ALERT! For this story to make sense, you need to read Part 1!
This is the story all about how it came to be that I wound up emailing a contact in Berlin that I'd never met–but who attended university in the same town as I did in Northern England–about a networking opportunity in San Francisco.
I have to disclose that I mostly did it to amuse myself.
I didn't really mind if my little note converted into an introduction or not. There are some emails that are just a pleasure to write.
This isn't to say I didn't hope or expect that he'd answer me–it just wasn't the most important thing.
So I was quite pleased when, three days later, this landed in my inbox:
What an email, you were right, that email did brighten up my morning! Anyone who is a friend of the Brudenell's is a friend of mine. It's been amazing how many people who also studied in Leeds have come in to my life in some way or another since leaving (seriously, almost freaky).
Three years ago (i think), I was in a very similar place. I had just left Leeds University and was thinking what on earth can I do with my BA in Business Management. I'd always known I'd work in some way with music, but it took a few months, and a few internships, for me to figure out what the best way for me to do this was. It was a tough, but fun, year.
To give some context: Our Community Team is split in two, operations and development. Those in Community Operations are the eyes and ears of SoundCloud and handle customer service (a very fast growing team). The Community Development side surface amazing stories from the community (e.g. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-07/29/chris-hadfield-soundcloud), and work on developing a close-knit engaged community on SoundCloud.
The majority of the team resides in Berlin, but this year we'll be slowly growing the community operations side of the team in San Francisco. If you're interested in customer service at SoundCloud, let me know and I can point you in the right direction. If it's community development you're interested in I could put you in touch with Jane who works in SF on the community development side.
Any questions, just shoot!
What a fabulous dude, right?
Spoiler that you already kinda know: I never wound up working for SoundCloud, but I did wind up moving to Berlin.
And I did, in fact, call this guy.
We've had lunch on more than one occasion over the last three years, tied together by this funny little bond I invented for us.
It's a #happilyeverafter networking tale.
Some things you can learn from this story...
(1) People really do wanna help.
There are literally thousands of employed people sitting in thousands of office chairs across the globe right now who would totally go out on a limb for a stranger.
You could be that stranger.
(2) Make it fun when you can.
I would not have sent that wacky email to just anybody. But I'd done enough research and we were close enough in age and SoundCloud is a 'cool kid' company -- so I knew I was safe to press Send.
But for real: don't be afraid to talk to your peers as if they were your peers. You'll be more likely to connect, and they'll be more interested in helping you.
Because odds are they are not some weird robot corporate professional version of a 28-year-old. Odds are they are more or less kinda like you.
(3) Know what you want, and ask for that.
I'll admit: I kinda knew there wasn't a huge community team in SF, so this was a bit of a stretch as far as actually turning into a job.
But I also knew I wanted to get back to Europe someday and I missed England, so I did it anyways.
To be successful, you need to reach out with one specific request -- an introduction or a resume review are two great options to get the conversation going.
A coffee is not. If you have specific questions to 'pick their brain' about, just ask them in email form. It's faster and more efficient. (More feelings on that in this infamous post.)
And anyways, you'll know when they respond as to whether or not you're gonna have any networking chemistry.
Proceed from there.