Think about every great of achievement that humans have ever accomplished – for example, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the discovery of the Americas, the first moon landing in 1969. Behind each of these examples, just a handful of names get etched into school textbooks – in these examples Pharaoh Khufu, Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong, respectively. In reality, these individuals had anywhere from hundreds to thousands of people that made each achievement possible. Heck, even Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen/Dennis Rodman/Horace Grant.
No one can accomplish something truly great alone. It takes a village. From one’s parents, who care for you in your formative years, to teachers, who give you foundational knowledge across many subjects, to colleagues / bosses / mentors / friends who support you professionally, each stage of life depends on external support in some shape or form.
When it comes to company building, this dynamic is no different. For every Katrina Lake or Ben Silbermann, there is a supporting crew of co-founders, employees, advisors, VCs, and countless other individuals without which success would not have been possible. The founders that realize the importance of networks work hard to plug in individuals where they can move the needle the most for their business and try to expand their network to broaden the tool set, so to speak. These types of founders have a significant leg up on others who try to do things all on their own.
If you are a founder, take a step back and analyze your current network. Take a critical look at how deep it is and where there are gaps as it relates to what you want to achieve. Then systematically put yourself in the position to meet the people you want to meet. Give them reason to root for you, reason to go to bat for you, reason to jump in the trenches with you. The most successful founders never fight their battle alone.