Monthly Archives: July 2015

Practical networking #1: learn to bloody introduce yourself

Networking has been praised as one of top 3 skills needed in this century. There is no surprise everybody tries do something and call than networking.

I’ve read like a dozen of articles (including two articles previous month, sorry, Russian language down the links: 1, 2), at least one book (Never eat alone) and did try to network on a dozen occasions.

I’ve spread like 300+ business cards and I think number of people reaching out to me because of these was under 10.

Observing something not working for a while is a great exercise. It urges me to attempt a few fixes here and there. This short opus will be saying about fixing Facebook introductions but in the same way you can improve your intros on LinkedIn, Gmail even real life elevator pitches grow from this.

Facebook: inbound introduction statistics

So you’ve pushed that damn ‘Add Friend’ / ‘Connect’ or whatever button.

Next you immediately get attracted to something else. Social networks excel at distracting people, no surprise.

Some time will pass (imagine a few weeks just to be sure). Then I’ll see you request and ask you in return: “Hey, do we know each other?”.

Below are the statistics for the answers I was getting during the latest few months.

  • no answer (18)  ||||||||||||||||||
  • recruiting (2)       ||
  • bullshit talk (2)    ||
  • accidentally (1)    |
  • travel (1)               |

The only interesting case being a traveler girl which quickly lost interest when discovered that I was no longer in Thailand : )

Out of the blue some weirdo is asking you where do you met him from. It’s not something which can be done quickly, so you postpone the answer. Indefinitely.

Receiver side fix

I’ve also experimented and suggested people to tell a bit about themselves. Before asking that I was telling quite a bit about myself first.

There were no cases which I’d call a success. Contrary, somehow me going to the expense of introduction made people try to sell or ask something instead of introducing themselves : )

  • sale or ask (4)     ||||
  • later (2)                ||
  • manipulation (1) |

Some people were telling me that they will answer ‘later’ which is basically a sheepish way of saying “no, never”.

One dude tried to extract more information from me trying to make me feel bad about not being open enough. Unkind kind of manipulator discovered during the first 2 minutes into relationship : )

Communication contracts I’m used to are only good when all the sides are willing to contribute.

Thus I conclude that receiver side fixes are inappropriate here.

We lost

Sender side fix

Whenever you reach out to some one, please do your part and put a few words about you reasons and who you are on to a welcome message.

  • State your interest
  • Follow the norm of reciprocity and tell how you can be useful to the recipient
  • Tell how you’d like to be remembered? (some people claim they don’t have problems remembering other people, I’m troublesome in this respect)
  • Make this short and inspiring (which is also a form of giving so reciprocity is on your side)
  • . . .
  • Profit!

Bonus: once you’ll have enough times quickly outlining your use / interests to people on Facebook, it will be much easier to do this in real life.

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Good introductions were quietly excluded from the collected statistics. One reason for this might be that I’ve started gathering statistics during super long streak of worthless contacts – who knows.

Anyway, I remember at least 2 awesome new contacts I’ve got this way. Plus this inspired me to try networking in yet another way. I’ll share this inspiring, eloquent and sometimes still kitty exercise later, once I’ll reflect enough on it myself : )


Now we’re SSL

The blog is served over SSL now. Please let me know if you see any issues.

I had a few reasons to do that:

  • Vadym‘s router is poisoned from time to time so all the unprotected sites are injected with spammy content whenever I use his WiFi spot
  • Olga has 5 times more traffic than I do and I want to catch up. Some people say Google ranks SSLish sites higher
  • Blog’s admin password will no longer be sent in clear text when I will login from another McDonald’s

I was postponing the move for a while because of two cheap excuses:

  1. promising myself to do that after ensuring that the restores from backups would work (actually they did not)
  2. awaiting for Let’s Encrypt to be ready (no, that’s not true as of yet)

Compared to having conversations with all those complex people, technicalities should be my opportunity to shine. Yet regular unproductive brain patterns follow me everywhere.

Currently I’m evaluating free option from startssl.
Instructions which worked for me can be found here.


NSA dudes, sorry, not this time :Р

How to apologize properly

An example

There was a young couple from Moscow somewhere in 1970th. They just got married. Wealthy enough family helped them to fetch an apartament (all the things in USSR were not bought, but rather fetched through your connections). They had nice furniture, wallpapers. Rare occasion: they even had a car, which was parked in the inner yard of their condo.

Once upon a time on a weekend morning, one of them went to the balcony and noticed that car is gone. They called the cops. A day passed. Next morning the car is back. The guy inspects the car, it’s all right, full of gasoline, all the things are in place but one note: “We’re sorry, we urgently needed a car”. As a compensation, two tickets to a theater were there for the same evening.

The couple was excited by the honor of the unknown thieves and went to the performance. When they’ve returned home they’ve discovered that apartment is empty – no furniture, no tech, even the wallpapers were stolen.

Apologies in my life

The example from the above clearly demonstrates: apologizing is used to seek value for the apologizing side. In normal circumstances that happens mostly by protecting the apologizing side from anger / retaliation.

“Darling, I’m sorry about talking to your mom that way. Can I have my Xbox back, please?”

By apologizing, people expect the responsibility for the consequences of their actions to be waived.

Why? Because it’s a social norm, right?

That does not work well with me

My time here is limited.  I don’t feel good trading resources for broken promises. So relationships where I hear word ‘Sorry’ frequently enough quickly deteriorate.

fuck off guy

Another algorithm

I research a bit and found an algorithm which makes me feel much better.

1. Acknowledge your responsibility
– “I’ve screwed up. That was improper of me to tell your mother she’s a which.”

2. Reveal your intentions
– “I didn’t mean it to happen like this.”

3. Maintain the responsibility for your actions
– “How can I fix this? How can I repay your losses?”

< Here goes active listening session >

4. Give a promise and deliver on it.
– “Ok, I will book 5 sessions with therapist which we will visit both with your mother”

Please take care to state it in SMART fashion to raise the chances.

4a. What if I feel like not paying the cost of the fix?
Negotiate. Be open and tell that thing contradicts your interests.
– “Darling, I value our relationships, but I’m not ready to commit to spending the whole week with your mother”


You probably noticed that apologizing this way is much more expensive compared to usual “I’m sorry”.

That’s how it works. Not delivering on a contract and being dragged to court has a clear associated cost.

Romans had lead water pipes which slowly poisoned them. Apologizing like an asshole has a similar effect. If you break a contract, you get a refreshing court order. If you break your words every week, you’re just not invited to cool gigs like other people are, even though you’re much more capable.

Please don’t use this trick to rob people of their belongings. Rather, use it to create more awesome stuff together!

Winter is coming. May your relationships be productive and warm.

P.S. Vadym, I remember I owe you a steak : )