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How to open doors in your career through networking

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Rebecca Leder, a senior manager at Salesforce, shares her ‘knock’ method for cultivating professional relationships.

Networking is often described as one of the most important parts of career progression, but what’s the best way to navigate it? Rebecca Leder, senior manager for customer success at Salesforce, recently wrote a book on the topic.

Leder has spent her 12-plus years in marketing so far honing a five-step plan she calls the ‘knock’ method. Here, she shares some of its key points and explains why professional relationships don’t always have to be transactional.

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‘Always focus on the other person or company and what you can contribute to a relationship with them’
– REBECCA LEDER

How does the knock method work for networking?

The knock method is a five-step methodology and guide to building high-quality career relationships. The idea is that when we ‘knock’ thoughtfully and intentionally on others’ doors – in other words, prepare to connect with individuals in our careers – opportunities will knock for all of us.

The research says that high-quality, mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationships – even in our careers – are good for our mental and physical health. And they don’t just lead to jobs, but contribute to enhanced productivity, amplify impact and create positive change in our teams, organisations, communities and our world.

The first letter of the five steps spell ‘knock’:

  • Know my topic, my contact, and specifics up front – research and prepare to connect
  • Not about me – be other-centred, focus on what we can do together to create an impact
  • Own it – bring authenticity to relationships and invest in relationships and opportunities up front
  • Commonality – bringing shared interests and backgrounds to the forefront builds trust and opens the door
  • Keep giving – practise generosity and gratitude and help others, even as you develop your own career
How can we go about networking now in a virtual world?

You spend the time to prepare, researching the people, company and opportunities you want to explore. Research can help you filter out the individuals and opportunities that would not be worth anyone’s time.

Once you know your topic and your contact (or company), you should know what you have in common with them and what value you can bring to them, and what you’d like to discuss that would benefit them. Bring your unique experiences to the forefront and demonstrate you’ve put the work in up front, but always focus on the other person or company and what you can contribute to a relationship with them.

Lastly, be generous. Offer ideas and resources based on what their needs are. Fill their gaps and solve problems for them.

In the knock method, you mention ‘other-centredness’. Can you explain what that means?

Other-centeredness is about shifting focus off of yourself and onto others using an outward-focused lens. When connecting with someone in your career, you could say something like, ‘I’m interested in working for your company because I like finance and I noticed an open position.’

Or, you could say, ‘As a leader in the fintech industry, I noticed your company not only values profitability and innovation, but also the wellbeing of your employees, as evident by your recent article in [X publication] on the recent change to your paid time off policy. Wellbeing is one of my values too and I’m looking to bring my three years of experience to your company because I’m great at balancing aggressive deadlines while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.’

Notice that you’re focused on the company, its goals and its values. You invested in the relationship, showing you researched and read about them in a specific publication, and you’re bringing contributions to help them achieve their goals and align with their values. It’s more about them than it is you.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about successful networking during your career?

I like to say, create an experience, not an exchange. When cultivating mutually beneficial career relationships – whether with a mentor, a colleague or a client – find ways to partner and help each other.

Create something together – an experience – rather than just an exchange of talent and time. Rather than slipping someone your business card for a hopeful future sale, find out what their interests are, what problems they’re currently trying to solve, and uncover ways you can help.

An experience comes with more well-rounded feelings, such as excitement, friendship, care, interest in the other person and curiosity, and leads to future opportunities, whereas exchanges feel transactional and fall flat.

With transactional exchanges, when it’s over, the door pretty much closes. It could be opened again later, but there’s less feeling and mutual value behind it, so it’s short-lived and, therefore, less valuable for all.

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Bitcoin price back above $40,000 after Elon Musk comments | Bitcoin

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The price of bitcoin hit a three-week high on Monday, climbing back above $40,000 after Elon Musk said that Tesla would resume allowing transactions made in the digital currency once crypto mining becomes greener.

The electric car company’s latest change of direction on its acceptance of bitcoin once again highlighted the continuing ability of Tesla’s billionaire chief executive to influence the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing bitcoin transactions,” Musk said in a tweet on Sunday.

The price of one bitcoin climbed to a high of $41,033 (£29,063) on Monday before slipping back to $40,580, still up more than 12% from its price before Musk’s tweet.

Musk, one of the most high-profile proponents of cryptocurrencies, also said that Tesla sold about 10% of its holdings to confirm bitcoin could be liquidated easily without moving the market.

He announced in May that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin for car purchases, citing long-brewing environmental concerns for a swift reversal in the company’s position on the cryptocurrency. In February, Tesla revealed it had bought $1.5bn of bitcoin and would accept it as a form of payment for cars. But the cryptocurrency’s production is at odds with the company’s mission toward a “zero-emission future”.

Bitcoin fell more than 10% after Musk’s tweet in May. He said that he believed cryptocurrency had a promising future but it could not be at great cost to the environment.

The energy used to produce bitcoin alone is equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, a tool from researchers at Cambridge University that measures the currency’s energy use.

Bitcoin mining – the process in which a bitcoin is awarded to a computer that solves a complex series of algorithms – is deeply energy-intensive. Because there is a finite number of bitcoins that can be mined – 21m – computers have to solve harder and harder algorithms in order to get bitcoin. The special equipment and intense processing power use a lot of electricity – as much as some entire countries.

The concerns over energy use aside, cryptocurrencies have split opinion among investors and financial regulators for other reasons, including the rollercoaster ride sparked by their frequent swings in price.

Despite bitcoin’s recent rise, it is still trading about a third lower than the record high of $63,000, which it reached in April. A year ago, bitcoin’s value was under $9,500.

