...there is one mistake I see people making over and over. And over and over some more. They focus their networking on the top instead of the middle.
People "in the middle" are more available and more relevant to where you are. "In the middle", in practice, means "a few, but not too many, steps ahead of you". If you're new at startups, someone who's been around for a few years would make a great contact, even if they're not hugely successful yet, whereas an old hand who made their money 20 years ago and has been an investor and board member for the last 10 years will be less helpful than they might seem at first hand. The guy who's only a few years ahead will also be much easier to reach.
Adam outlines another benefit of focusing on the middle:
Those in the middle are on their way to the top. And one thing I can say with absolute certainty is this: those at the top build their inner-circle when they are in the middle. Build your relationships in the middle now, and you'll benefit both now as well as later when they become even more successful.
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