The Xecutives.net team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2020 was a very interesting year, with a lot of wonderful encounters with interesting people from all over the world. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all interview partners, all those who support us with their ideas and the entire readership! Think positive, ask questions and let other people share their views of this world. Stay independent and get a picture of this world by using as many sources as possible. The closer you put yourself to the source, by taking on the role of a networker, the more important and valuable information can be. Do not make decisions on the basis of religious assumptions, targeted commercial marketing and conspiracy theories, but rather based on your findings as an independent and self-reliant critical thinker.
The following summary of fundamental information gathering principles is based on Christian Dueblin’s Executive MBA thesis about networking, and its impact on career at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It also relies in an evidentiary manner on his long-term networking experiences. You’ll find below an Editor’s note from the Xecutives.net team, grounded in Christian’s findings, with some more information about an interesting and challenging topic. This synopsis can probably help you to shape your own informational experiences.
What is networking about?
Networking is about connecting people, projects and companies, a synergy of the right people sharing the right ideas at an opportune time. Networking has a lot to do with timely advantages. Networkers are usually better informed than other people. Since they get relevant and interesting information at an early stage, primarily in a first- or second-hand manner, they are able to plan and prepare themselves beforehand for business and other opportunities. Such advantages can be leveraged for business purposes. If networking goes overboard, it can possibly become criminal in nature, as we have learned because of bribery cases, insider trading based on illegal stock or bond tips, Ponzi schemes, and antitrust regulations, but also because of politics. Many people, as we can see from the current state of the mass media, are particularly susceptible to such illicit schemes. It is interesting to observe that predatory criminal individuals, and their machinations, are often recognized very late in the implementation of their scams. That has to do with the fact that many humans worry less than they actually should about those with whom they do business, those for whom they vote, and those to whom they entrust money. One may call this naive; a failure to perform the proper due diligence. But this naivety has a lot to do with how people inform themselves, if they genuinely wish to inform themselves at all, as we will see later on when it comes to religious and dogmatic thinking.
Networking is about networked thinking, which is difficult for many people because of their essential natures, temperaments and genetic dispositions. But good networkers are mostly people who are interested in different topics. Interest is essential. It does mean, that you are open minded and curious regarding history, politics, nature, religion, arts, sports, etc. A networker does not have to be an expert in those fields, but he/she should have a certain level of awareness. We could also describe this level with “knowledgeability“.
Many people are born with network benefits and advantages, belonging e.g. to powerful families or having financial resources that facilitate contact with important and powerful people. The pursuit of money has always been an important human drive, in some cases it is the only drive. Important networks in the past represented the noble families. Today, with few exceptions, they have largely lost their importance due to class decadence and democracy movements, and have been replaced by other networks. In order to understand and interpret these networks, the ability to think critically and coherently is required. A basis for critical thinking can be a good academic education. Children also learn critical thinking in families where questions may be asked, and answers to questions are given.
What does education mean?
In order to be able to thinking networked and to become knowledgeable one must be educated and trained. The best way to learn to be able to think coherently is a good education at home, by one’s parents, grandparents and within the wider family, as it collectively challenges children to ask questions. Children usually, from their nature, do ask very good questions, but sometimes they do not get answers. Without answers they’ll stop asking questions. Have you realized yourself that you’re often in company with other people who do not ask questions? Have you realized that this is a kind of ”typical sign of low interest”? Have you realised that there are some individuals who do ask questions, taking time to get involved? But there are only a few of them. Have you also noticed that many people do not want to ask anything at all, but mainly want to have their own opinion confirmed? Have you also noticed that certain people never do have time, not even for their families and their children? Have you also noticed that many people find it difficult to establish ties with other people in the real and actual world, investing too much time in the Internet, and not taking responsibility for their actions on social networks? Often these are people who try too hard to connect to other people through technical means, a great challenge of our time. Some of this is undoubtedly the result of the excessive and anonymous consumption of social media on the Internet. This process is actively managed and boosted by many IT companies, social “networks”, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, by generating bubbles in which consumers move around without being aware of it, allowing themselves to consume too much time in a digital life modality.
