Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

#NotAtSXSW

For the past four years, I’ve made the annual trek to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Conference and have fond memories and some great friendships that were forged during those weekends. This weekend will be the first year in 5 years (I even made it last year despite the chaos) that I’ll be missing out on the action – partly due to a bruised rib and partly cos I haven’t had a chance to breathe since my return from Toronto.

Bringing #SXSW to Twitter

Over this weekend, I’m gonna do my best to avoid staring at my Tweetdeck screen that will taunt me with tweets from friends streaming into Austin, sharing their Instagram photos or checking in non-stop over this weekend, I figured why not get other non-attendees together do something constructive – a Twitter chat.

Who better to host the chat than Mack Collier. Mack and I started blogging at roughly the same time over 7 years ago, we shared the stage at Southby years ago and he runs a weekly twitter chat (#blogchat) on topics related to social media every Sunday. And, that’s exactly what we’re doing this Friday to distract ourselves from SXSW.

Here are the details:

  • Time: Friday, March 10 at Noon Central for an hour (see Mack’s post here)
  • Topic: Using Social Media tools to network (here’s a hint on some of the things we’ll cover)
  • How to: Log onto Twitter (ideally use a desktop app via Tweetdeck or Hootsuite). Create a search column for #notatsxsw and you’re off to the races. And, hashtag your tweets #NotAtSXSW

How do I participate? And, what’s a Twitter Chat?

To the uninitiated, Twitter chat is an online unconference, if you will. What’s an unconference, you ask. Well, never mind. It’s a great way to bring together peers with a common interest on common topics. Frankly twitter chat will be a perfect example to illustrate how to “Use Social media tools to network”. For you newbies, here’s a short description from Mack on how Twitter chat works:

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, you know that there are a lot of conversations happening at any one time, and it can sometimes seem like a jumbled mess. But when we add a hashtag like #blogchat to our tweets, then it becomes much easier for us to track and keep up with the conversation that’s happening!

Think of the #blogchat hashtag as a ‘mark’ that we add to our tweets, then if you are searching for the term ‘#blogchat’, you can quickly and easily see all the tweets that are related to our discussion!

The only difference this time is we’ll be using the #NotAtSXSW hashtag both during the chat as well as for the rest of the week, as we lead up to it. So, look forward to seeing you guys there. Don’t forget to follow @mackcollier and you know me – @mariosundar. See you guys on Friday!

Follow me @mariosundar

Filed under: HOW-TO Use Social Media, Twitter, , , , ,

Do you view your career as a startup?

I first met Reid Hoffman, nearly six years ago (Thanks, Kay!) as I was being interviewed by the then executive team at LinkedIn for my role as social media guy. Since then, what has always struck me the most about Reid is his simplicity coupled with his enthusiasm in debating complex topics, whether it’s a philosophical discussion on social media to something as simple as the importance of adding commenting to our blog.

 One of my favorite pics from the old days – Reid Hoffman (center) with Jean-Luc Vaillant (left) and Allen Blue (right) at our old Palo Alto office

Working at LinkedIn during those early days was a great opportunity to watch, discuss and learn from him on a slew of topics and it’s great to see that Reid’s now shared many of his learnings into his recent book – “Startup of You“.

There are tons of valuable insights that Reid and co-author, Ben Casnocha, have assembled in the new book. Insights that are simple on the face of it, but you’d be surprised at how unheeded some of them are. Here are some:

  • How to establish close professional alliances who can help you and whom you can help in turn.
  • Why the most powerful networks include a mix of both allies and looser acquaintances.
  • Why you should set up an “interesting people” fund to guarantee that you spend time investing in your network.

The other parts of the book that I also found fascinating include the anecdotes, like this one:

I [Reid] first met Mark Pincus while at PayPal in 2002. I was giving him advice on a startup he was working on. From our first conversation, I felt inspired by Mark’s wild creativity and how he seems to bounce off the walls with energy. I’m more restrained, preferring to fit ideas into strategic frameworks instead of unleashing them fire-hose-style. But it’s our similar interests and vision that have made our collaborations so successful.

We invested in Friendster together in 2002. In 2003 the two of us bought the Six Degrees patent, which covers some of the foundational technology of social networking. Mark then started his own social network, Tribe; I started LinkedIn (LNKD). When Peter Thiel and I were set to put the first money into Facebook in 2004, I suggested that Mark take half of my investment allocation. I wanted to involve Mark in any opportunity that seemed intriguing, especially one that played to his social networking background. In 2007, Mark called me to talk about his idea for Zynga (ZNGA), the social gaming company he co-founded and now leads. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to invest and join the board, which I did.

An alliance is always an exchange, but not a transactional one.

Now, some folks may think that these alliances are an exception:

All of which prompts a question: in a winner-takes-all world, do the networks of the rich and powerful become self-reinforcing? For all Hoffman’s claims that the lives of successful Silicon Valley zillionaires are a useful model, one cannot escape the sense that he moves in a rarefied world in which a you-scratch-my-back chumminess excludes the less fortunate.

I beg to differ. These mutual alliances model is one that all successful professionals follow. These alliances can be found everywhere in our careers. And, we do it all the time.

Now, some professionals may have an old-school way of thinking where they stop looking at professional enrichment once at a job. Though this may have worked in the past, I couldn’t agree more that in today’s economy it’s imperative that we not only keep our skill sets updated constantly but more importantly, that we also actively nurture our relationships that matter so much. As Reid shared with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times last year:

The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone. No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach your career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.

I highly recommend this book if you believe the world of work is undergoing a dramatic change and if you’d like to learn some of the basic lessons to equip you to deal with those paradigm changes successfully. So, I wanted to share some reasons why I think it may be worth your while to take a read. Tweet me your reactions to the book.

I look forward to your stories.

Follow me @mariosundar

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Colleagues, ,

Contact Me

Follow mariosundar on Twitter

Get my posts in your Inbox

Join over 8700 of my friends who read this blog. You can too. Now.

Recent Tweets

Recent Pics of me

webcom montreal 02

webcom montreal 01

Sunil Saha and Mario Sundar

Mario on the SkyDeck

Well, that was a great party!

More Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 8,647 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,647 other followers