Skillz vs. Connections

What’s more important for startup success?

Which do you think is more important for a startup founder: an impressive skill set or an extensive, well-connected network? I wonder if “both” is the right answer. Here’s why:


Getting really good at something is critical in a highly specialized society. Your value in business is directly related to how big and how hard the problems are you can solve for others.


You can do more as a group than you can by yourself. If you’re great at solving a specific kind of problem, you can also drive more value solving it for lots of people, than for a few. Once you’re really good at something, you need to leverage your time by building a strong network, both of people that can help you do it, and of people that need the problem solved.

Strong skills tend to attract connections. Large networks of connections let you leverage your skills and unlock opportunities to use them in ways you never anticipated.

What do you think?

I’ve never meet a massively successful person that didn’t have both high skills in a specific area, and a large, highly connected network of people. What about you? Have your skills or your network been more instrumental in helping you build your business?

This article is based on one of my Quora answers. If you dig it and want more, you can find me here. Can’t get enough startup news, tips and discussions? I offer a weekly email series — sign up for it here.

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