Networking Tips

The Relationship Data Bill of Rights

Drew Sechrist
March 8, 2022
The Relationship Data Bill of Rights

The most valuable data you’ve ever created is hidden from you. You probably don’t even realize it exists.

Meanwhile, other people are using it to get rich, sharing as little of the profit as possible.

Strong words, but true.

The data I’m talking about is the digital footprint each of us creates that indicates who we know. 

At Connect The Dots we call this relationship data. Interestingly, there really isn’t a term for it.

This is incredibly important, precious information.

As everyone knows, a person’s relationships and connections have a massive impact on their success. To paraphrase Reid Hoffman, opportunities come in the form of people.

And each and every person spends their life creating a treasure trove of data about the people they’ve come into contact with. That data is spread across inboxes and apps—helping people other than you get ahead. 

A great example of this is the “people you may know” feature in many social media apps. That’s a huge draw. A social app that already has your friends on it stands a vastly better chance of getting you to log in and look around. 

And when you do that, the app can monetize your attention by showing you ads. Many billions of dollars are made this way.

That’s the power of relationship data in action. It’s strong stuff.

My co-founders and I started Connect The Dots because we think everyone should benefit from the data they create as they live their lives, and that the power of relationship data should belong to the people who actually have the relationships.

When it comes to relationship data, we think there are three fundamental rights that every person should have.

The right of access

You should have easy access to your relationship data. It should be simple to know who you know, how you know them, and what you did together.  This information should not be buried, hidden, or locked behind a paywall. And you shouldn’t have to lose it just because you changed jobs.

The right of expansion

Your relationship data should expand automatically along with your career. You shouldn’t have to labor over it. It should be simple to gather it in one place and keep track of it. And as you develop relationships over time, it should grow along with you.

The right to share 

Your relationship data should be easy to share with people you want to help. Access to people is incredibly precious, and opening your network is one of the most powerful ways to help someone. It should be simple and easy to let your close colleagues, mentees and friends see who you know best that can help them. And within your circle of trust, it should be easy to see who friends know best and ask for help making connections. Conversely, it should be easy to keep your relationship data private or be selective about who can see it.

If you use our platform, you know that it’s designed specifically to give you these rights. And we don’t use the word “rights” lightly. It should not be a privilege to benefit from the data you create. 

That’s a big reason why we’re committed to keeping our platform available for free. 

One of our earliest users told us that our platform takes the unrealized value of his relationship data and returns it back to him in the form of power.

That’s the goal. And the truth is we’re just barely getting started.

Have questions? Let’s talk!

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