Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Social networking: old school

Over at VentureBlog is this great post about Cravath, social networking, and the value of maintaining strong corporate cultures:

Old School Social Networking

As I type this, I am sitting in the Newark airport watching the snow fall and foolishly pretending that I will get on a plane this evening. It is just not going to happen. On the good side, it is giving me the opportunity to reflect on the alumni event from which I am returning.

For a few years of my life I was an associate at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City. Practicing law at Cravath was a great experience. Not because it was fun. Truth be told, some of the time it was not that much fun at all. But it was a phenomenal education. Cravath represents many of the most powerful companies in the world and as a junior attorney you were given the opportunity to look behind the curtain. Of course, you were given the opportunity to look behind the curtain 100 hours a week. But in exchange for those hundred hour weeks, you got to learn the intimate details of the companies that drive the world’s economies.

The thing that I have always admired about Cravath is that it has an incredibly strong corporate culture. … VentureBlog

I continue to have good experiences with LinkedIn, but I seem to be in the minority among my close friends. Many signed up because I invited them, but of the 65 connections I have at LinkedIn, one third have just one connection (me) and just one quarter have connections in the double-digits.

I’d love to hear from some folks who aren’t fond of social networking or who don’t get it. I see tremendous potential in the model, and with all the money being spent, it’s clear at least a few VCs agree with me. But if my experience at LinkedIn is any indication (and I have no reason to think otherwise), it will end up catering to a small-ish group of highly-motivated networkers and not facilitate the connections among the less motivated that would make the system truly useful.


  1. See Shel Israel's comments about Social Networking and the VC love affair with Social Software. He's skeptical, and he's got some poignant observations.

  2. I totally agree with you... I have been introduced recently to Social networking software... and I looked up my company... The 3 people that were listed in the system havnt worked at our company for over 2 years... and when they were at the company... the werent exactly the best friends of anyone thats still here... Trying to get a contact at our company out of those people listed will get you nowhere...

    I think that it has a lot of potential, but it needs to be screened better, or people need to take a more active role in making sure that the contacts are worth something.