10 lessons in how to build your professional network…

A Twitter thread by

@davidspinks

🤝

1. Build community. There’s no better way to improve your reputation in a field than to be the one bringing people together.

Offline is key: Host events. Big or small. Conferences, meetups or dinners all work.

2. Do great work. If people recognize the work you do before they meet you, they’ll respect you a lot more.

The best connections you’ll make are with the people you work with directly. Choose them wisely.

3. Support people at the same stage as you.

I used to wonder how all these successful people knew each other and would ALWAYS promote each other. It’s because they came up together. My most valuable connections are ppl I became friends with 5-10 years ago before they “made it”.

4. Close the loop when people help you.

If you get advice, follow up later to thank the person, and let them know how it went.

If you get introduced to someone, or make an introduction to someone, follow up and thank them after the meeting.

5. Help every chance you get. The ability to help others is a privilege. Constantly build good karma but giving, with no expectation of returns.

6. Participate in intimate events. Choose the smaller coworking space. Attend the smaller dinners. Join the smaller online communities. Smaller groups will give you a chance to develop deeper relationships.

7. Write consistently. Share what you’re learning along the way. Tweet, blog, video, whatever your format, just keep sharing. Writing a book is the ultimate reputation booster.

You’re never too young to write a book (see: https://t.co/7Og05aeHAA by @erickoester)

8. When you go to networking events, try to talk to less people, for more time. One or two deep conversations are exponentially more valuable than ten quick conversations.

9. If your industry has a big hub in a city, live there for some time. This isn’t going to be possible or easy for everyone, and it’s becoming less important, but it’s still extremely valuable.

The serendipity of running into people in SF has been huge for me.

10. Be transparent in your work, writing, and conversations.

Transparency makes people feel like they know you better, like they can trust you, even if they’re just following you online. It brings them into your journey.

5 Things To Know Before Skiing For The First Time

  1. Skiing is tough. Make sure you are prepared for a bit of exercise. The boots (that make you walk like you are on the moon) are very rigid and carrying the poles and skis can be very awkward. I would suggest you do some warm up exercises before hitting the slopes each day as you can get very stiff if you are not used to this type of exercise.
  2. Learn the basics. Read the maps, understand how the chairlifts work and know how to carry and put on your equipment. Technique is everything. Watch Youtube videos. A great one I found was HOW TO SKI | 10 BEGINNER SKILLS FOR THE FIRST DAY SKIING. Get lessons for at least 3/4 days depending on how you are advancing.
  3. Enjoy it. Don’t be scared or nervous and always remember to lean forward into the slopes. Once you master how to do the snow plough and parrallel turn you can take on most green, blue and red slopes depending on your fitness. Know your limits though. You can pick up incredable speeds on the slopes and I have seen people take risks and have serious falls.
  4. Accomodation. Make sure it is close to the slopes. In Top Apartments Casso del Tonale we were able to ski right to the back door. This saved us any walking in ski boot and hauling gear around. A few years back I went skiing in Whistler, Brittish Columbia, Canada and we stayed 45 minutes bus journey from the slopes. I would not recommend this. It gets very very hot in all your ski gear while sitting on an over crowded bus.
  5. Take in the views. Even if you dont feel comfortable enough doing the big slopes try get a non skiers pass and go up to the top. The views are spectacular. Something I never used to appreciate but some of these are just amazing.

The beginners Skiing Itinerary

With just a few days to go before we head to Italy to go skiing. I am going through the last checks and balances and realise I received this email 4 weeks ago! Ooops!

This is a Skiing Itinerary for a beginner group heading to Passo del Tonale Ski Resort for 5 days. Please be advised this is only an example of what people can do here and what to bring. 🙂

Summary

  • Day 1: We will not be skiing. We will need to get fitted for ski gear, get our bearings and settle in to the accommodation and guess most will be ready for an early night
  • Day 2: Early start. I have booked 5 instructors for day 1 so we can hit the ground running(Literally) 4 hrs of lessons booked for everyone on day one.
  • Day 3: Option of late start to allow us enjoy the ringing in of the new year but everyone free to go skiing as early as they want. 4 Instructors 2 hrs
  • Day 4: Late start – after all it’s a holiday
  • Day 5: Early Start – show off time.

Flight details

  • Outbound – FR9428 Dec 30th 06.25
  • Inbound    – FR4845 Jan 3rd 21.25

Luggage

One cabin sized bag per person. Two Large suit cases could be booked for ski gear (trousers, goggles, gloves & socks) for the group. I suggest everyone wears their ski jacket and boots if possible on the plane as to free up room in the carry on bag. This is the best way to get everything we need to Italy at an effective price.

