“The British are coming! The British are coming!” Shouted Paul Revere on his midnight ride from Charlestown to Lexington to warn the surrounding Boston communities that the British were on their way to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams, two off our founding fathers. The news of the British plan spread like wildfire and the people who were informed by Paul even sent out their own people to help spread the message faster. Thus began the American Revolution, the message had spread so fast that when the British began their journey to Lexington the next morning they were confronted and put in the fucking dirt by the colonial military. That same night William Dawes set out to spread the same exact message as Paul Revere but on the West end of Boston. Dawes traveled the same distance as Revere, with the same end point and the same exact message but his didn’t catch on like Paul Revere’s, and chances are you have no clue who William Dawes even is. Why did Paul Revere’s spread like an infectious disease and Dawes did not? Simple, Paul Revere was a connector.
We all know that person who seems to know EVERYONE. Whatever you need done they have a guy for it, and if they don’t they have a guy who has a guy for it. Everywhere they go they run into a gang of people who know them from every subculture, demographic or profession. These people are connectors. Thanks to their immaculate people skills and genuine curiosity in making acquaintances, connectors are always connected, respected and typically uber successful. It is our primal need and want to be a connector. As a human being we thirst for connection so it’s in our DNA to become a connector, so how do we do become a connector?
Connectors have a ton of personality traits in common. They tend to have a lot of energy, curiosity and are always open minded. The most important trait of the connector is their interest in different fields and activities. Paul Revere was a bar-going, theatre-loving, businessman who loved to play cards, hunt and fish. You could find him frequenting one of his man social clubs or even at his Masonic Lodge. He had a wide variety of interests and this made it so much easier for him to create a huge network. Connectors love people and people love their hobbies, so it’s no wonder connectors seem to have their hands in so many activities or events. Find a few things you enjoy doing and find locals who have the same interests. Let’s say you like working out, the easiest place in the world for you to connect would be the gym. There are people there. The people there enjoy working out. You already have something in common. Super simple, right? I highly suggest getting involved in a multitude of things that interest you and using that as your basis to connect with others. You can join a club, volunteer or simply frequent your favorite local bar and become a regular. The only thing that matters is that you expand your interests and footprint of places and people you run into and use every one as an opportunity to meet interesting new people.
Connectors are masters of the “weak tie”. Most of us consider our weak ties acquaintances but not friends. They come in handy and it’s always good to know them we just don’t have the time, interest or energy to add another person to our close circle so we keep them at an arms length. Weak ties are a vital part to anyones network. In a 1974 study sociologist Mark Granovetter looked at hundreds of employees in Newton, a Boston suburb to inquire about their employment history. 56% of the employees got their job through a personal contact, of that percent, the majority got their job from a “weak tie” or someone they only saw occasionally. Our weak ties often live in very different world’s from us and can provide us with knowledge or connections we couldn’t make otherwise. The more acquaintances one has, the more powerful they are. Connectors make acquaintances anywhere and everywhere, they have a list of them as long as the Lord of The Rings credits and they use their skills or resources as they see fit.
As stated earlier, it is our primal desire to be a connector. We all want to be “that guy” or “that girl” who seems to know anyone and everyone. Connecting is the most important skill to be successful, period. In order to be a connector you have to be willing to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things, you have to go out of your way to meet new people and you also need to be genuinely interested in the people, not the ends they can provide you with. Follow your innate sense of becoming a connector and watch your success, happiness and probably bank account all increase ten fold. Follow this link to Malcom Gladwell’s website to test yourself and find out if you are a connector. Are you a connector?