Posted by: Ingrid Vanderveldt | March 19, 2009

“Never Eat Alone”- Relationships Are Key to Success

With friend and colleage Keith Ferrazzi, author of the bestselling book, "Never Eat Alone" and man behind

With friend and colleage Keith Ferrazzi, author of the bestselling book, "Never Eat Alone" and man behind

Funny thing happened this morning.  Thing that is funny is that what happened isn’t funny/ coincidental at all.  It actually happens to me (and probably you) all the time.  …and every time it does I am reminded of how true my friend Keith Ferrazzi is when he says that “relationships are key to success”.

It is this point exactly why whenever I am giving a speech or talking to students about the best thing they can get out of an MBA program (mine is from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business) I highlight the power of making (but more importantly KEEPING) relationships.  granted, I have certainly had a few business screw ups that would put some of these relationships at risk- but when mistakes are made- it is the way we handle the recovery and act/ treat people with integrity (they way we want to be treated) that there is always a way to turn things around.  Sometimes this takes time.  Sometimes a LOT of time- but it can be done.

As my buddies from Microsoft (thank you Frederic DeWulf) would say “People like to interact and do business with their friends”…how true (and, as synchronicity/relationships would have it- I worked with Frederic to bring the first two Microsoft Small Business Summits to life and brought in Keith to speak!).  As business continues to get smaller in terms of “Degrees of Separation” (i always tell people that part of my business value is that you name the person- and there is an 80% chance I will  be 1 degree of separation from them.  I can’t tell you how- it just happens- but this is EXACTLY why relationships and reputation are key….The other 20% is within 3 degrees of separation…the business world just gets smaller and smaller  in a great way!)  Case in point….

So here’s what happened.  My assistant got a call from Doug Scott yesterday, President/CEO of US Media Television Inc. who was looking to talk with me.  Maggie hooked us up and we had a call at 9AM this morning.

Turns out that (here go the connections) Doug is working on a show with Marilu Henner (remember TAXI?!).  he was doing some research on her producer, Jill Brevda, who works with him.  Unbeknownst to Doug, Jill is a friend of mine from the tv/ business world and Jill and I are connected through our mutual friend Joy DiBenedetto who used to run Global Talent and Booking for all of CNN.  She is now off on another venture that all I can say right now is :)…be on the lookout for HUM…..of which the two of us work on.

From Left, Jill Brevda, me, Alina Fernandez (Fidel Castro's daughter) and the amazing Joy Dibenedetto from HUM

From Left, Jill Brevda, me, Alina Fernandez (Fidel Castro's daughter) and the amazing Joy Dibenedetto from HUM

Doug found me while doing research on Jill.  he called because there are opportunities to potentially do business together and in addition- potentially do more television programming (as you know I am prepping to do another TV show in addition to the daily web show On The Road with iV).  Doug says, “I think I heard of you about a year ago”….I gave a quick ring to friends Jill and Joy and turns out- it appears that both of them talked to Doug a year ago about me being someone he/ we should meet for possible programming.

I told Doug I am potentially going to sign with an agency (I am looking at a few to find the exact right fit) I am in discussions with for my tv, speaking, book and sponsor deals.  Turns out Doug just got off the phone YESTERDAY with one of the top guys in the very same agency I am interested in exploring more with.  Turns out that agency reps Senator (and actor) Fred Thompson who Doug is doing another show with right now.  Jill knows this person at the agency too (they both highly recommend this agency- will keep you posted).  Long story short- everyone knows EVERYONE!

I find it such a beautiful synchronicity that as I am considering my next tv steps…the Universe continues to conspire to point me in the right direction and with the right people.   More importantly though- it again goes to show you the power of relationships.  “People like doing business with their friends” and in doing business with integrity, I know I can count on the people around me to help put in a good word, help me do good business (and another great tv show!) and- to basically be there in business and in friendship- as they can count on with me.

So what to do if you had a business mistake or are just starting?






*  AND TO DO WELL THE NEXT TIME. and if you REALLY want to do something great with what you have learned?  Help someone else as a mentor and pass on your knowledge (thank you to my mentors the late Dr. George Kozmetsky and now, Red McCombs!) Learning from mentors is KEY to achieving anything you desire in life.

With my mentor in his offices in San Antonio- Red McCombs, Founder of Clear Channel Communications

With my mentor in his offices in San Antonio- Red McCombs, Founder of Clear Channel Communications

People will always give you a chance- if you operate with integrity and focus on doing good business.  A friend of mine who I absolutely respect in business but had not talked to in a couple of years from Austin Texas sent me a note regarding this very point last week.  Eugene Supulveda sent me a note that basically generously aknowledged the accomplishments my team and I are making but then added a [stay ]”focused on underpromising and overdelivering” as a key to growth.  When I was a younger, very optimistic CEO- i thought the world was possible (and made relates mistakes).  Now I understand that it is…but with baby steps along the way (underpromising) so that we can CRUSH IT (overdelivering).  I continue to learn- but as you can see…relationships will carry you all throughout your life and career.

I can’t stress enough the power of relationships to do great business.  I am so proud of my friend Keith Ferrazzi and how he has built a business and a brand around promoting the importance of this very subject.  If you haven’t read the book- pick it up.  More than ANY OTHER aspect of living the life you imagined (do what youa re passionate about and stay persistent)- RELATIONSHIPS are what make them go.

Hope you all have a great day, see you tomorrow in blog land and will keep you posted on progress!!!!  (DOn’t forget!- new site launches in 2 weeks and has sign ups for FOiV for sponsor incentives and discounts for you)…okay xoxoxo- have a great day!



  1. I’m in the middle of reading Never Eat Alone! Great book so far!

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