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Networks are Key to Creating Lasting Value

PayPal was purchased by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. But the networks formed by the founders may ultimately have been even more valuable than the company itself; over time, those connections contributed to the creation of well-known companies like LinkedIn, Tesla Motors, Yelp, and YouTube.

Fernando Fabre, president of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit that mentors “high-impact entrepreneurs,” spoke to students on April 17. The size of a person’s network has big implications for long-term influence and creating lasting value, Fabre said. That means that building relationships and networks you can trust early in a career is a critical step for future success.

Strong networks have proven especially valuable for Silicon Valley startups, Fabre noted. In the 1960s, groups of scientists and entrepreneurs who had worked together at Fairchild Semiconductor went on to found Intel, AMD, and other companies.

PayPal, Fabre said, “brought an incredible talent pool of people, and after they got bought out by eBay, they started several other impressive companies. They went and redefined success. They didn’t measure success by the size of a company, but by the size of a network.”