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Life is an exploration

Apr. 25th, 2006 06:00 pm Working Your Net

"It's not what you know, it's who you know." We've all heard that maxim before. It is becoming more and more important. Everyone has a social network:

of one kind or another. As the issues in life, business, and technology become more complex, it becomes obvious that the more information and minds we have working on the problem at hand, the quicker and better the solution will be. Collaborative solutions are all the rage in industries from medicine to software and education to customer service. Collaborative, group forming networks:

is the goal: optimized distributed networks. How does it happen?

The use of the Internet in business has been a topic of discussion for over 10 years. Ever since the dot.com bust, business has continued to reevaluate what the value of the Internet is. What is beyond advertising revenue? It becomes clear that using the Internet as a networking and collaborative tool is our future. Collaborative networks start with building and enabling networks to form communities of practice where the work can be done.

Networks are an integral part of our lives and the benefits can be as simple as finding a babysitter. Start with your social network. Ask yourself, "What is the value of my network?" We're not talking about your WiFi or ethernet connection here. We are talking about the network of PEOPLE in your life. In other words, take the Internet and IT out of the picture and you're still left with the people around you, the people whom you trust to help you and connect you to the other people you need to fulfill your vision in life.

With all the talk of the role of the IT (the Internet, broadband, Web 2.0), there is one fundamental key to successful collaboration that can't be ignored - your networks. Many Thais have connected to others via Hotmail and MSN Messenger. Now we see a shift as people jump on the social networking bandwagon with 330,000 Thais already signed up at hi5.com, a site that has reached 20 million members worldwide in just 2 years.

There is clearly a trend and it's spreading to Thailand OUTSIDE of the Internet. In mid-March, Joshua Philips, launched donttellanyone.net in Bangkok. The basic principle was simple: connect club-goers in Bangkok online, have them chat and find common connections, and then have them meet in person at a launch party at Astra. It works!

The concept of connecting people online and having them meet face-to-face is not new. Back in 2001, Ryze.com took business networking to a whole new level by creating an online business network and organizing events across the United States for networkers to meet face-to-face. LinkedIn.com has become a quick revolution in social networking geared for business use. LinkedIn.com was able to go into the black in just 3 years - rare for a startup.

This hybrid-model of mixing online networks with face-to-face meetings continues to gain steam. Omidyar Networks (the investment arm of Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay) just invested $2M in the startup, Meetup.com, to emphasize the importance of meeting face-to-face. Visible Path (visiblepath.com) asserts that your network is a direct result of communication paths and assets. Menlo ventures, the investors that funded Hotmail Corporation before it was acquired by Microsoft in 1998, just invested $10M in Visible Path to push this idea into the future.

In Thailand, we clearly aren't strangers when it comes to meeting face-to-face - many of us see this value immediately - some of us insist on meeting - you know who you are!

What shift in culture must take place in terms of how you see your networks and their potential? How do you use your network? Is your network helping you solve problems and build new opportunities on an on-going basis? Do you spend a significant amount of time online? Have you thought about how to look at the Internet as a business tool - one to facilitate your networking?

Take a look at your life: what networks have you created? Are your networks social, business, or a bit of both? How broad are your networks? What part of your networks are international? Do you interact primarily face-to-face or predominately online? Are there networks you can't wait to introduce your friends and colleagues and insist (perhaps even demand) that they participate too? What percent of your network reaches out to you as opposed to you reaching out to them?

Give these questions some thought. Next week, we'll focus in more detail on the cultural shifts that have to happen to mature your networks in Thailand. Now go out there and invite 4 people into your life! Happy networking! :)

(contributors: Linda Nowakowski and Chinarut Ruangchotvit, special thanks to Jay Lamey and Writely.com for helping us live our vision for collaboration!)

Current Location: Thonburi
Current Mood: accomplished

13 comments - Leave a commentPrevious Entry Share Flag Next Entry


Date:April 27th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)

Large Scale

I am loving it when people consider the larger scale of things. Excellent examples posed, great analogies and the final points to ponder were superb!
Date:April 29th, 2006 06:27 am (UTC)

Re: Large Scale

Thanks for the praise for our article and, yes, we're inviting Thailand to think big and look forward to sharing the challenges behind it all in a follow up!

In the meantime, keep a community true to your heart in mind while you read the series and we'll be in touch!

Date:May 2nd, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Zoe reminded me to contact you!

