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#006: Building Unbreakable Communities and Becoming a Superconnector

Ryan Paugh, the COO & Co-Founder of The Community company, joins Todd Stewart and Bob Calise to discuss why he started The Community Company, how he became an expert in community building, how to do the perfect introduction, why habitual generosity matters in relationship building, and most importantly, how to be a better community builder yourself.

Ryan Paugh’s Quick-Hit Career Timeline

Ryan started his career at Merck

Ryan graduated college, put his resume out there, and wanted to see who could give him experience. Ryan was managing the intranet for Merck. Right in the beginning, Ryan was managing a community and building a community.

Ryan wrote content at night – which sparked his career

Ryan started a blog – with another friend – called Employee Evolution.  It was a blog that was a voice for the Gen Y generation. He started to get calls from the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times…they were featured on 60-Minutes as being the voice for his generation and how the workforce should be.

Ryan started Brazen, a social network for Gen Y

Out of Employee Evolution, Brazen was born – the social network for Gen Y. It was for working professionals to connect with each other to share ideas, share openly about what they’re going through in their life, and to get answers to the questions that they were facing in their life.

Community management and community building started to become this important idea that companies were thinking about and this was when Ryan realized what his strengths were in community building.

Dan Schawbel, a member of Brazen, introduced Ryan to Scott Gerber

Every big opportunity in Ryant’s life can point back to one big relationship. Dan is one of them. When Ryan first met Scott, he was excited that he was able to bring together the biggest people in the startup space like Alexis Ohanian, the founders of Living Social, and the founders of Rent the Runway. He thought, that YEC could be the next big entrepreneur network.

YEC was born

YEC started as a non-profit. They pivoted quickly and decided to move away from sponsors being the primary driver of their company to having their members be the primary driver.  Ryan and Scott spent a lot of time early on debating putting a price tag on their membership, but when they got over that, they were amazed of the people who were willing to write a check.

As they spent years building YEC, they started to think, “do we start verticalizing this community and bringing it to other professionals who are also hungry for a sense of community in their professional lives and need access to the right people and resources to be more successful.  They decided to go with the ladder.

Anyone who is ambitious in their career lives in a lonely world, and need access to people and resources in order to be successful.

That’s what led YEC to start working more with Forbes and launching the Forbes Councils.

Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships that Matter

The Art of Selectivity

People notice the company you keep. We live in a world where the internet is filled with “ninjas” and “gurus” and “hucksters” who want to sell you something.  So it’s very important that you and the people that you keep empower you to look and feel like upstanding members of our digital society. If you’re just connected with people who are trying to sell info products, then you’re going to be like that person too.

People should Google-Proof their Reputations. Why does it matter?

What people see about you online is how they’re going to perceive who you are. If they don’t find something that doesn’t represent who you want to be and what types of opportunities you want to come your way, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.

Every employer will always Google potential hires.  If they Google you and find interesting articles, a personal blog, articles that you’ve written on other sites where you’re sharing your ideas, that will always give you a leg up against others.

It’s very important to have a strong digital footprint.

The hard skills that people are looking for in jobs right now are becoming easier and easier to come by.  It’s harder to become a thinker and someone who has ideas that stand out. The best way to do that is sharing your ideas with the world.

We cover much more in Ryan’s book, Superconnector. Tune in to hear how to do the perfect LinkedIn introduction, why double opt-in matters so much and much much more.  

Connect with Ryan and say hi!

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