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Remember that love, reciprocity an knowledge are not like bank accounts that grow smaller as you use them. Creativity begets more creativity, money begets more money, knowledge begets more knowledge, more friends beget more friends, success begets even more success. Most important, giving begets giving.

Wherever you are in life right now, and whatever you know, is a result of ideas, experiences, and people you have interacted with in your life, whether in person, through books and music, email, or culture. There is no score to keep when abundance leads to even more abundance. So make a decision that from this day forward you will start making the contacts and accumulating the knowledge, experiences and people to help you achieve your goals” – Keith Ferrazzi (Never Eat Alone)

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It has never been easy for me to really enjoy any networking event. It’s just an occasion to exchange name card more or less. Exhibitions & conferences are a bit better, at least I learn new stuff from the speakers. Getting to know more people & making new friends never crossed my mind as a critical factor to success. But after finishing this book, Keith Ferrazzi (Never Eat Alone), I learn that I was a fool. Let me tell you 3 stories of mine:

1. A friend that changed my education life

When I was in final year of high school, Duy, my high school buddy convinced me to apply to NUS. I even didn’t know what NUS is back then and I totally did not have any plan to study abroad. But since he insisted that I just try my luck, I just followed him. And it turned out to be the best decision that I have ever made in my life. It gave me the opportunity to study abroad, to have access to a totally new world, open up my mind and to be who I am today.

2. A friend that changed my career life

4 years ago, I got an invitation from a friend to a local tech event, and I decided to go just for the free food and beer. During the break, the organiser introduced a few geeks to come on stage to show off their latest apps and the crowd cheered them up. It was a fantastic night. There was lightning striking through my head that night when I saw the demos, and I told myself “Those apps they developed are quite simple but really cool, and I can do it too, I should make one”. I went home with that idea and I started to do experiments, side projects, taught myself developing iOS app, in my own time after work & during weekends. Soon after, I quitted my job and founded my own company AMAS HUB Pte Ltd to develop mobile apps.

3. A friend that changed my love life

I have a friend that we went to primary school together, we barely meet during high school, and we only keep in touch online for years through Yahoo Messenger. One day, she told me about another classmate that also studying in Singapore and suggested both of us to meet. Who could tell that primary classmate reunion brought me the love of my life, we get married 3 years after that serendipity.

I really can’t imagine how my life would be if I did not follow my friend that day to submit the NUS application, or did not go to that tech event, or did not have those time killing chitchat with my friend. The network was there all the time, it connected me to opportunities. Of course it was my effort to work it out, but without that connection, it would be totally different. And I realised that I made a lot good friends, from whom I learned a lot. Those are friends from school, university, colleagues, bosses, friends from Toastmasters clubs, Founder Institute, VN 2020….

I devote to myself to actively grow my circles of friends & participate in social events, which I had neglected recently. This would be one of the resolutions for me this year.

And I would recommend this book to all of you, friends. This book will teach you how to get prepared to be a good networker, to be interesting in your conversation, to make friends more efficiently and make use of your network to get to success. After all, I know that you don’t want to eat alone and you should never eat alone.

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Steve Pham

20/01/2016

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