David Gowel has made many career transitions: from civilian to military, from military to academic, and finally from academic to entrepreneurship. Along the way, Gowel used LinkedIn to achieve each step; an experience, he says, that has made him into an expert on how to use LinkedIn to become a master networker.
He even wrote a book to prove it. The Power in a Link: Open Doors, Close Deals, and Change the way you Do Business Using LinkedIn, (Wiley, December 2011) is a 159-page opus on becoming a master social networker. Gowel, a West Point graduate who served as a platoon leader in Iraq and has taught leadership classes at MIT, says CEOs and entrepreneurs are generally pretty bad at using LinkedIn. He says they use it as a business card or résumé service when they really should be using it to mine for new clients, new connections, and new employees.
“LinkedIn has very slowly evolved into an incredible force for social business intelligence that is readily available if you know how to use it,” says Gowel, who was once described as a LinkedIn Jedi. “That’s why we don’t think [entrepreneurs] are generally using it as well as they could. When used properly, LinkedIn is very much disrupting other ways we’ve done [networking]. You can reduce the time you spend in those other activities and be much more focused on making connections if you are high-quality and ethical.”
In January 2010, Gowel and his co-founder Mark Rockefeller started RockTech, a Boston-based software company that has built online tools for CEOs, entrepreneurs, sales professionals and job seekers to help leverage their LinkedIn accounts. Their main product, TAP for LinkedIn ($29/year) ties directly into a LinkedIn profile and guides its user through the recommended settings and strategies. According to Gowel, it’s easier than reading a book, and cheaper than online tutorials.
Inc.com decided to tap Gowel’s LinkedIn expertise and his new book for some of its networking inspiration. Here’s five key takeaways… (read full article).