We’ve seen in the last two weeks that becoming a superconnector is a great way to enrich lives, including your own. Daunted by the idea? This week we look at an super-effective connector who doesn’t even own a computer.
For starters, let’s look at one fascinating person. You’ll find Peter Harding 40 miles south-west of London, down a narrow country lane that leads to a jumble of old farm buildings. Your eye is drawn to a gleaming metallic shape, streamlined and sinuous. This is a 1957 Aurelia B20, built by Lancia in the long-gone days when it was the grande dame of Italian cars.
Peter used to run an air freight business. A quarter-century ago he quit to pursue his passion. He took three years to restore his own Aurelia – and realized that working with these cars would make him happy for the rest of his life. He had no formal engineering or mechanical training. Yet when he set up shop in the barn, he found customers almost immediately. He’s been busy ever since.
His customers come from all walks of life and have become his friends. They tour with him in France or Italy. He introduces them to each other, and they introduce each other to him. He also connects a lot of things related to the cars – buyers with sellers, auctioneers and dealers with both, owners with suppliers of parts.
He doesn’t advertise. He has no website, just an answering machine behind the kettle in his office. But if you happen to buy one of these cars, the chances are that at some point you’ll find yourself driving down the narrow lane to his barn.
Peter is a specialist superconnector, fitting together all the pieces of this world around this particular car. Because he dominates this little network, he connects everyone and everything in it. He didn’t set out to do this. It’s just what happened.
So here we have a man who lives in a village, hasn’t had many jobs or lived in many places, doesn’t reach out to people, and is fairly hard to find. He doesn’t have a high network potential. He’s not very active in cultivating the network he has. He wouldn’t score highly on a networking quiz. What on earth explains his success as a superconnector?
The strength of his message. The role he fulfils. His absolute obsession. With Peter Harding, the message creates the network more than the network creates the message. To reverse Marshall McLuhan’s famous saying, the message is the medium. In next week’s blog, we’ll explore another strange example of a superconnector – this time someone who was feared and shunned by his colleagues – who had a tremendously positive impact on the world. We’ll see that great superconnectors can break all the networking rules and still have a rich life and great impact. Perhaps you could too – with the right message.