The No. 1 Predictor Of Career Success According To Network Science

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Aug 05, 2023

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The No. 1 Predictor Of Career Success According To Network Science

How the Yelp Elite Program Was Built

In today's interconnected world, success often hinges on one's ability to build and maintain a strong network. Numerous studies have shown that individuals who belong to open networks, as opposed to closed ones, are more likely to achieve career success. But what exactly does it mean to be part of an open network, and why does it have such a significant impact on one's professional trajectory?

To understand the power of open networks, we must first recognize that they offer individuals a more accurate view of the world. By being connected to a diverse range of individuals and communities, one gains access to a plethora of perspectives and information. This allows for a deeper understanding of various subjects and helps in generating new ideas. It's like having multiple lenses through which to view the world, allowing errors to cancel themselves out and providing a more balanced and informed outlook.

Research conducted by Philip Tetlock further supports the notion that open networks lead to greater success. Tetlock's studies revealed that individuals with open networks are better forecasters than those with closed networks. The ability to connect with different groups and serve as a translator or connector between them is a valuable skill that sets individuals with open networks apart. By bringing together people or organizations that wouldn't typically cross paths, they create value and foster collaboration.

Interestingly, the most successful individuals with open networks tend to have a balance between conventional and atypical references. Studies have shown that having 90% conventional references and 10% atypical ones leads to the best outcomes. This means that while it's essential to draw from established knowledge and fields, incorporating ideas from unrelated domains can lead to groundbreaking innovations. Creativity, as Steve Jobs famously said, is just connecting things. The ability to connect seemingly unrelated dots is what drives innovation and progress.

So, how does all of this tie into the story of the Yelp Elite Program? The program's success can be attributed to the principles of building a strong community and understanding the power of connections. Before establishing a community, it's crucial to have a clear brand identity and know what you stand for. People are drawn to communities that speak to their interests and values, but they also want to feel special and part of something unique. By creating a brand that resonates with individuals on a personal level, you can cultivate a loyal and engaged community.

Yelp's founder, Jeremy Stoppelman, recognized that community-building is not just about technology; it's a social idea rooted in relationships, human psychology, and competitive analysis. He understood the importance of knowing your ideal user and crafting a community that caters to their needs and desires. Stoppelman's connections in New York City and San Francisco played a crucial role in the early stages of the Yelp Elite Program. By leveraging these connections, he was able to persuade restaurants and bars to open up on off nights and host Yelp Elite events, which became the foundation of the program's success.

When expanding the Yelp community to new cities, the company followed a playbook that emphasized the importance of a strong foundation. The first step was to throw an inaugural Elite event, which helped establish a core group of passionate and engaged community members. These individuals became the driving force behind the growth and success of Yelp in new locations.

In conclusion, the power of open networks cannot be underestimated when it comes to career success and community-building. By being part of an open network, individuals gain access to diverse perspectives, information, and opportunities. They become better forecasters, connectors, and creators of atypical combinations. Whether in the professional realm or community-building, understanding the principles behind open networks can pave the way for success.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Cultivate an open network: Seek out diverse connections and communities that expose you to different perspectives and ideas. Attend events, join professional organizations, and engage with individuals outside of your usual circles.
  • 2. Embrace atypical combinations: Don't be afraid to draw inspiration from unrelated fields and incorporate unconventional ideas into your work. Innovations often arise from connecting seemingly unrelated dots.
  • 3. Build a strong community: When establishing a community or brand, clearly define your values and purpose. Create a sense of exclusivity and make individuals feel special for being part of your community. Foster connections and facilitate collaboration among members.

Remember, as Steve Jobs famously said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward." Trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, and have faith as you follow your heart and curiosity into unknown worlds. You have the power to shape your career and build remarkable communities.

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