Put Serendipity to Work for You

Knowledge of all sorts – including where the perfect job or client is waiting for you – is spread far and wide. Itʼs easy and cheap to connect and interact with people who we never thought in the past would be reachable. The Internet makes it possible for us to tap into so many fast-moving resources and information streams.

This is bad news and good news. First the bad: since what we need to know is so widely spread about, it has become harder than ever to get what we want with a traditional search. But the good news for us is that it is more likely than in the past that we will find something valuable through a chance encounter.

I have been inspired by The Economistʼs review of a book called The Power of Pull: How Small Moves Smartly Made Can Set Big Things in Motion. It speaks to something I believe is most important in a job search, indeed in all of our business development: and that is being open to serendipity – even actually encouraging it. The authors propose a straightforward three-pronged strategy. First: approach the right people. Second: get the right people to approach you. And third: use these relationships to do things better and faster.

They have three tips. One is to live near brainy changophiles. For example, people of interest cluster together in Silicon Valley, NYC, London, Shanghai, Bangalore and so on.

So if you are in such a locale, every social interaction is potentially profitable. Even chatting to your dentist, or to another parent at the little league game could lead to something interesting.

Second go on the conference trail. There are many new conferences popping up as our businesses are changing so very rapidly. They remind me, as I have so often found, that corridor conversations are far more often useful than the formal sessions.

Their third tip is to make better use of online social networks; particularly to make contact with new people. Your friendsʼ friends may be just who you need to be talking to.

So get out there. Be open. Be smart. Ask questions. Ask your friends who you should meet. Do it online, do it in the flesh.

Make the serendipitous possible. Position yourself both physically and psychically. The chance encounter could be your ticket to a new gig or to the new idea that changes everything.