JAMES DYSON HOW TO CLEAN UP ON SMART TECHNOLOGY
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THEY’VE BEEN TO
THE INVISIBLE NETWORKER | COMEBACK KINGS | JAMES DYSON | CHINA: OPEN FOR BUSINESS | SPORTS TECHNOLOGIES
... AND RISEN AGAIN
ARE YOU PROTECTED?
PART II – LESSONS
FROM THE FIELD
THE FACE OF
business >> technology >> innovation
6 AUSSIE SPORTS TECHNOLOGIES
Print Post 328567/00140
WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN
ISSN 1448-7330 GOLD, GOLD, GOLD!
NETWORKER: GET TO KNOW AS MANY
PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE AND
REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS.
THAT WAS THE ADVICE THAT
HELPED EX-SOCCER PLAYER
AND PROFESSIONAL NETWORKER
JON BURGESS SURVIVE THE
MEAN STREETS OF EAST LONDON,
CIRCA 1983. IT ALSO BECAME
THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE
BEHIND HIS GROUNDBREAKING
PAUL D. RYAN MEETS THE
ORIGINAL INVISIBLE NETWORKER.
Photography: Eddie Javier
Digital effects: Angelito Jose Lawang & Melanie Woolcock
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“WHEN YOU HAVE TO NETWORK TO SURVIVE,
AND EVERYTHING IS ON THE LINE, YOU NEED TO
LEARN FAST AND THE LESSONS ARE BURNED ONTO
YOUR SOUL. MEETING MY FIRST SKINHEAD, GOING
TO A BAR AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH
PEOPLE – NOT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS BUT FOR
SAFETY REASONS – THAT REALLY CHANGES YOU.”
meet up with Jon Burgess for a But according to Burgess, effective good, but not quite good enough. After Burgess’s formative education was on
morning coffee in Richmond on what networking is rooted in everyday ﬁve years of travelling through England the ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’
is evolving into a baking hot summer’s interactions. It is not about forging artiﬁcial donning boots for any club that would streets of Essex, where ﬁrms (not gangs)
day. There is already a sheen on my brow, relationships with big players. Neither is give him a run, Burgess ended up having ruled the neighbourhoods and broke
but Burgess looks cool and composed in it about getting results at all cost. a chat with Tony Brooking (brother of West anyone who didn’t play their game.
his expensive suit. I later discover that he In fact, his personal evolution into the Ham legend Trevor Brooking). “I realised that I had to get to know a
is an ‘ambassador’ for the elite men’s world of networking can be traced back “I asked him why I hadn’t made it. He wide group of people. As long as I showed
clothing label Henry Bucks, and has a to the mean streets of East London, circa said to me, ‘Aussie (that was my nickname respect and manners and always said
similar relationship with Montblanc. In the 1983, and a chance meeting with a over there), you had more ability than hello to them, that always got me through.
world of Jon Burgess, it seems that clothing skinhead called Denis. anybody I’ve ever seen. You just couldn’t And that is essentially what I do today.
sponsorships are no longer reserved for put it together on the day consistently.’ It’s what every great networker in the
the sporting elite. LONDON CALLING It’s the same in business,” says Burgess, world does.”
He looks about his age, 39, and carries As a child, Jon Burgess wanted to be palms open to the sky. “It doesn’t matter Burgess tunes out for the briefest of
himself easily, informally. But there’s a soccer star - the next Craig Johnston. how skilful or bright you are, you have to moments, gazing beyond me to the thought
something else there, just out of reach, As a 15 year-old, when most boys are put it together on the day. That was the he is apprehending.
which I later decide is tenacity. It’s a trait learning to shave and going out on dates, second big lesson I learnt while abroad.” “Remember your manners,” he says
you often ﬁnd in sporting types and Burgess embarked on a bold journey. With with a smile. “I think that’s what networking
gentlemen of modest height. the blessing of his parents and the support CAREER DECISIONS is missing. I think we are just taught to
We start chatting and, right off the bat, of an English aunt, he headed to England, At the ripe old age of 20, Burgess’s be very predatory – that title, that card,
he asks me to tell him about myself. So alone, spurred on by an opportunity to dream was all but over and he admits to that person. I think that those ﬁve years
I ﬁnd myself in an unusual and slightly train with West Ham United. being totally lost for the next few years as in England, tough as they were, were
surreal role for a journalist – being On his ﬁrst day on the London estates, he poured over the carcass of his nascent very positive.”
interviewed by my interviewee. And it Burgess recalls, he was kicking a soccer football career and tried to make sense
isn’t just about this article or about Anthill. ball on the street, by himself, when a of his future. His dream hadn’t worked SHOW ME THE MONEY!
