Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Trevor Brooks interview – CEO of IdeaCloud

Trevor Brooks, business consultant and CEO of IdeaCloud, a full-service, outsource, multinational Web development group. He has over 13 years of experience offering design and implementation of Internet and intranet sites.

Trevor has worked extensively developing Web solutions for various companies such as Century 21, Ingersoll Rand, Starbucks, PepsiCo, Whirlpool, Genentech, and Palm. IdeaCloud has built a number of very popular Facebook applications.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Trevor Brooks: My guiding principle with business networking is “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Business networking is pretty basic in its raw form, it’s simply meeting people through other people. The trick is in knowing the right people so you can get connected to the other people you want to get connected to.

Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Trevor Brooks: Some people think that it is inappropriate to name drop. I think it’s the other way around, it is imperative that you name drop. Connecting with someone through someone else is the most powerful introduction you can have.

So be proud to name drop your clients and business partner names and companies. You would be surprised how many doors open when you find out that you have mutual acquaintances with the person whose door you are trying to enter.

Josh: Based on your experiences, which places and activities (online or offline) have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your business network?

Trevor Brooks: I don’t think there is a “best place”. However, there are “best people”. It’s the six degrees principle. I am connected to about 20 people that have such an impressive business network that they do my networking for me! All I have to do is call one of them up and say, “Hey so and so, I am trying to get into GE do you know anyone there?” and their answer is typically “yes let me get you in touch with XYZ” or “no, but I have a buddy who does.”

Josh: Trevor, you all have developed a new Facebook application called Kuhnektid. Can you first give a quick overview as to what a Facebook application is, and then touch more specifically on how the Kuhnektid application will benefit folks who have an interest in growing their personal/professional networks.

Trevor Brooks: A Facebook application is just an external Web application that has access to a variety of Facebook’s information through their API so you can create a Facebook centric aspect of your application.

Kuhnektid is a business networking application built on the principle of six degrees of separation. Ultimately it is a business networking search engine. You can search for people’s names or companies and find out if you are connected to them or to that company through your Facebook friends network.

The more friends you have and the more of your friends that use kuhnektid you will quickly realize through the principle of six degrees of separation that you are connected to a lot more people then you thought. So, now I don’t have to call up one of my 20 best people to connections into companies I can just do a search through Kuhnektid and see how I am connected.

Josh: As a side note what are your thoughts on OpenSocial?

Trevor Brooks: I think that it is smart when companies open up their networks to outside developers just take a look at what it did for Facebook. So with that OpenSocial is a good thing. Will it be successful? That remains to be seen. Everyone has the mindset of advertising being the key to monetization but I am not convinced that is the case yet.

Josh: Trevor, can you share a personal “networking” success story with us?

Trevor Brooks: One example of a success story is through my experience with Facebook. IdeaCloud was the company that built the Chase +1 Facebook Group application that was the first real “application” even though it was built within a sponsored group.

After our work on that Facebook eventually took the API they developed and opened it to everyone else on the planet. That application was a mashup that included Amazon.com and I was contacted by another company looking for application support through one of the Amazon programmers we worked with on Chase +1. Like I said before, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

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