About Connections, Kindness, Trust and Serendipity

I have been having this discussion several times with many Fintech folks.
Who you know defines who you are ? Partly true, certainly in a business context.
So, what’s the difference between someone’s network and another’s ?
Naturally, if you have an executive job, you have many opportunities to meet senior people and maybe even a chance to have an easy access to them.

Don’t you have the feeling that many of the “big” guys you know will simply disappear the day you don’t have that visible job anymore ?
This is because the relationship is based on a potentially mutually beneficial outcome and the moment it gets unbalanced it ceases to exist. It’s based on POWER.

POWER relationships always existed and always will and they can be really effective and powerful, of course. I am not interested in them, though, mainly because they look dry to me and in general intellectually poor.

I am more interested in TRUST, SERENDIPITY and EMPATHY relationships, that are agnostic to social status, based on openness and – simply – real.

Lazaro, my partner in FinTechStage and former boss boss’s boss to me as CEO of SWIFT, calls me a connector. The other day he said : “when you talk to someone, one of the first things you think of (and comes naturally) is : who should this person meet that I know and trust to help him/her to complement/advice/co-create ?”
In order to do this you need to be wired in certain way, because this connection of intents and of people has to happen in real time, and be effective, and is not simply  matching a banker with a banker (stupid example) but goes FAR beyond that.

What’s the result of being a connector ?
That you don’t ease connections on your own interest, but on the interest of the other person and you do it free (that is a big debate point, and I think I already wrote a post about “free advice”). It generates trust. It lasts.

There is something else, beside sharing connections, that defines someone as a Connector and this is almost your DNA. Being a connector is about being extrovert, for sure, but not specifically being social.

1) Maybe…
Is it related to IQ and usually same IQ people connects deeper and in am instinctive trust-based relationship

2) Maybe…
It is related to kindness, profound kindness. By kindness, for lack of a better definition, I’d say the deep desire to make the world a better place, as your life mantra. And you have this already as a kid.

Remember these kids trying to exclude you from the group by diminishing you publicly or simply playing arrogance as sign of power, versus these other kids always up for fun, smiling, and – simply – breathing kindness ? (Thinking of a story like this involving my son, and how difficult is to understand this difference when you are just a kid).

3) Maybe…
It is related to how hungry you are. (Wrote a post about this as well). The hungrier you are the better you align people and things to achieve your goals.

The goal of this post is to initiate a thinking process about interpersonal relationships, based on experience. Mind you, being a connector is not valued professionally or socially. Some confuses being a salesman with being a connector and the two have nothing to do together.

I need and want to understand more of it.

Stay tuned


4 thoughts on “About Connections, Kindness, Trust and Serendipity”

  1. Wonderfully written and painfully spot on.
    I agree with every word.

    Some of those kids grew up to be adults who exclude others – such an unfortunate and uncouth behaviour.

  2. Ah Matteo, you and I just talked about this not long ago and I love that you think about it some more in more depth. We go through the motions and spend no time investing serious thought into much of anything these days much less relationships but you stay curious.

    This is incidentally what shines through when people let you be a “connector” (and yes I’ve been called that a couple of times too;) – your intense curiosity and thought energy. I say “let” because consciously or subconsciously people allow you this role. They make a snap judgement that you are trustworthy and interesting enough (whatever that “enough” means in particular coordinates as that’s a personal formula for each of us) and open up. They sense selflessness, they sense your energy, they sense that you’re likely going to help not hurt them and they invest hope and honesty in you and then you own this investment and grow it. It’s like being an investment banker for but emotional capital – executing rightly on connections but if you had to be calculated and algorithmical about it you’d go mad, you do it out of passion and that takes no effort.

    At the end of it you admit it’s valueless – how very sad that it is, a symptom of a very sick industry- and yet you want people to think of it some more and that alone says a lot about you. If you managed to make 10 people stop and wonder what makes them have what I call “Wow moments” with others and you’ve done our corner of the human galaxy a service today. Cheers for that.

  3. Thanks for putting your thoughts “on paper”, dear Matteo! The value of networking is something people have been talking about for so long, whereas the true power is actually connecting, the next quality level of networking 🙂
    Everything you wrote so deeply resonate with me and now I know who else is creating “cooperative” society around themselves! 🙂
    To add something, I would say that your first “maybe” is probably related not only to Human Intelligence (IQ) but also to Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Good read on it can be found here http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq/ .

  4. Hi Matteo. Looks like we are still “partners in crime” or better “partners in kindness”. You may have seen my piece way back on 2013 called “Kindness is the new black”: https://petervan.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/kindness-is-the-new-black/ Also, i just found a good one one Popovas blog: http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/07/13/on-kindness-adam-phillips-barbara-taylor/ which touches the topic of vulnerability and respect thereof. Kindness is also in the quote: “Imagine the kindest, most positive response to whatever comes your way” by Chade-Meng Tan, who wrote the book “Search Inside Yourself”, which i recommend if you want to dig deeper in this well of kindness. Warm regards, Petervan

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