Ari Gold and Networking Advice for the Real World

Did anyone catch last week’s episode of Entourage? If you did not yet but intend to, STOP reading. Spoilers below.

Entourage Spoiler Warning

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In this episode Ari Gold wrestles with the decision of whether to take a lucrative job offer to become the head of a major studio. Long story short, he decides NOT to take the offer. But instead of rejecting it outright, he goes to the Board and recommends Dana Gordon, a colleague and personal friend of Ari’s who wanted the job the most anyway. Dana takes the job, offers Ari a nice rub-n-tug and also promises Vince a movie to land him back on top, which is what Ari wanted all along. Perfect. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

The episode shows some great insight on the almost-nepotistic rule of law in Hollywood.

Now let me offer some insight of my own. For both the movie business AND real life for us common folks, the same saying holds true. “Its not just what you, but who you know.” hence it’s crucially important to know how to network and maintain a good reputation.

Top Five Pieces of Advice for Networking and Reputation Management

1. Follow the Golden Rule – do unto other as you would have done to you. What I mean is that we must pay special attention to the bridges we build and the bridges we burn. Life has a funny way of coming full circle. Even if your decisions don’t bite you directly in the ass immediately, they will still residual impact on your reputation.

2. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day – But it could potentially be destroyed in one – like natural disaster, demerits on your stature and reputation with others hang on a very tenuous thread. Reputations take a long time of steady recognition and social proofing to build. Yet they can be wrecked by isolated incidents. Hence it’s crucially important to consider the implications of your actions. Step back and weigh everything from a vantage point other than your own as much as possible.

3. You are who your Friends are – My father said this so often in my adolescence that I never forgot it, despite the fact that I didn’t fully comprehend his advice at the time. Looking back, what he meant is that everything in this world is not about you and only you. People will associate who you are based on the circles you are in. Relationships with the right people have a way of pulling your own stature up while others have a way of dragging you down. If you hang out with nothing but drunks, chances are good that you may be one too. If you spend time talking business with friends, chances are that you’re probably entrepreneurial yourself. Or you could all be drunken business owners. I don’t know.

4. Cultivate the Habit of Proper Etiquette – Common courtesies, even with yourself, matter a great deal. These are not acts but habits. Knowing good table manners, how to be appropriate on a golf course, and maintaining consideration matter in this world. It’s synonymous with “having class.” And thus it separates you from the rest of the uncultured masses. For more info, look up the definition of the world “gentleman” in the dictionary.

5. Get Good at Remembering Faces and Names – it only takes one introduction to ‘know’ somebody. And yet if you forget these interactions, the people you once met will go back into the unidentified populous. That is such a waste. To get really good at networking you have to pay attention to this type of stuff. Someone saying “I’m bad with names” is really saying they didn’t take the time and consideration to remember the person. Make it a point to say someone’s name a few times when you first meet then. That will go a long way in not only improving your memory but also your network of friends and business acquaintances.

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