It’s Not What You Know, It’s How You Show.


It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

This line bothers me. It sounds almost conspiratorial, as if there is some group of others working together to hold you back.

It’s also a false dichotomy. How will you build peoples’ trust if you have nothing valuable to offer?

Networking is much easier when you’ve got other pursuits. For example, I have met some of my best professional connections just through reading and commenting on the same blogs. Through posting on LinkedIn, I have had old friends and strangers across the world asking me questions about Excel and work as an analyst. 

This “knowing people by knowing things” approach is likely more productive than attending the old-fashioned networking events — a method I had pursued so much in the past as to write a book about it.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” isn’t quite true, or helpful. Knowing things and knowing people are two sides of the same coin. But often converting knowledge to relationships is difficult. Here is where a new principle helps:

It’s not what you know, it’s how you show.

I blog on data analysis and Microsoft Excel. I’ve been in various analyst roles for a few years and possess a couple of advanced degrees on the topic. 

But still.

Most bloggers on this subject are much more advanced than me. They would likely laugh at some solutions I give. 

Impostor syndrome sets in. What the heck am I doing posting stuff that everyone already seems to know?

What keeps me going is the principle that it’s not what you know, it’s how you show.

There is little original content on spreadsheet modelling. There are, however, new ways of spreading the word.

For me, that has been a heavy Instagram campaign (as far as I can tell, I am the only user regularly posting Excel-related content on that platform) and blending classic Excel tips and tricks with big-picture riffs on analytics and life as an analyst. My site is targeted to recent grads and others new to the data game, not seasoned developers or data scientists.

Little of what I share on Excel is new to the Internet — my last post was simply onhow to add. But for every black-belt Excel developer, there are scores of Internet surfers looking for a boost. It seems silly to post something that seems obvious to me, but I can’t write just to impress the ninjas!

I don’t know everything, but I can communicate what I know. How I show then influences who I know. 

Networking = Content + Communication.

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