Earlier in June, the Central American country of El Salvador became the first in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, as part of its technology-loving president’s proposals to use the cryptocurrency to promote “financial inclusion”, investment and economic development.

However, others remain unconvinced, and cryptocurrencies remain controversial. Global regulators are sceptical, on account of their volatility and vulnerability to theft or hacking.

The Bank of England has previously warned that the rise of digital currencies could set off a flood of withdrawals from high-street banks, risking financial stability and the wider economy, and cautioned that investors risk losing their money.

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According to various measures, bitcoin is undervalued at current prices, said Alexandra Clark, a sales trader at the digital asset broker GlobalBlock, although she added: “Many analysts are still on the fence when it comes to determining whether the digital asset is ready to continue its uptrend.”

Tesla’s decision to sell 10% of its bitcoin holding “has brought about fresh accusations of pumping and dumping by Musk and reiterated the need for an investigation by the SEC [US Securities and Exchange Commission],” Clark said.

The US securities watchdog warned Tesla last year that Musk had twice violated a settlement requiring his tweets and material public communications to be preapproved by company lawyers, the Wall Street Journal reported at the start of June.

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Price-capped broadband on hold for New York State after judge rules telcos would ‘suffer unrecoverable losses’ • The Register

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A new law due to come into force tomorrow that would force broadband providers in New York State to provide net access to low-income households for $15 a month has been put on hold.

A preliminary injunction [PDF] was granted by United States District Judge Denis R Hurley on Friday after a string of trade bodies – including the New York State Telecommunications Association and The Broadband Association – launched the action on behalf of their members.

The ruling notes that telcos and ISPs forced to impose the price caps would “suffer unrecoverable losses increasing with time” and that the “bulk of these losses will stem from lost income.”

“While a telecommunications giant like Verizon may be able to absorb such a loss, others may not: the Champlain Telephone Company, for example, estimates that nearly half [approximately 48 per cent] of [its] existing broadband customers will qualify for discounted rates,’ with each such customer ‘caus[ing] a monetary loss’,” it states.

The legal action also highlighted that not only would telcos lose revenue by offering cut-price access, they would also incur additional costs associated with increased spending on advertising.

In April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put his name to legislation that would force operators in the state to offer $15 a month high-speed internet to low-income families across the state.

The legislation also made it a legal requirement for operators to inform the authorities about their broadband products and prices, and how many had taken up the offers.

In all, it was estimated this change would impact seven million New Yorkers and some 2.7 million households.

At the time, Governor Cuomo said the need for remote access to work, education, and healthcare – which had been brought into sharp focus by the pandemic – had underlined the “need to make sure every household has access to affordable internet.”

“This program – the first of its kind in the nation – will ensure that no New Yorker will have to forego having reliable home internet service and no child’s education will have to suffer due to their economic situation,” he said.

US telcos in the crosshairs of the enforced price cap were quick to challenge the legislation, pointing out, among other things, a temporary $50-a-month discount being offered to households as part of a federal benefit.

In a 19-page lawsuit filed on 30 April, the industry lined up to say that they’re already doing their bit to help close the digital divide including offering cut-price tariffs to people on low incomes.

They also claim that New York is acting beyond its jurisdiction.

“In short, New York has overstepped its regulatory authority,” lawyers acting on behalf of the telcos said in their lawsuit.

Governor Cuomo hit back almost immediately and in a statement on the same day as the 30 April lawsuit said: “I knew giant telecom companies would be upset by our efforts to level the playing field, and right on cue, they’re pushing back. This is nothing more than a transparent attempt by billion-dollar corporations putting profit ahead of creating a more fair and just society.”

Fast-forward to this week and the decision to grant a temporary injunction halting the introduction of the $15-a-month broadband cap has left many wondering what happens next.

In a statement, US Telecom said: “The broadband industry is committed to working with state and federal policymakers on sustainable solutions that will serve the needs of all low-income Americans. While well-intended, the state’s law ignored the $50 monthly broadband discount Congress enacted, as well as the many commitments, programs and offerings that broadband providers have made for low-income consumers.” ®

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Sweden’s Vässla raises $11m for its e-bike rental service

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The company is building a subscription service for its micromobility vehicle, which is a cross between a moped and a traditional e-bike.

Vässla, a Swedish micromobility start-up, has raised $11m in fresh funds to expand during the increasing demand for e-bikes.

The Stockholm-based company initially launched with e-mopeds and is now launching an e-bike with a club-like subscription model.

Vässla Club will target individuals, delivery drivers and businesses like hotels and holiday resorts with a subscription model to access its e-bikes with fleet management features built in for businesses.

The round of funding was led by Swedish investment firm Skabholmen Invest with eEquity contributing to the round.

The company is running trials in the Scandinavian market with further trials pencilled in for Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg and Madrid. It is also planning a UK launch once legislation around e-scooter and other electric micromobility vehicles has been introduced beyond the current trial stages across the country.

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Vässla designed its bikes in-house and describes it as a midway point between a moped and an electric scooter. It has a maximum speed of 25km/hr and battery range of 40km.

The company was founded by chief executive Rickard Bröms over his frustration with commuting and a mission to reduce dependency on privately owned cars.

“The problem with electric pedal bikes is that your morning commute becomes a workout session – you arrive at work or at your important meeting sweaty and tired. It’s really no better than using packed trains or buses,” Bröms said.

The new iteration of its bike is lighter but capable of multiple trips a day, he added.

“The investment, which will help us launch Vässla Club, and expand into other territories, comes at a very exciting time and we are very much looking forward to seeing how the attitudes of the general public towards micromobility will change over the next few years.”

Wilhelm Pettersson, CEO of lead investor Skabholmen Invest, said that it invested in the company as it believes the “future of urban planning will exclude personal cars”.

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