So, networked thinking is mainly about interests, which is connected with time. But interest and time are not enough. A good networker knows about behaviours. He or she might understand how other people live, think and behave. Good behaviour does contain lots of things, also manners and attitudes, knowledge about other cultures, but it is also about empathy. Usually, people who are interested are also empathic. There is not only an intellectual relationship between the networker and other people, but also a level of feelings. Think about a child asking you questions, which are very relevant to the child, and you only reply in an intellectual way, without estimating the meaning and age level of the question and without showing him – reinforcing for him –that asking is great! The child will suddenly stop asking questions because he or she does not feel right. The child is not interested in such an artificial way of communication. We can learn a lot from children. Besides, the same happens in lots of companies.
A foundation in good schooling – which is unfortunately not guaranteed in lots of regions on earth – is a next level to reach on the way to networked thinking. Wherever there is dictatorship and despotism, there is none or not enough education – which works out absolutely in favour of dictators and despots, an easy business model. It suits their purposes very well if people do not ask questions. This seems self-evident at first sight, but be aware of the fact, that there are many countries and regions on earth suffering from a severe lack of education. On second sight you will find out that this lack of education is very often an active decision made by people trying to hold onto their power. Read about religion in Europe in the Middle Ages. The priests spoke unintelligibly in Latin to their uneducated and mostly illiterate audience, which was not knowledgeable and was not expected nor desired to become knowledgeable, only devout, oftentimes without even a basic catechism. So, sometimes education is replaced by religion – a clear sign that people are not yet prepared to deal with the abuse of power and knowledge. Individuals who hold the reins of power and control over others like to keep people ignorant, loyal and devout with strong conditioning, so that no critical questions can arise. Many religions and also companies thereby take on sectarian traits.
Why always asking critical questions?
Critical questions are essential for society and for companies. When you become aware that critical questions are denied and result in pressure tactics, you can be sure that somebody is trying to hold the power. Arab Emirates, China and Russia are good examples, also many other countries. But as life clearly shows, there are always people asking questions. Think about the humble monk Luther, who changed the religious system and broke the power of the Catholic Church. So far, this is easy to understand and certainly not the place to delve further into details and politics. However, coherent thinking without a good ability to get and accumulate knowledge and put together knowledge is not a good networker basis. Or let us say it like this: You’ll never become a networked thinking person if you are not interested in what is happening, what has happened and without knowing what your impact is on other people.
Humankind has not changed genetically in the last 200,000 years, but our entire environmental surround has totally changed. Our consciousness signatures are still scaled by the same genetic coding and sequencing and the same cognitive approaches, that we used to use in small groups and tribes to hunt mammoths as well as collect food and maintain homeostasis, still power our overview on what happened in and around “the tribe” even today. Yet today, in our postmodern digitally mediated reality, it is very difficult to get an overview or “big picture” of what is happening around us. Those who are well connected receive important first- or second-hand information. Those who are not networked and do not inform themselves through an ambient findability that goes beyond search engines and religious topics, have an informational and content disadvantage. And sometimes, people do not wish to be informed. They disdain going out of their way to glean useful knowledge, either out of a sense of false certainty in their existing sources or a strong anti-intellectual streak that resembles a pride in their own ignorance. They only want to believe in others’ views and opinions. This also results in the fact that people are looking for other people who could probably solve their problems – a pattern of naive hope. The thing is, that hope is not an active behaviour. It is a result of self-limitation – again a religious pattern. Such people believe in the redeemer or saviour strongly, which explains certain nationalism occurring at regular intervals. These are clear signs of collective naivety. Redeemers and dictators, as well as people profiting of people’s ignorance, like naivism, cultivate this naivety with the help of easy paroles and promises. But for difficult questions there are usually no easy answers. This is also the case in business life. A good entrepreneur is aware of this fact.