Dublin Airport Car Park

Quick Park a good option. €39 for the period or €44 for premium parking (leave your car just inside the entrance and they will park it and have it back at exit when we return………..can save 20/30min each side). I am definitely going to do this as I will be arriving at the airport at around 4am after being at a friends weeding the night before ha 😦

hBest to pre book Quickpark , here is the link.

https://prebook.quickpark.ie/#

Transfers:

  • Company FLiXBUS – Private bus

Outbound:

  • Depart Milan(BGY) 11.00am Dec 30th
  • Estimated arrival time 13.07 Dec 30th

Distance 127KM

Inbound:

  • Depart Passo Del Tonale 17.00
  • Estimated arrival Milan(BGY) 19.04

Ski Hire

  • I would advise on this as ski gear can be very expensive. Also we are Irish, how many times are year are we realistically going to be going skiing. Ski hire includes skis, poles, boots and helmet. All set!

Ski Lessons

  • Dec 31st           09.00 -11am & 1.00 – 3pm  – 5 ski instructors
  • Jan   1st            01.00 – 3.00pm                   – 4 ski instructors
  • Jan   2nd           01.00  – 3.00pm                    – 4 ski instructors
  • Jan   3rd           09.00 -11.00am                   – 4 ski instructors

Accommodation

TOP Apartments –  Check in time 4.00pm

  • Check out time 10.00am
  •  

Ski Gear requirements

  • Jacket, Pants, Gloves, Glasses, heavy long socks, warm layers. A warm hat for before and after skiing.

Insurance

You can book single trip or annual insurance. It is very important that Winter Sports are included and I recommend going for the gold version if available(not so expensive as a single trip circa €100. If you have annual holiday insurance you can check if you can add Winter Sports. If you have private medical insurance you could try them. I attach ling to Alliance Insurance who offer both Single Trip and Annual Travel Insurance as a possible option. I recommend you book this immediately.

European Health Insurance Card

In addition its worth booking your European Health Insurance Card. Its Free and provides cover across Europe. It can take a few weeks to get the card so one to prioritise. Here is the link.

https://www2.hse.ie/services/ehic/ehic.html

Preparation for the slopes some videos to watch

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=u+tube+preperation+for+skiing&view=detail&mid=34F3FD2517A6D6AA6A1F34F3FD2517A6D6AA6A1F&FORM=VIRE

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=u+tube+preperation+for+skiing&view=detail&mid=D0601411EEFF5898EED0D0601411EEFF5898EED0&FORM=VIRE

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=u+tube+preperation+for+skiing&view=detail&mid=D0601411EEFF5898EED0D0601411EEFF5898EED0&FORM=VIRE

Passports

Please check your passport is in date! The last thing you want to do is get to the airport and get turned away due to something so silly. Otherwise remember to check in on line in advance.

Any questions please let me know in the comments section below 🙂

5 Things To Do While In Berlin

5 things to do in Berlin.png
5 things to do while in Berlin

A buddy of mine lived in Berlin for a few years so before we went on our Christmas Markets in Berlin trip last month I gave him a shout to get some recommendations for the city at Christmas. Here is what he said to me..

‘Unfortunately a bunch of my best stuff to do was in the summer but Berlin is still an amazing city in winter. I’d say expect snow anyway it’s freezing there! Also the Christmas markets are great this time of year. The best in my opinion is weinachts zauber gendarmanmarket, it’s really traditional. Get some  Gluhwein (Mulled Wine) and racclette!’

This makes me think that I will have to visit the city again in the summer. I love the warm summer days but that being said we really enjoyed the Christmas markets even though they were freezing! 

‘If your staying in berlin I always think your best call is to stay on the east side. Everything’s cheaper and it’s more arty. There are some really cool areas in the east like neukoln or freidrichsein that have a nice buzz, or there’s a lot of good nightlife near somewhere like warschauer strase.

But most importantly I’d say that you should stay near an ubahn/sbahn station (preferably on the ring) and you’ll fly around the city no bother! Berlin is really big so the train is the only good way to get around. They run till one every night and 24 hours Friday and Saturday. Get yourself a map and suffer the cost of looking like a tourist haha.’

As for stuff to do there’s always things happening! Have a look online and I’ll bet you’ll find some great stuff the weekend your there!