Before I know it I am relating salient skinhead approached him and demanded out, but in pursuing it he had unwittingly At the age of 20, Burgess returned
moments from my childhood to my to know, “What the fuck ya doin’ in my reﬁned his skills as a networker: someone to Australia. He worked brieﬂy for his
nodding, empathetic companion. I’m area?” who could access people of inﬂuence and father as an air conditioning mechanic
being networked. “I just froze,” says Burgess. “I didn’t create opportunities. before going his own way. He then spent
IN SEARCH OF know what to say. I eventually told him
that I was there to play for West Ham,
“I became very street smart,” says
Burgess. “What most people live between
time in the mail room at the National Bank,
then selling detergents, and ﬁnally entered
A NETWORK which was lucky because that was his the ages of 24-34, I lived when I was 15-
The networking world is a bag of team. He said, ‘Look, I’m going to teach 20. I got to meet a lot of people. I saw a
liquorice allsorts. For every genuine you two important lessons: remember lot of things that I don’t like to remember.
expert there exists a glut of cranks and
promise peddlers looking for a taste of
your manners and get to know as many
people as you possibly can.’ That’s essentially
But it was a great experience. Without
that upbringing, I don’t think I would
“REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS,” HE SAYS
the corporate honey-pot. how I survived there, because a lot of be here doing what I’m doing today.
WITH A SMILE. “I THINK THAT’S WHAT
NETWORKING IS MISSING. I THINK WE ARE
Most networking philosophies focus on my friends had faces like British Rail. It When you have to network to survive,
the student’s ‘game’ – a magic combination was a great place, but the suburbs were and everything is on the line, you need
JUST TAUGHT TO BE VERY PREDATORY –
of orchestrated serendipity and chutzpah. a real challenge. You had to get to know to learn fast and the lessons are burned
They either assume that most networkers people very quickly. I survived ﬁve years onto your soul. Meeting my ﬁrst skinhead,
THAT TITLE, THAT CARD, THAT PERSON.”
are little guys with big ideas, who need in London without really getting ‘touched going to a bar and building relationships
some face-to-face time with that elusive up’, as they call it. That was my ﬁrst lesson with people – not for the right reasons
CEO, or in-house sales people in search in networking.” but for safety reasons – that really
of doors to bust down. As a junior footballer, Burgess was changes you.”
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the printing world where he began to ﬁnd giving me a chance. I thought, ‘If I can personality-driven. However, the theory
his feet for the ﬁrst time as a professional get you to this person, why wouldn’t behind the Invisible Network is simple and
networker. you pay for that?’ I just didn’t pragmatic, not reliant on self-help manuals,
And then he saw the ﬁlm Jerry Maguire. understand it. It was a tough two years.” analysis of corporate management charts
“Sitting in the cinema, a word came up
– kwan, which is now the name of my THE INVISIBLE
or contrived serendipity.
“WHO MATTERS? EVERYONE MATTERS.
company,” says Burgess. “Tom Cruise was
THE BIGGER PICTURE EVERYONE MATTERS IN THIS WORLD.
THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MY
saying to Cuba Gooding Jr, ‘You have to Burgess starts every relationship by
get the chip off your shoulder. You have Burgess spent many long nights asking his new friend, “How can I help
NETWORKING APPROACH AND
to get back to where it all started, and contemplating his skills as a networker you?” It is guaranteed to pique curiosity,
then you’re going to earn the dollars and how best to apply them. The Invisible despite the inevitable cynicism. He puts
EVERYBODY ELSE’S. EVERYBODY ELSE
you’re always talking about.’ Gooding Network crystallised in one of those the Invisible Network in deeper context
says, ‘It’s not just the money I deserve. A-ha moments. for me, using our new relationship as
GOES FOR THE BIG HIGH FLIERS. I GO FOR
It’s not just the coin. It’s the... kwan.’ Tom “We get business from our clients, we example.
Cruise says, ‘Great word! What does it get business from our marketing activities, “You are now in my visible network.
THE PEOPLE UNDER THE RADAR WHO
mean?’ Gooding says, ‘Love, respect, we get business from our accidental/ Sure, I’ll look out for you if I feel there’s
community... and the dollars too. The chance meetings and we get business something. If not, we’ll catch up for coffee
package. The kwan.’
“That hit on everything that I admire.
from our visible networks. But what
about our invisible networks? You might
and have a good time. But let’s say that
you were in my network. I’d ﬁnd out a CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE HIGH FLIERS.”
You have to have good community. You meet 500 people this year who could lot more about you, so I know who you
have to have love. You have to be respected potentially help me. So how do I activate are, what you do and what a business
by your family and peers and you have you to help me? That’s the Invisible Network. opportunity for you looks like – and you
to have money, but not in any order. It’s For the ﬁrst time in my life, everything know the same for me. Everyone in the
the Chinese concept of completeness. I came together.” network is trying to be more relevant to
Tom rather than trying to forge a new Burgess remembers his soccer days in
relationship with Tom directly on the England. He remembers not being given
basis of that one opportunity. It makes a chance to grow into a professional
“WE GET BUSINESS FROM OUR CLIENTS, WE GET
Steven look good in Tom’s eyes and may player. As a result, he is committed to
lead to Tom being activated to look for nurturing three graduates every year, to
BUSINESS FROM OUR MARKETING ACTIVITIES, genuine opportunities for Steven. It also
gives Burgess a big tick (and a personal
give something back.
