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Heidi Roizen

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1. What general networking principles does Heidi Roizen follow? A: “She came, She Saw, She Conquered”. This phrase aptly describes Heidi’s networking .The following points summarizes her principles: Heidi Roizen made even the smallest conversation so memorable that it leaves a lasting impression. Being an outgoing person, she understood the importance of blending professional networking with social relationship She only leveraged her contacts only when she saw a win-win situation for both the parties She had a natural talent of identifying future successful people because she liked to interact with smart and not powerful people Build good relationship with press and leverage other mediums such as industry conferences to get undivided attention Lastly, she used to maintain her relationships for stronger ties

2. What specific behaviours led to her current network? How were ties formed? Maintained? A: Heidi is a master at networking. What stands out is how much active effort is put by her into maintain these relations. From the very beginning, she has taken the initiative to develop her network and this is the reason that she has such strong skills at networking. Her very first job was a result of this. Further, she used her personality and her desire to meet interesting people to keep developing new and maintain old contacts. Her ability to “turn a brief conversation into one of substance” and giving her undivided attention to any and all audience, helped her leverage these contacts into something that is much more effective than just two professionals who know each other. She herself points out that she tried to make contact with people at early stages as “it’s easier to get to know people when they’re not famous”, making her habit of just getting to know interesting people, a highly beneficial one.

Her attention to making sure that people she connects are mutually benefiting, helped her become a better networker as people saw her as a problem fixer and this led to her becoming more connected. Added to this was her insistence that only if she was convinced of the benefit of calling in favours, would she do so, and not just on the basis of a request. Being fair and helpful at the same time, lent credence to her already established reputation and helped her not just maintain, but improve her network. However, more than anything, it was her “sincerity, normalcy and down-to-earth personality” that helped her build and maintain her vast and powerful network.

3. What are the strengths of Heidi Roizen’s networks? Weaknesses? A: Heidi Roizen was extremely efficient at developing and sustaining a huge network. Her wide web of contacts leveraged her with various advantages. Firstly, asking for favours like during her time at Apple became easy and helped the company through a very tough time. She invested a lot of time building the trust and relationships as is seen throughout the case for instance “developing relationships whom she simply found …” Secondly, her network had been built through “consistency” and “performance”. She made it a point to develop a ‘good’ relationship with people and was consistent in sustaining that behaviour. This lent credibility and trust to her. Thirdly, she always had that personal touch with her network as can be seen with Levy, whom she recommended for Softbook. She knew him “well enough” and knew he will be the “right fit”. Fourthly, she never leveraged her network unnecessarily. She proceeded only after an evaluation of benefit to both the parties. She understood the “meaning and value of win-win relationship.”

Also, she was adept at mixing personal and professional relationships like hosting parties at her house with clients. She also gave importance to maintain good relationships with entrepreneurial community. Another strength was maintaining close ties with people who were nuclei of other networks, so that she can tap into their networks if needed. Lastly, she also bonded with people who were just average but whom she liked as a person giving her that sense of good companionship. The good part came with minor disadvantages like there were many people who believed they had personal relationship with her and thought they can request a meeting any time. She also used to receive upwards of 100 e-mails a day that she feels obliged to personally answer in order to maintain successful work-related and sometimes personal relationships.

4. What would you suggest Heidi do differently to succeed as a venture capitalist? A: I think to succeed as a Venture Capitalist; she needs to tailor her approach to networking which she truly loves. For starters, she could reduce the time she spends at Softbank from 80% to 50% or even lower to focus on the more critical work. Softbank invests only in 2% of the business plans received. Hence, a considerable amount of time is spent in sending reject mails, which could be delegated by Heidi to her junior staff. Additionally, now that her network is already significant, she does not need to convert every contact of hers into a very strong network point. Rejections can be sent out in brief emails. Also, as a Venture Capitalist, she will be mostly meeting new entrepreneurs and hence maintaining her existing network is a challenge. She should not cut-off her social life completely. It is important that Heidi diagnose her network and identify her core cluster, identify the super-connectors and brokers. She should avoid going deep with people who are just average links in her network, so as to effectively use the constellation concept of networking.

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