Mark Twain, probably one of the most informed and most intelligent writers on earth, once said:” If you do not read the newspapers, you are not informed. If you read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” That is a very nimble thought and it is so thorough. A great deal of people do not understand that all sources of information are manipulated – some a bit more, some a little less. Whoever has the intention to inform and the platform to do it from, mostly also wants to persuade other people. Having information means being in a position of power. Large social networks such as Google and Facebook have a lot of information and therefore a lot of power. As massive social containers, they get all the information from you and your children, who all use the Internet – and often think little or nothing of it: the persons who comprise their social network are their product. Whoever uses these networks becomes a listener and a silent collaborator for these networks. This makes these networks dangerous as some people are wilfully and relentlessly trying to misuse information.
There are other differences between entrepreneurs and people who do not think things through. An entrepreneur will never rely on half-truths and conspiracy theories when making business decisions. He must think things through to the end, otherwise he risks losing his business. Half-truths, as they circulate everywhere today and are promoted by media worldwide, are poison for business decisions, they are poison for family decisions and decisions of any kind. People sharing such half-truths are mostly people who cannot be held responsible for what they share with the public. It is similar to people sharing conspiracy theories as we will see later on.
The media’s role
Media companies play a major role here, as the example of the USA and the presidential elections have just shown. Half-truths come from both left and right. Newspapers that strive to get to the bottom of the truth are rare. Therefore, the networker has to inform himself by using different media and different sources. Networking is also characterized by the fact that a networker does not necessarily have an opinion on every topic. He or she can certainly admit that he or she does not understand anything or too little about a topic to share their knowledge with other people. It is symptomatic for our society, and incidentally also for newspaper makers, who are interested in selling their media, to have a solution and an opinion on every topic. This explains why social media is full of stupidity and meaningless comments. A lot of people are not able to make a difference as they are not properly informed, only influenced by one media, such as Fox News or CNN in USA, but also state-controlled and managed media, which is even worse. This results in totalitarian circumstances akin to Arab Emirates, Russia, Turkey and China, but people are not aware of such circumstances in their own country due to lack of education and information, due to the lack of independent and non-censored media.
People, sharing their opinion every day on all kind of topics, tend not to ask questions but to share their opinions, which are mostly wrong. But as such people are not entrepreneurs, such as most journalists and media anchors, they do not risk being held responsible. Their bosses and the owner of media companies must be considered and seen differently. Their goal is to sell their media products, therefore, as we can see daily consuming medias, are interested in selling their newspapers and shows to a bright audience. So there is no difference between media and selling any product, such as chocolate. The more people eat it, the better for the shareholders of the media product. Quality does usually not matter. But a good networker must be interested in quality. Not only quality of products, but also quality regarding humans and their attitude and their mind-set. By the way, good networkers do not eat bad chocolate.
So, what is this all about?
During a dinner at Christian Dueblin’s lake house and office, he told a story. A CEO who attended the meeting summarized the following anecdote: Christian was just presenting one of his great wines. It was a Château L’Angélus 1983, a superb wine indeed, and people were duly impressed as he explained that this is the wine, James Bond (Daniel Craig) offered Eva Green in the train to Montenegro (James Bond – Casino Royale). Christian said the following: “People cannot think coherently, due to the fact that some information is fake and other information is too complicated. But in order to get along and make good decisions, sometimes it is not necessary to understand everything in detail. If a good entrepreneur becomes aware of the possibility that something could actualize or could change, he already starts to change things around him – also mothers do this. They usually don’t wait until a child gets sick. A good mother tries to change her child’s behaviour. The same is true with ecological questions. The question is not, if humans really have influence on the climate and if we really are the reason for the climate changes. The point is, that it is imaginable and distinctly probable, which is already reason enough to change, as we’ll never obtain total certainty through shared agreement on a topic.”
