Forget Networking and Build Your Personal Board of Directors Instead


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 15, 2023

6 min read


Forget Networking and Build Your Personal Board of Directors Instead

I had spent years building my personal board of directors, and the time had come to reach out to them for advice on my next career move. Whether you're early in your career or looking to take your success to the next level, building a network of advisors like this can be a game-changer. Because having a personal board of directors means having a dedicated group of experts who are all invested in your success and well-being. So here’s my advice: forget about traditional networking, and build your personal board of directors instead.

Rather than chasing LinkedIn connections, network with a purpose by building the support system you need to achieve success today, and to continue achieving it far into the future. They can see your strengths and are realistic about your areas of improvement. It had never occurred to me that I might want to become a CEO, but Dave made me see it as a real possibility. So many times in my career, I've found myself at a crossroads, feeling stuck, or in need of advice. Each time, I’ve turned to my personal board of directors for help, and I’ve never regretted hearing what they’ve had to say. Their insights into everything from compensation negotiation (including exit clauses) to career choices to dreaming bigger have helped me make some of the most pivotal decisions in my career—and your board can offer you the same.

One of the biggest differences between a network and a personal board is that the people on your board aren't just acquaintances. They're people who know you well—sometimes even better than you know yourself. Just as a company board brings a range of diverse perspectives to the table, your personal board should provide you with a range of opinions and insights. How many times have you asked for feedback from someone, only to have them say things that prop up your ego, without giving you any actionable advice? But here's the thing about growth: it requires people who are willing to be brutally honest with you. Often, receiving tough feedback is challenging, if not downright scary, and it takes courage to gather a group of people who aren't just willing to provide that, but eager to, in some cases. This requires a willingness to accept your imperfections—as well as an understanding that no one on your board will be perfect, either. But the real potential of a personal board of directors lies in the fact that the people who form it genuinely care about you. What’s most important is that the people on your board know you're a rockstar and have seen you in action. As a result, they know what you're capable of, and they are willing to invest in your success.

Your board of directors should consist of individuals who care deeply about your success. You shouldn't just approach someone outright and ask them to join your board. The better approach is to look for opportunities to show your skills. If there's someone you admire, who you'd like to have on your board, one approach is to find projects or initiatives that they're passionate about and offer to lend your skills and expertise.

During his time at Facebook, Lexy noticed an interesting pattern while he was there: those who grew into top executives at the company had surrounded themselves with people who helped them grow. These advisors were willing to give them the support they needed to become the best versions of themselves, professionally and personally.

Now, let's take a look at the inside story of Facebook Marketplace. Five years after launch, the Marketplace Tab on Facebook now has over a billion monthly active users, more than Snapchat and Twitter combined. In many early research studies, more than half of the people studied in many countries cited Facebook as a place they had bought or sold things. This was less common in Western markets, which made it a blind spot for many at the company.

Kids generate a lot of used goods, many of which are insanely expensive to buy new. I also had friends in Asia who talked about how meaningful buying and selling in groups was to them, and how Facebook was the place to connect for commerce. With this insight from unique situations and surroundings, Facebook decided to set up a way to allow group admins to opt into becoming classified commerce groups. This allowed them to track organic behaviors on the platform and rank the group content to help people discover products for sale.

Their early bet was that supply would drive demand—that having sufficient inventory would get buyers excited about coming to this new tab to browse. To do that, they had to get sellers on board. However, a small bug in the fraud queues resulted in a massive flood of violating items. They quickly realized that focusing on trust would be crucial for the success of Facebook Marketplace.

Buying and selling face-to-face meant that trust was a huge factor, especially when it came to bulky items that required people to meet up in person. They felt more comfortable seeing the sellers' real identities and the duration they had been on the Facebook platform, something that wasn't possible on other, anonymous platforms. Additionally, being integrated with Facebook Messenger made communication fast and easy. It allowed users to pin their location and have someone come to them, or easily send a deposit to someone.

Facebook Marketplace also leveraged the power of the Groups community. The idea of people-powered commerce, buying from neighbors, and reducing waste was part of the ethos of the product from the start. Knowing that someone had mutual friends or had been active on Facebook for over a decade provided confidence to those who were looking for someone to live with or buy a car from.

Throughout the development of Facebook Marketplace, there were valuable lessons learned. Here are three actionable pieces of advice based on their experiences:

  • 1. Follow the data: By constantly analyzing user behavior and iterating based on the data, Facebook was able to evolve the product to meet users' needs.
  • 2. Device matters: While the product started primarily for mobile, they realized the importance of adding a desktop version to be competitive. This was particularly crucial for larger purchases and made listing easier for high-volume sellers.
  • 3. Navigating scaling: To address both violations and transaction measurement, Facebook encouraged buyers and sellers to report transactions by incentivizing ratings and reviews. This helped maintain trust and ensure a safe and reliable marketplace experience.

In conclusion, building a personal board of directors can be much more impactful than traditional networking. Surrounding yourself with individuals who genuinely care about your success and are willing to provide honest feedback can make a significant difference in your career. Similarly, the success story of Facebook Marketplace highlights the importance of trust, integration with existing platforms, and leveraging community connections for a successful product launch. By following the data, considering different devices, and implementing measures to maintain trust, Facebook was able to create a marketplace that resonated with users. So, take the lessons learned from both personal board building and Facebook Marketplace and apply them to your own journey towards success.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)