recommended a third doctor at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary who has extensive experience in the therapy.  My cousin sent us this doctor's contact information so we could talk to her about the therapy.  My wife called and left a message at her office, and we waited.  After a day or two we honestly didn't think we'd hear from her, but she called us back, answered our questions, and is willing to continue to be a resource for us if we have any other questions.

So what are the lessons here:

  1. You never know who will be able to help you.  I didn't know that my cousin had these contacts, but by letting people know what I was looking into, someone was able to help.
  2. People want to help.  The doctor my wife finally spoke to doesn't know us or my family, and has no chance of actually making money from us, yet is willing to be a resource for us.

It is funny that I'm always willing to help someone out, but feel like I'm taking advantage of people when I ask them for help.  The reality is that most people want to help others when they can and when they are asked.


  1. That's a good story about the benefits of networking. Often, people think of networking as the mixers where salesmen collect as many business cards as possible, moving from one person to the next. But that's not what it's really all about.

  2. Hi Jack,

    Great to hear another example of how networking can benefit people in all aspects of their lives.

    Also, fits with the best networking strategy:
    What you give out comes back.

  3. Joe,

    Thanks for the comment and you are right. Networking is not about sales and business cards or how many connections you have on LinkedIN. It starts there, but it really is about building relationships. In this story there is a family relationship that starts it off.

  4. Don,

    Yup. It's really about those relationships and letting people know you could use their help and being ready and willing to help them.

  5. Thanks for sharing Jack. It's good to know it works sometimes. I tend to share your view on being willing to help, but not so good at asking for help. Not sure how to overcome that!

  6. Yeah, Andy, this wasn't really a situation where I solicited help, but shared the situation and it worked out well.

    Not sure how you learn to ask. We, in this industry, tend to be doers and fixers so we think we can do it ourselves.


So what do you think I am?