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The Power of Networking

Why Weak Ties Lead to the Strongest Innovations

With the advancement of technology, networking has become more and more important. The 21st century has already brought us a diverse array of social networking sites, from Facebook to LinkedIn. Even before the influx of these websites, people have been networking. After all, isn’t that the primary purpose of a business card?

Although networking has transformed into the digital realm, the basic premise is the same. The more people you have in your network, the better.

Now, that isn’t to say that a person with 1 million fans on Facebook is better off than the person with 100 fans. However, quantity is important. Simply put, good networking depends on the quality of the quantity.

Embeddedness

Let me give you a lesson in economic sociology. When you network, there are two main types of people you network with: strong ties and weak ties. This is known as “structural embeddedness.”

Strong ties are people you know on a personal level. They share most of your interests, know most of the same people, and work for the same companies. Typical examples include friends, family, and close coworkers.

Weak ties are people you know at “an arms length.” They require less time and energy which produces an array of social acquaintances.

Most people focus on maintaining relationships with their strong ties. However, focusing on strong ties is the BIGGEST mistake you can make when it comes to fostering innovative ideas.

That’s right. Relying on strong ties only leads to conformity, which in turn inhibits innovation.

It’s time to break away from your comfort zone and realize the strength of weak ties. Weak ties are more important in spreading information and resources because they serve as bridges between disconnected social groups. Strong ties lead to less efficient resource transmission because a large number of people in the strong tie network also know each other. Although they can also build bridges among social groups, they tend to be redundant sources of information.

Networking & Innovation

Weak ties are extremely indicative of innovation. Research has shown that entrepreneurs who engage in innovation are more likely to be “embedded” in their weak ties than in their strong ties (Reuf 2002).

This makes sense, since innovation requires that the innovator has access to information of novel ideas. I doubt most people get innovative ideas from their mother.

That being said, capacity for creative action depends on an entrepreneur’s ability to:

(1) Obtain unique information from their social networks

(2) Avoid pressures for conformity

(3) Sustain trust in developing novel–and potentially profitable–innovations

Our vending machine business is unlike 99% of other vending businesses. Why? Because we didn’t rely on our inner circle of vending operators to get ideas. The vending industry as we know it is stagnant. We refused to conform. Thanks to our weak ties, we created the first-ever, 100% healthy vending machines. We were able to avoid the dangerous trends of the vending industry, and we are growing more profitable every day because of it.

Take it from us–weak ties offer a plethora of ideas. Consider them your watering holes for innovation.

After all, they just may be your fountain of youth.

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Chance Favors Connected Minds

Check out this video about networking and innovation. You’ll learn that the most successful innovators are those who network with each other.

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Vending Machine Spotlight

Unveiling Our “Joe HUMAN” Coffee Machine

This Isn’t Your Average Cup of Joe

Meet Joe HUMAN, another new addition to the HUMAN family.

If you’re like us, you probably need at least a cup of coffee to get your day started. Now, you can wake up late knowing the best cup of Joe in town is just around the corner. The best part is, you don’t have to pay $5 to get it!

Here are some features:

Exceptional Taste: WAY better than your average cup of Joe! This machine offers some of the best coffee around.

Fresh Ground Whole Beans: Machine grinds whole coffee beans on-the-spot for every cup

Wide Drink Selection: Serves coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, espressos, & more. Talk about a coffee-lover’s dream!

High-Capacity Design: Machine serves over 300 cups of coffee before re-stocking, which means less trips to your machine. Gotta love efficiency…

Self-Cleaning Systems: Self cleaning mixing circuit, product delivery, and grinding assembly saves you time & effort!

Solid Construction: Coffee so good, people will be lining up to get a taste of it. But just in case they get a little too crazy with their coffee, this machine features a steel cabinet with rust-proof treatment, vandal-proof lock, and crow-bar resistant design.

So, wake up and smell the coffee. Literally.

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What Would You Like Us to Talk About?

We are always interested in your comments and new ideas that we can discuss in our future Crush It Reports! Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think. Or, if you have a topic you would like us to explore, let us know!

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skelly

Biomedical Engineer who earned his degree from The Johns Hopkins University & Columbia University. Named one of Forbes’ Top 30 Under 30 in 2013. Co-Founded America’s first Pure Play healthy vending company in 2003.
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