The 5 Things To Do While In Berlin are:

1. East side gallery (the Berlin Wall) and all the other touristy stuff. I’d give the TV Tower can be hit and miss depending on the weather and the queue in but the Reichstag gives you a great view of the city at night (you have to book it free a day or two before) and the Brandenburg gate along with the Jewish memorial are right around each other and their all well worth the trip up there to get your fill of history. I’m pretty sure the train stop is just called Brandenburg tor.

2. I was a big fan of all the parks in Berlin. There’s a bunch but if one I’d highly recommend is visiting Mauer Park on a Sunday. There’s a huuuuge market there that sells all sort of cool stuff and nice food. But best of all is the open air karaoke that happens right outside the market. (This is only on in summer). Get a few drinks and sit in the sun (sorry wrote this for a summer trip haha) and watch some of the best amateur singers you’ve ever seen, and some really bad ones. I promise if you go you’ll love and it’s Mc’d by some legend from Dublin.

3. You have to see Potsdam! Potsdam is about 40 minutes outside berlin. It’s a huge park where the Kaisers used to build their summer palaces so you can imagine what it’s like. Very cute town beside the park that’s a different buzz from what you’ll get in Berlin so it can be a nice break. It’s definitely worth a day trip.

4. Check out Berlin’s gorgeous really nice, cheap restaurants. Unfortunately most I found I couldn’t tell you the name just a vague description of their location. But Burgermeister and Bird have the two best burgers in the city hands down. There is a lovely Thai Indonesian place called Tranzit, and a Korean wing spot called angry chicken but I don’t know if it will satisfy an Asian food aficionado such as yourself! But if you wanna be a true Berliner stay away from the Currywurst and stick to the kebabs!

5. Go to the Clubs! Even though I am more of a pub and gaf man myself. YAAM is a top Rasta bar to go in the summer. It’s a big beach bar with a real good buzz. Also you can always buy weed there if any of your mates are that way inclined haha. As for clubs Greusmuller was my favourite and there’s lots of bars and clubs around Warschauer Strase (it’s a stop on the Sbahn) that you’ll all definitely get into if all else fails (being refused from a club more likely than you’d think). Besides that I like Suicide Circus and Renata. Just stay away from Matrix at all cost!


Weekend Break in Berlin at Christmas

To start off with, give yourself as much time if possible. Book your trip from Thursday to Monday and make it a long weekend.

Berlin is so big with so much to see and do. We started by having a meal in the Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower) in Alexanderplatz (a five minute walk from the hotel). This was probably the best experience we had all trip. €20 gets you to the viewing deck where you have a 360° view of the City of Berlin from 207 meters in the sky. There is information signs under each window giving you facts on the view from that window. Pretty cool.

We decided that we would have a meal and drinks in the restaurant to soak in the atmosphere and views of the city. This restaurant is even better than the viewing deck area. We were lucky enough to get a window seats so we could take in all the city had to offer at night. Our seats slowly rotated around giving us a new view of the city every time we looked up!! The restaurant was decorated stylishly for Christmas and had live music with a guy playing piano adding to the beautiful setting.

The food was delicious. Portions are small but tasty. I got lamb which came to €27 so it’s not cheap. We got a wine and beer (Some kind of strawberry beer which was delishous) and took our time for the evening, taking in the views of the City of Berlin. This was such a perfect was to start off the trip, I would throughly recommend it if you are thinking of visiting Berlin. (Note: Check weather updates though as a friend of mine didn’t enjoy it due to the view being hindered by clouds. He also warned us of long waiting times in ques, even though we didn’t experience this.)

To get a hold of the city and the history behind it we decided to get a Berlin CitySightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus at Alexanderplatz. I would not recommend using these guys as there is better alternatives!

It cost €20 each which does each person for 24 hours so we could get a bit of use out of it the next day too. There is a choice between 3 or 4 companies to do this tour with. (You can tell the different tour companies by the colour and style of the busses. This is harder to do than you might think). We later found out there is also a cheaper way of getting to see the main attractions of the city and that is by getting local bus 100, but this would not include the tour guide that you get with the hop on hop off bus tours.

As we began our tour on the Red Line of the Hop on Hop off bus we began to gain a grasp as to the size and scale of Berlin. We saw Rotes Rathaus/Neptunbrunnen, Lustgarten/Museumsinsel/Altes Museum and the memorial garden.

Our first stop was the Brandenburg Gate. A very impressive gate into Tiergarten from the City. Here we walked down the main Street of Uter Den and came across a small group of people in a semi circle and a man in the middle with a mat and three small card board boxes (like the trays you get in a matches box). With the three boxes he was keeping a small ball hidden underneath and the group around were betting €50 to guess which box the ball was under. A set up if I have ever seen one. They even asked us to join in on the game as we walked past.