Religious thinking versus common sense
The interesting thing is what Christian said next: “People say that they believe in God, though they cannot really prove God. Nobody can – not even Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus. But people mention Him in their constitutions, they adapt their moral lives to this invisible Creator, saying “my God exists” – excluding other people with other ideas and other versions of the same or a different God. But at the same time, they think about details and even about conspiracy theories: why ecological consequences are not made by man, why certain information is fake, they are part of God’s plan, etc. So that they can say, “people do not have to change their approach towards nature and our resources”. So, on the one hand, they believe, or act as they really do believe in the existence of God – which cannot be proved at all – hence making him mandatory, also for other people. On the other hand, they deny, what definitely could be or is, because it is not in alignment with their ‘coherent’ belief system, which does not correspond with the natural world, only the other myths and legends that it emerged from. This results in a queer picture of this world. And those who profit, are those who like to have the power on those people, who are easy manageable.
Conspiracy events and theories
The same unfortunately holds true with conspiracy events and theories. People sharing conspiracy theories want to get a big audience. It is often their business to do so, and they can make money with conspiratorial accounts and increase their influence on other people. This approach has become a real business model for lots of media companies and politicians worldwide. Again, take a look at media in your country. But other people, who believe in conspiracies, usually have great problems in understanding the simplest contexts they are proffered as a factual account. To believe in conspiracy is a generalized attitude that results in a perpetual confirmation bias toward what one already believes, as well as a predisposition to not have to think about complex topics. Even the silliest people can share conspiracy events. Conspiracy arrives at the same level as religious dogma in such a moment. There is no difference. To break this vicious circle, these people and their audience need knowledge and understanding. They need to be able to think coherently. There is enough you’ll find out which is bad and one could change, before delving in conspiracy theories. Therefore, parents should tell their children how to be informed, how to use media and especially social media. But most parents don’t care or are not knowledgeable enough to teach their own children. If they are not, media and social media companies as well as politicians will take the lead, mostly utilizing an easy subliminal approach for children who are not prepared yet to think critically.
Conspiracy theorists and fake news distributors are usually people who do not take or have to take responsibility, such as social media companies worldwide: They are interested in money and power and they can be viewed as social engineers who, like criminal sociopaths, toss infected meat into a pool of sharks to see what animal will sicken and die from the poisoned meal, while selling their media product. They can, despite the spread of stupidities, let themselves fall into the net of responsible society and, once their outlandishly concocted story, news item or complicated false narrative comes to light as fabricated, may even declare that a conspiracy is true and defend it, mostly with the help of electronic social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But they never take responsibility for their actions, for they are selling their messages as if it were God’s truth. This is what distinguishes these people fundamentally from more honest and upright entrepreneurs and business owners, parents, as well as networked people. As a rule, business people are the ones who have to think and act pragmatically and who have to and should care for their employees, even in tough times. This also applies to farmers and craftsmen who work independently, and it should apply for parents’ education of their children. Conspiracy theories and fake news do not help to make their business successful and flourishing.
This is why Xecutives.net attaches great importance to what these independent entrepreneurs and business owners think. They are generally aware of their responsibilities. No one can run a business without seriously addressing the most important issues in this world, by being as comprehensive in their awareness as much as possible. Social networks make it very easy to spread stupidity – and there are always people believing outlandish things, without running the risks of being held responsible for what they believe and what they express about what they believe. Imagine a family member, who talks about conspiracies in his family home without contributing to their normal life and without being held responsible for what he believes, does and did. Social networks that allow such toxic beliefs and the illogical narratives that support them, often mutate into media carriers of such quasi-religious tendencies.
Free speech versus not being accountable
The owners of these social media containers, such as Twitter and Facebook, do not want to be adjudicated as responsible as well; they claim they are just providing a service for free speech. This business model – where nobody is accountable for dangerous, false and divisive ideas, theories and narratives – should not be accepted by an enlightened society. We live in times of evading responsibility at all costs and the feckless desire arises, to let other people solve problems – again, a typical religious tendency, now detached from a God-based memeplex and generalized in an increasingly bored and spoiled crowd of passive onlookers and bystanders.
So, to conclude, always consider various sources of information! Xecutives.net is happy to be one of those sources, providing you with good interviews with interesting people from all over the world.
The Xecutives.net Team
© 2020 by Christian Dueblin. All rights reserved. Other publications are only allowed with the explicit permission of the author.