This article was published on September 12, 2016

Do you want to be my best friend?

Do you want to be my best friend?
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

A few years ago we threw an event in Brazil. On the day we arrived, we entertained media followed by a small event hosted at a local bar.

It was the end of a very long day, and as I was talking to three people with a beer in my hand, they wanted to know everything about TNW. I politely tried to answer as much as I could, but I noticed that one in particular asked very specific questions, and was clearly well informed.

Ten minutes into our conversation, I asked what he did for a living. After staring at me for an awkward second or two he said “I’ve been working for you for the past two years.”
Turns out he was one of our writers – who I’d never met before and hadn’t recognized from his postage stamp sized avatar.

We had a good laugh about it, but I felt stupid for not recognizing him. And I consider it one of the downsides of having a company with employees all over the world.

I was reminded of this recently while brainstorming a better way of accepting connections on Linkedin. I don’t have a current formula, so I accept everyone – save for the most obvious spammers. That also means my LinkedIn network is way too big and filled with people I really don’t know.

I brought this up in a conversation with some other digerati and one of them told me she only accepted people she has physically shaken hands with.

I explained that I had people working for me that have never met and probably wouldn’t recognize them on the street… or standing face-to-face as had happened with me before. According to her rules I wouldn’t be able to connect with them because we never shook hands, even if we’ve chatted for months. That rule obviously isn’t compatible with how technology is changing relationships.

Relationships – and as such, manners – are changing. While it’s still impolite to stare at your phone when talking to someone, wouldn’t it also be impolite to keep people waiting for a response online merely because someone in physical proximity demands your attention?

Is a meaningful relationship with someone who you’ve never met worth less than a shallow relationship with a person you see regularly? Digital tools force us to reevaluate these rules. Having said all that… I want to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This is my introduction text for last weeks issue of our TNW Weekly update:You can read the whole newsletter here, or sign up to receive your own copy. 

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