The Start up of You and The Alliance

paypal-mafia-hubspot 500 These are not books I’d recommend but I did want to capture the essence of them. For a start I was fascinated to read that the founder of Linked-In (and author of both these books) was part of the Pay-Pal Mafia.

However I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Reid Hoffman was not an uber-geek but rather someone with a humanities background whose main contribution was both the user interface and a big picture on the social dynamics and networks at play.

the_startup_of_youThe lessons about seeing your career as a start up are based on ABZ planning.

  • Plan A is what you are doing, it involves regular minor adjustments and iterations as you hone your career.
  • Plan B is your pivot. When something isn’t working or a better option turns up, you need to pivot, which means while things are working, you need to be preparing for Plan B – maybe through hobbies and other ways to develop skills and options.
  • Plan Z is your lifeboat and can’t be underestimated. I read an article the other day about how all entrepreneurs were rich kids with a safety net and while there may be some truth in this, I was reminded that immigrants often exhibit entrepreneurial tendencies because that risk taking ability allowed them to leave home and safety behind in the first place.

As you might expect from the founder of LinkedIn, as substantial proportion of the book is dedicated to the power of networks, the value of weak ties and serendipity.

the allianceThe Alliance has its own website and is much more revealing about the thinking behind LinkedIn. It advocates for a new type of networked organisation and a new relationship between employees and employers. Some key points:

  • A career should be structured around tours of duty where one is given the challenges to continue growing. The authors even did a tour of duty to write the book.
  • Aligning an employee’s needs with that of the organisation should be worth a structured agreement (as to the nature of the “alliance”) and will lead to transformational tours of duty – for the person and the firm.
  • Encouraging networks, sharing and alumni allows everyone to mine the intelligence of a large, connected and possibly? faithful group.

I like the idea of ABZ planning – what about you?


About Heather

I am an energy and climate change specialist with a background in industrial energy efficiency and climate change policy.
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