@charles_forerunner via Unsplash

This post originally appeared in Fast Company.

You already know that networking is a relationships game–that you're supposed to give with no immediate expectation of getting. That's the wise starting premise, anyhow, of Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh's forthcoming book, Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Relationships That Matter.

But if you're looking to grow your network in quality rather than just quantity, "I'd love to grab coffee and pick your brain" will only take you so far. So as you double down on those career resolutions for the year ahead, try these creative tactics–based on Gerber and Paugh's relationship-focused advice–to deepen and expand your network.

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@christinhumephoto via Unsplash

This post originally appeared in Fast Company.

I'm staring at my iPhone. I know I need to call him back, but I'm not sure what to say. I've had two great chats with a candidate for my company's VP of sales, and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I've found someone? Maybe my days subbing in as a (mediocre) head of sales in addition to being CEO were finally numbered. I could return to my normal stress level of the-world-is-on-fire and not the-world-is-on-fire-and-what-is-our-sales-forecast.

There was just one issue: The candidate was willing to move, within budget, and had , but he didn't think it would be great for his career to go to a smaller company like mine. He'd been working at companies with thousands of salespeople, not eight. So do I call back and persuade him he's wrong? I know I could convince him–but should I?

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@asarodger via Unsplash

This post originally appeared in Fast Company.

Last month, venture capitalist Tim Draper wrote an op-ed for the Mercury News complaining that "every great innovation leads to more government departments and more regulation, lessening the incentive to innovate." That idea isn't exactly original, but it does seem odd to rehash it now. After all, the Trump administration–with its slew of agency vacancies and its vigorous slashing of everything from financial and environmental to nondiscrimination regulations–is hardly the epitome of "big government."

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@rawpixel via Unsplash

This piece originally appeared in Fast Company.

The sound of descending chimes. Funky MIDI elevator music. Ughhhhhh–why is my phone ringing? Can't they just text!?

Like many people, the phone is a tool of last resort. I'd rather text or Slack or email or carrier pigeon. But I've noticed that many of the most successful, productive people I've met are what you might call "phone-prone." If you send them a text, they call you instead of texting back. Email them? Get a call back.

Maybe this wasn't a coincidence. I decided it was time to test my beliefs. But first, I decided to email two "phone-prone" people–Krista Smith, the West Coast editor of Vanity Fair, and Eric Kuhn, a former L.A. talent agent and a cofounder of Layer3 TV–for some advice. Within minutes I got an email back, "Call me."

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I run a company called TrackMaven and wrote a book coming out in June from Penguin Random House about how anyone can have moments of creative genius.


This blog is my musings on how you can identify your potential and act on it.


Every Wednesday and Sunday I send a "creative brief" with creativity hacks and tips backed by real-world science and case studies.


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