I have petitioned for help from the Hive mind:

Part of our original plan for being able to move to Thailand and start a new company included continuing to get $600 a month from my business.
Pity that the ex-business partner went nutty and crashed it.

So, we are in Thialand and needing to generate about $600 a month. We’ve got skills… including research, writing, editing, event management (up to 10,000 people), presentation development, Powerpoint, proposal development… a lot of others, too.

Oh yeah, we are repeat company founders.

We are looking for:
1) Leads/contacts/ideas for contracts and gigs we can do from Thailand.
2) Ideas for near term cash generation.

Though, of course, if you just flat out want to send money to keep us from fretting, that is more than welcome!

Thank you for your help, leads and ideas!


Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)

welcome to Thailand!

way to work your network - i got it! :)

I'm going to ask Zoe to fwd you my mobile # so you may reach me offline - we're in the same boat!

I just got a note from Abigail in regards to launching organizing efforts for Earthdance 2006!

We were not able to find an organizer for 2005 and she would be extremely pleased if you would consider creating our Prayer for Peace in Thailand!

to boot - I have no doubts this event will scale up to your request! ;-)
Date:May 3rd, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)

Re: welcome to Thailand!

My mobile is 09-951-3455.

khaybee and I have been in Chiang Mai since late September, and while we are working on starting a publishing company doing limited edition art and sci-fi books for export to the US, we won't see any cash from that 'til September.

We are both level headed business people... and have both been dancers, are intensely spiritual and love fiercely.

Feel welcome to call or visit anytime. We have two guestrooms.
Date:May 9th, 2006 12:20 pm (UTC)

Re: welcome to Thailand!

Yes - it's good to mix it all up sometime! :)

Thank you for the invite - I'm meeting a fair share of people who live up North now and getting excited about visiting!

Thanks for your # - will not get a chance to call you today.

My mobile is 01 713 8620 if you would like to call me before I get a moment to set aside 15-20 minutes.
Date:May 9th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC)

Re: welcome to Thailand!

Glad to here form you!

I'll have some down time tomorrow... but if not tomorrow... no worries.

Life in Chiang Mai is... pleasant.

Really pleasant.
Date:May 10th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC)

oops - reconnecting here!

oops - you gave the fair warning that your cell battery was dying and well - err...it died!

you really have my curiousity in regards to America and it's nice to meet a fellow adventurer! i'm no doubt envious of your future travel plans! >:-)

you asked about my online collaborative ventures and the parent of this thread is an article a colleague of mine wrote together now that you have a bit more context :)

we'll definitely keep you posted of our plans to regroup in Chiangmai and it sure would be great to perhaps plan an extended stay up north!

it was nice talking to you and we'll keep up the dance however it comes at us!
Date:May 10th, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)

awesome collaboration

Can't wait to read more from the two of you in Bangkok....and come visit you again! We should talk more about communities of trust, creativity and the ManorMeta network soon.
Date:May 10th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)

thank you!

this is certainly no doubt a fruit of your creation - connecting both of us! :) I must add there's a lot of energy at stake and it's been an experience for both Linda and I trying to shapeshift it every which direction and focus.

I would love to chat with you in real-time real soon - any chance you've gotten Skype up yet? i still dream about exploring SL with you over the phone so our hands can be free to build even more things! let me know how I can help ya set it up!
Date:June 19th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC)

the spark!

got your note by email - glad Skype is working for you and YackPack has exciting possibilities too!

btw, I found the spark that ignited this all - your share on Omidyar re: the mindmap I put together of Thailand!

cannot thank you enough for the acknowledgement - a virtual hug is just not enough! :)
Date:June 5th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)

Series postponed

some of you are wondering what happened to "next week" - the next 4 articles are still in draft mode. We had a miscommunication with the BKK Post and requested to postpone publishing of this article until we establish a proper line of communication and get an agreement worked out.

If all you readers demand more, I'll see what I can do! We already have one request - thanks Pech!
Date:July 14th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)

Facebook revolution

the marriage of LinkedIn and the MySpaces of the world (including donttellanyone.net as mentioned in the original article above) had to happen eventually.

facebook is now my networking application of choice - it actually sticks and excited to share this tool at 2 lectures I am giving at KMUTT next month.

This blog entry sums up the experience quite nicely:


look fwd to meeting ya there - it's on our path to Second Life for you adventurous types! ;-)