This case study discusses the general networking principles that Heidi Roizen follows and what she could have done differently to succeed as a venture capitalist.
Nicole Tempest and Kathleen L. McGinn
Harvard Business Review (800228-PDF-ENG)
January 18, 2000
Case questions answered:
- What general networking principles does Heidi Roizen follow?
- What specific behaviors led to her current network? How were ties formed? Maintained?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of Roizen’s Networks?
- What would you suggest Roizen do differently to succeed as a venture capitalist?
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Case answers for Heidi Roizen
1. What general networking principles does Heidi Roizen follow?
Heidi Roizen focused a large part of her career in building a secure network. She was able to establish good relations with nearly everyone she came across, irrespective of whether they were famous. She trusted that reciprocity in terms of payback is essential for sustaining connections and made sure to incorporate the same while making a request or responding to one.
She also believed that ‘consistency’ and ‘performance’ trumped the frequency of interactions for maintaining networks. On several occasions, Roizen functioned as the ‘door’ through which people interacted. She was willing to help them find opportunities for which they were the best fit, once she was utterly convinced herself.
Her general rule of thumb involved leveraging her contacts only when she was able to see a real win-win situation for the parties involved. Backed by these principles, she was able to exert considerable informal power and influence over her connections.
2. What specific behaviors led to her current network? How were ties formed? Maintained?
Roizen’s current network:
Heidi Roizen was inherently an outgoing and high energy person who always depicted a genuine passion for meeting new people. She placed great importance on the value of connections and was considered a pro for her characteristic of turning brief conversations into those of substance.
All of this, combined with Roizen’s behavior of being willing to spend time with people whom she found interesting and smart rather than with people who were just successful…