Tinkering with OCE

✨ Build your tribe find your vibe

Published 3 months ago • 4 min read

So I’ve been told by alumni that one of the best parts of OCE is the network of influential leaders you get to tap into.

There’s a magic that happens when someone influential recognizes your potential. They then share their resources with you, introduce you to their friends, opportunities, advice etc.

After all, our world is about who we can connect, influence or build with.

Don’t believe me? Check out Paypal Mafia.

Arguably one of the most powerful circles in modern history. A group of individuals all promoting each other’s new ventures, investing in them, sharing ideas, creating and growing together.

These individuals now control some of the largest companies in the world after all meeting at the crossroads of Paypal.

That confirmed for me that this one skill is perhaps more important than any of the things I share about starting projects, finding your people, and cultivating them. Because the truth is I’m no tech expert, BUT – I know how to find people who are, and how to have those people help me (build the OCE community).

I call it tribe hunting :)

Today, we are going through the process that I use to building a powerful network.


If you are new, welcome to OCE’s weekly newsletter curated for the ambitious youth…here are some articles you missed from previous weeks:


5 lessons learned—so for your next internship, you don’t

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Community Spotlight: Lucas Gil - Finance Guru

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Weird Interview Questions from Credit Karma, Google, Uber and Wayfair

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#1 Find Your Tribe

I first moved to the Bay Area as a nerdy new grad with a light resume. I knew exactly 0 people, seriously.

But very intentionally, I wanted to build a strong professional network and to learn from people. The first thing I did was finding my tribe.

Sure, the PayPal mafia was a thing, but look a little closer, and there was a huge network of Stanford CS people (my roommate was one) and even Canadian mafias.

In 2018, Global Shapers (changemakers <30 y.o) was hosting an annual get together in Sacramento, and I was lucky to meet many of the amazing folks back when they were new transplant to the Bay. Today, those tribes have evolved but they still exist — there is a huge advantage in finding one that suits you, or even better, starting one yourself.

#2 Ask Questions and Listen

Now that you are in the room, how to add to each convo you might ask, what do you end up talking about? What value can you add as someone who’s just moved to the area or new to an industry?

The answer is, you simply ask for advice.

For example, people move to the Bay Area from all over the world because they’re incredibly passionate about what they’re building. They love talking about that. and if you have something that you’re passionate about too, and ask for advice, you were sure to get a lot of it.

Get genuinely curious.

For me, I was coming from Toronto, so I asked people about various mysteries of the tech industry I didn’t understand as an outsider. Like how does stock vesting at tech companies work?

I also like to do some research before meeting so when we do meet, I ask more specific questions that makes them say “wow, you’ve done your homework on me.”

Give the gift of your curiosity to a human, they’ll feel it.

#3 Having a “Thing"

That said, the conversations are more productive when you have “a thing.” What I mean by that is that all of these conversations and networking are more useful when you are starting or working on a project.

When you have a directed goal in mind, then the conversations often are more valuable for all parties involved, because you are making yourself an expert in a particular area and your questions are more relevant.

Otherwise you will surely encounter very busy people who simply refuse to “grab coffee” or "follow-up" because it’s a poor use of time.

In our case, the OCE crew co-create solutions with world class founders in regions where innovation is needed the most – a winner of a conversation starter.

Look at the circle you are trying to build. They are builders, creators, thinkers. You are too, you just need to lean into it.

#4 Asking People for More People

Now that I have 2 or 3 people on my contact list. The next thing I did was to be intentional and methodical about it, by asking these people I knew to please sit down and suggest 3 to 5 people for me to meet.

The amazing thing about SF tech culture was that this worked! Although the intros were very light on context, people were willing to grab coffee and share what they were working on, and even opened up to job referrals down the line.

After each meeting, I would follow up with a few bullet points on what I learned from the conversation, and then ask for two or three more people to meet. This was like building my own personal viral loop, where every chat turned into a few more chats.

Ripples Matter.

#5 Nurture Don’t Just Hunt

To be honest, I’m terrible at nurturing relationships. I am not the party planning type, and you surely won't find me scheduling dinner reservations.

As an introverted recluse, I created a more successful strategy for myself, where I would simply document what I was learning and turn it into a newsletter.

There is a virtuous cycle in talking to interesting people, writing down learnings/insights, building up a reputation, thus being exposed to more interesting people, then rinse and repeat.

This core loop helped power the growth of my professional network over the years. In this way, people find you and your work and your ideas, so that you don’t have to put in time for 1000x coffee meetings.

People love youth that are doing good things, they want to support that. But to start you have to give them a reason to believe.

Now go forth, find your tribe.

Like what you read? Share this newsletter with friends!

Also, add me as a contact to ensure you receive these newsletters in your inbox :)

Check out this amazing conference:

OCE alumni, Amal Zeidan and her organization Steps2Flourish is hosting an annual conference – Embracing New Beginnings in Mental Health on March 15th.

Get your ticket here

PS. Wanna join a community of ambitious youth making change in their communities?

We run a summer cohort for ambitious youth (high school and undergrads) to work directly with world-class founders while learning from Silicon Valley leaders.

You can also explore purposeful opportunities through our Impact Internship Opportunities Database.

Get Curious.


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