Fabian Pfortmüller on How to Increase Social Network Value

In Chapter 17 of 19 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, community builder and entrepreneur Fabian Pfortmüller shares how to increase social network value.  He believes it is more important to treat a social network as a network of friends than a network of professional contacts.  Friend networks attract interest and curiosity while promoting giving and sharing to a higher degree than professional networks.  As a result, an effectively maintained friend network becomes more powerful when it is time to activate it for support.  Pfortmüller is co-founder of Sandbox Network (www.sandbox-network.com).  He also co-founded an innovation think tank, Incubaker (www.incubaker.com), and is part of the group's first spin-off, Holstee (www.holstee.com), an apparel brand for people who would like to wear their passion.  Pfortmüller graduated from Columbia University and its School of General Studies. 


Erik Michielsen: What separates a friend network from a social network?

Fabian Pfortmüller: I believe that social networks are only then valuable if the relationships in it are meaningful relationships. Now I think it’s kind of a – it depends on how you defined friends, where that meaningful relationship starts and where it ends. I believe that treating social networks like friends networks really helps to make them more valuable, because in the end social networks treated as professional networks don’t have much interest for me, they don’t have much excitement for me because they seem very much, you have them to use them for something, that’s not really interesting.

Much more interesting is you have a real connection with the people and as we know networks are there for totally random things that you have no idea why you are going to use them, that’s how I built networks. I anticipate that it’s all about giving and sharing with the network that at some random point in my life, I have no idea when it going to come, I might need to activate my network very quickly and I believe that treating them more as friends and as the very kind of people I want to be with and want to hang out with and want to learn from is essential.