We then walked over to the Reichstag building. A beautiful government building that you can go for a walk around.

Getting back on the bus we saw Siegessäule Victory Column and continued back into the city stopping at Potsdamer Platz to walk around the Potsdamer Platz Christmas Market. This is where we got a traditional German Frankfurter and chips. It was really good and only cost €6 for two Frankfurters and a portion of chips. We continued to explore the beautiful the market stalls that had all kinds of food, drinks and beautiful hand crafted gifts. Some of the items you could tell took hours to make. We wandered into one particular stall call … They sold very impressive hand crafted Christmas gifts. A lot of these gifts were ornaments or decorations for Christmas made from wood. There was a video of the process of making the gifts inside. It really was truly amazing to see the skills some people have.

After enjoying the market we got back onto the bus and went to Checkpoint Charlie. Here you can get your passport stamped and get a picture with a guard for €3 each. We didn’t bother doing this as it just seemed a little bit dodgy and unofficial. I managed to get in a photo without the guard although strickly this is probably against their rules. Rules are made to be broken! Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

The Dalai Lama

The next place we visited was across the road from Checkpoint Charlie. There is a small Museum here and a real piece of the wall! Some of the posters and photos in this area can really make you feel what it might have been like for the people living in this era.

After this we got the wrong Hop On Hop Off Bus back to Alexanderplatz. Oops ha. This tour seemed better than ours though as the bus was new, their was an option to buy snacks and drinks (even mulled wine! 🙈) and when we plugged our headphones in the tour guide was very interesting and engaging. Unlike the useless shite we were listening to on our own tour with Berlin CitySightseeing Hop On Hop Off.

At Alexanderplatz we went to the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market soaking up more of the Christmas atmosphere. We watched some people ice skating and then decided to go for a drink in the Christmas Market Bar. The mulled wine here is beautiful.

The next day we went to Cafe Oliv for breakfast. It was gorgeous. We got scrambled eggs with bacon, salad and some sourdough bread. (And coffee and orgaange obviously) Great start to the day.

We then went to the other Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz and decided to try a few driferent foods and drinks…

I bought a drink called Grog.

My God! It was warm Rum and it was so strong! Not my cup of tea so I used it as a handwarmer, walking around the rest of the market with the cup warming my cold hands. Nuts covered in different flavors were lovely also!!

(then we got the express train back to the airport). Really easy to get to and from the airport.

Conclusion:

Go to Berlin for Christmas Markets

Enjoy the mulled wine 🍷

Wrap up warm

Watch out for scammers

Enjoy the food and drinks

Oh there was also a Hot Air balloon in the city I forgot to mention! (Not sure why it was there but my guess it you can go up in it to view the city!)

Finally before you go I would recommend reading a book to gain some background as to the history of Germany. I would recommend ‘The Shortest History of Germany’ by James Hawes.

What is there to do in Vancouver? 

So this year I decided to start my travels in Vancouver, BC. What an amazing city it is! The summer sun kicked in as soon as I arrived on the 16th May which made it even more incredible. On wednesday 17th May, my first day in the city, we decided to do a Free Walking Tour with Tour Guys in order develope an understanding of the history and culture of Vancouver, BC. There is three options of tour to do. We did Granville Street and Gastown tour with the Beared Guy! He was an amazing tour guide and would definately recommended doing one of his tours if you’re ever in Vancouver. We started outside The Pacfic Center and made our way down Granville street towards Waterfront station and then on to Gastown where the tour concluded. The interesting points I took from the tour were:

  • Vanvouver was named after Captain George Vancouver who explored the harbour of Burrard in 1792.
  • Granville street was once lined with neon lights (as was the fashion) but was totally renovated when Vancouver won their bid for the Winter Olympics in 2010.
  • Gastown gets its name from Gassy Jack. A proprietor who was broke and only had one barrel of beer left. He stood on two stumps in front of the Hastings Mill workers in now whats known as Gastown and promissed the workers he would sell them alocohol if they would build him a tavern. The next day the tavern was built. 1867

We enjoyed the tour so much we decided we would do another one the next day around Chinatown. Unfortunately I messed up the starting point and ending point and we missed the tour. So instead of letting the day go to waste we strolled down to the Vancouver Library where we enjoyed a relaxing coffee and embrased the magnificent arcitecture.

