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How to Approach Taro Networking Event

Data Engineer at Financial Company profile pic
Data Engineer at Financial Company

I'm ambivalent about attending Taro Networking events. On the one hand, the people I meet there are so talented and nice! On the other hand, what am I really getting by meeting them?

Now, I know I just said something extremely transactional. That I don't seem to "get" anything from meeting people. But let's continue this line of thinking for a bit. In my mind, going to a networking event can get you 3 things:

  1. potential job referrals

  2. potential partners for side-projects and maybe even a startup (which can be considered a kind of job referral)

  3. friends/social-contact

Let's assume that I'm not looking for friends, so only the first 2 are in play.

What should I be doing while networking? What happens is I tell them about what I do - my role, company, stack - they do the same, we'll talk about the industry for a bit, and that's that. It seems to me like I'm not getting much out of it, probably because I'm doing it all wrong.

Here's an excerpt from an email from a Data influencer I follow who makes a similar point:

Traditional networking is like a relic of the past for back when we didn't rely on the internet.

Back then, people only recommended and worked with those they'd met in person.

But in our digital age?

We can instantly find and judge coders, designers, data experts, and marketers online based on their LinkedIn & portfolio sites. 

So, here's an alternative to traditional networking... 

**Build things that matter. 

For example, let's say you wanted to break into genAI, or land an e-commerce job at Amazon, or work in ad-tech at Facebook or Google.

To impress hiring managers and recruiters at these FAANG companies, you could build an AI tool for to help retailers advertise more efficiently.

So his point is to build stuff and use that as the fodder for networking. I'm inclined to agree, since personally, my side-project cupboard is bare. I could be falling into the trap of thinking that I can/should only network once I've reached a threshold of building however.

So to sum this up, how do you balance networking vs. building and can you expand on the relationship between them?

Thanks!

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