“How Weak Ties Enables Me to Play Bigger”

At my company, a few books are bought for our team members when they join SALIDO. We value everyone’s unique experiences, perspectives, and talents they bring to the table but find value in having a common understanding of what has inspired and helped shape the strategies and purpose behind our mission, values, and POV. Below is a response that I had to one of the books, Play Bigger

Years ago, I took a course called Engineering Innovation. It was seminar course that was taught by my mentor and friend, David Whitney. The first assignment he asked us to do was to reflect on our “intersection”. Leonardo Da Vinci’s intersection was art and science. He designed beautiful buildings, created inventions, and painted numerous masterpieces. Upon reflecting on my own intersection, I discovered that my intersection was the Law of Weak Ties. This Law discusses the phenomenon of value creation when you connect nodes that originate at the outer fringes of two distinct networks (whether this network is people, ideas, or places). An example would be of making an introduction of a professor to a distant cousin, where that introduction could potentially result in a new research partnership. Throughout my life, I have been developing two dense networks of experiences, ideas and concepts in parallel: Technology and Hospitality.

Before taking the job with SALIDO, the CEO of the company demanded that I read the book Play Bigger, which is the realization of the ideas of four men: a writer and three visionary dreamers. The authors challenge individuals and organizations to reflect on their capability to design a “category” around a solution to a problem the market doesn’t yet know exists, create the demand for said solution, and harvest the benefits from an entire market. The “Category Kings” are enduring companies that essentially form a monopoly in a specific category (search engines, social media, peer-to-peer payments, etc…). The book provides frameworks for how companies can become Category Kings. It begins with articulating their Point of View on the issue they are tackling. The POV should dictate the strategy for every decision across every department in a company. Led by the CEO or a category designer, the POV itself replaces the need for decision-makers to analyze low-level issues and focus executing. This document is similar to the Mission, Vision, Values Statement that is supposed to be used to drive a company forward. However, the book takes it three steps past MVV.

Alignment to become a Category King

After the creation of the POV, the book challenges company to mobilize their teams towards a “lightning strike,” or a precipitous, “all eyes on you” moment. These strikes coincide with everyone in a market noticing what you are doing. These moments require everyone in the company to be ready to display why everyone needs to choose you! The book follows with frameworks on how to take advantage of being the category king. This book resonates with me because I have been designing and developing my own category for the past 6 years. With the start of this new opportunity, I am ready to apply all that I have learned to help SALIDO define a POV, develop a demand for our solution, and dominate the entire market. But first, back to Weak Ties…

Play Bigger’s Approach for Category Creation

Millennials get a bad rap for having many short-term jobs/projects/gigs. The people who are very near and dear to me have even told me to my face that I haven’t been committed to anyone/anything for a significant amount of time. Through much self-reflection, I believe that I subconsciously aim to develop as many Weak Ties to develop new connections that had not previously existed. Through my former jobs, I have developed the qualitative skills of structure, team work, high-performance culture, and storytelling. On a technical side, I have developed proficiency with: configuring Enterprise Resource Planning, building data models to take in various sets of information, and using those tools to present recommended solutions. What has remained constant is my love for eating food and showing hospitality to my friends and family.

As I prepare to begin the next step in my career, I look forward to strengthening all of the weak ties that I have developed throughout the past 26 years of my life and getting ready to Play Bigger.