He also remembers the haunting words
WE GET BUSINESS FROM OUR ACCIDENTAL/CHANCE thrill).
“We’re trying to promote a culture
of Tony Brooking on why he didn’t make
it as a professional footballer, and has
MEETINGS AND WE GET BUSINESS FROM OUR where genuine efforts are made to help
other people, rather than create a system
vowed never again to miss an opportunity.
It has seen him take his Invisible Network
VISIBLE NETWORKS. BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR than promotes token referrals,” says
Burgess. “That’s the difference and that’s
to corporate heavyweights, such as
Westpac Private Bank, Ernst & Young,
INVISIBLE NETWORKS? YOU MIGHT MEET 500 how the Invisible Network came about.
Our networks, our clients and friends,
Deloitte and the elite Entrepreneurs’
Organisation. He is also pushing into
PEOPLE THIS YEAR WHO COULD POTENTIALLY are constantly in contact with people who
could potentially help us. Why aren’t they
the international market, working with
HELP ME. SO HOW DO I ACTIVATE YOU TO HELP ME?
individuals and companies in New Zealand,
activating them for us? Because they don’t Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and
THAT’S THE INVISIBLE NETWORK.”
know how… yet!” Thailand, with further expansion planned.
Burgess’s own network includes the And, of course, Burgess has begun
likes of John Ilhan (Crazy John’s Mobiles working on an Invisible Network book;
founder), Robert Kirby (Chairman of something he hopes will launch his fresh
Village Roadshow), Janine Allis (Boost new approach to networking onto the
don’t care what I’m earning. I need to have Burgess and his company, Kwan, are others in the network – and to their clients.” Juice), Carlo Santoro (Regional Director global stage.
the full unit to be complete.” all about activating the untapped potential The system relies on universal Asia Paciﬁc, Entrepreneurs’ Organisation) After all, with all of those hucksters
Filled with the Kwan spirit, Burgess of existing networks. He claims to have commitment within the network to creating and David Flaskas (founder and Director and charlatans out there who profess
called his friend Francis Awaritefe, an developed the world’s ﬁrst effective how- opportunities for network partners of Grand Slam International). to be custodians of the pot of gold at
unknown talent, and proposed that he to for networking. And in a world crowded without any obvious or immediate return. “I shouldn’t be able to meet with these the end of the networking rainbow, it’s
become his sports manager – a pitch with networking celebrities, such as It’s a bit like Don Corleone without the guns guys. I’m not in their ﬁnancial league,” pleasant to hear someone as modest
made then and there, in the cinema lobby. Anthony Robbins and Wayne Berry, he or the horse head. says Burgess. “But I’ve found a way to and even-headed as Burgess strip it all
“I said, ‘I don’t know anything about may well be right. When Burgess uncovers an opportunity access these people and communicate down to basics.
sports management but I can access The difference is practical. I ask Burgess for a network partner, his name often with them at a level that they are comfortable “Who matters? Everyone matters.
people. Just give me a chance. We’re going how different his philosophy is from, does not get dropped in the process. with. It’s about ﬁnding out a lot more Everyone matters in this world. That’s
to the top’,” Burgess recalls with a broad say, de Bono’s six degrees of separation. He relates the example of an extremely about them ﬁrst, and trying to help them the difference between my networking
grin. “It took me 12 months but I got him “de Bono talks about six degrees of prominent and well-connected member ﬁrst, to earn trust.” approach and everybody else’s. Everybody
on SBS, with Les Murray.” separation, but he doesn’t tell you how of his network (names withheld on else goes for the big high ﬂiers. I go for
Next Burgess built a rapport with to get there. I could perhaps get to a request) – let’s call him Steven – who is LIVE AND LEARN the people under the radar who connect
Ian Thorpe’s manager, David Flaskas, bluechip CEO in eight moves, but not connected with another prominent and Kwan is now three years old – ofﬁcially people to the high ﬂiers. That’s the
a relationship that remains critical to unless I know how to get to each step.” well-connected individual who is not in one year in the Invisible Network space Invisible Network.”
Kwan’s network development. For a networker who acquired his skills Burgess’s network – let’s call him Tom. – and it is a growing success story. Burgess Or, in its most simple form: get to
He started a company, Kwan, initially on the streets of London, you would expect Burgess discovered an opportunity for asserts that he is not about money or ego. know as many people as you possibly
offering sales coaching. “No one was Burgess’s approach to be instinctive and Tom and passed it to Steven to give to He’d rather just ﬂy under the radar. can, and remember your manners.
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