From there we walked to the courner of Robson and Homer where we got the free shuttle to capilano. The driver was very imformative telling us good places to eat and informing us that the Guiness family built the Lions Gate Bridge during the great depression in the 1930s and sold it back to the City of Vancouver at cost price. The Guiness family also owned a lot of land in North Vancouver and needed the bridge to transport items to their Marine Building on Burrard street.

In Capilano the Bridge was amazing. I must admit I do not like heights so walking on a suspension brigde would not be one of my favourite pastimes but the views we amazing and well worth it. We did the tree top walk and the cliff walk (which is literally along a cliff!!) After we had some food in Bridge House Cafe. The food was very basic and kind of pricey if you ask me!

On Friday 19th May I got my coordinates right and we managed to do another Tour Guys walking tour this time of Downtown and Waterfront. This tour was taken by a canadian women by the name of Ali. She was nice but probably a bit too Canadian for me. She knew her facts though! We went to the Vancouver Arts Gallery and saw outside that there are 4 ships on the roof each a different colour and representing a different race or event. Go on the tour to find out all the info!!

We then walked down towards the waterfront where we learned that a building here was built for $1 Billion Canadian dollars!! Crazy money!! But the cool thing about it is that it has the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) with apiary on the roof along with all kinds of plants etc grown there. All the water for the building is supplied by the rain water that hits the roof! I was amazed by this. Incredable stuff if you ask me. Finally we got a picture with the picsulated Whale (Sea Orkid or something).

That night we went to a gig by the ‘Comedy Mix’ at the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa which was really good fun. After all the laughs we decided to go to Doolins Irish bar for a few and then off to bed.

On Saturday 20th of May we did so much. In the morning we hired bikes and cycled Stanley Park, then went to a Whitecaps game followed by a few drinks in the Lamplighter Bar in Gastown.

We hired bikes on Denman and West Georgia for 12 bucks for 3 hours! How can you go wrong. We got helmets and bikes for as long as we liked. We cycled to stanley park and upon arriving it was obvious which way you were meant to cycle as everyone was going ani clockwise around the outside of Stanley Park. The sun was splitting the skys and there was also a nice gentle breeze to keep you nice and cool. We got about half way around and decided to stop at English Bay beach and chill out, sun bathe and go for a paddle. It was just perfect. Great company, great weather and great location with the views of the mountains of Whistler in the backdrop. Just amazing. We then finished up the cycle and decided to go to the Vancouver Whitecaps game.

The Whitecaps were playing against Kansas City who were top of the Western Conference at the time. The Whitecaps won 2-0 in a fairly poor game if im honest but I was entertained. We got tickets for the singing section and it was great fun! Here’s their song I just can’t get out of my head!

Just Can’t Get Enough (YouTube of similar Celtic chant)

A tweaked version of the Depeche Mode classic.

When I see you, Whitecaps,

I go out of my head,

I just can’t get enough,

I just can’t get enough,

All the things you do to me,

And all the things you said,

I just can’t get enough,

I just can’t get enough

Here in the Southside, I’m falling in love,

And I just can’t seem to get enough of

(while bouncing)

Do do do-do-do-do-do,

Do do do-do-do-do-do.

After all that singing and fun we decided to meet friends of James and hit the Lamplighter Bar in Gastown. It was a good night but what is the story with bouncers in Canada getting this power trip and making you wait an age in the que when there is nobody inside the club! In Ireland the just open the gates and we all flock in.. and I like that way!!

Anyway enough ranting. I had a great night but probably drank a little too much and couldn’t really do much the next day.

Sunday 21st we chilled out for most of the day and Kev introduced me to The Office US. I know its 12 years old or whatever but I don’t watch an awful lot of tv. I ended up watching up to season 3 ep 3 before I left their house 🙂 haha. Its great and I would recommend it to anyone. Anyway we decided to go to the Japanese Botanic Gardens later in the day once everyones hangover had eased a bit. It was $11 entrance but it was totally worth it in my opinion. Achres of beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees.

There was also an Apiary which I thought was pretty cool. I might even have one myself someday if I can. Anything you can make or grow yourself I believe is probably better for you!

On Monday the 22nd I got a lift out to my brothers place in Burnaby. Pretty cool spot he has but I must say it could do with a tidy up. We caught up for a while and then we went to Lynn Creek for the afternoon. It’s a beautiful place when the sun is shining. We did a small hike along by the river and finished up at the car park. A nice day out for my last day in Vancouver. If you are going to Vancouver I would definitely recommend going to Lynn Creek and Canyon. It’s free and enjoyable for all the family. Bring a packed lunch and eat it beside the river!