Paul Erdos, a prolific Hungarian mathematician, exemplified the power of networking in scientific and technological innovation. His nomadic lifestyle, hopping from one collaborator’s couch to another, broke the stereotype of a solitary scientist. Erdos, co-authoring over 1,500 papers with more than 500 collaborators, demonstrated networking’s role in fostering intellectual growth and creativity.

Erdos’s story, particularly his collaboration with George Szekeres, highlighted networking as a tool for symbiotic intellectual growth, not just socialising. His approach to problem-solving through collaboration brought unique perspectives and knowledge, enriching his understanding of mathematics. For instance, his work with Alfred Renyi on the “Erdos-Renyi model” in combinatorics, and with Ronald Graham in Ramsey theory, showcased the broadening of his mathematical horizon.

Moreover, Erdos’s interactions with diverse minds like Andrew Wiles, known for solving Fermat’s Last Theorem, sparked creative solutions to complex problems. This cross-pollination of ideas from different fields is a testament to the power of networking in the innovation process.

In the tech world, the story of Erdos contradicts the notion of the solitary genius. Successful tech innovators, like Erdos, thrive on collaboration. They engage with individuals who challenge their ideas and expand their creativity. The networking ethos is evident in the success stories of Albert Einstein, the founders of Google, and Bill Gates. Their interactions with figures like Niels Bohr, John von Neumann, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Warren Buffett highlight the significance of networking in driving innovation.

Actionable Tips for Effective Networking

  • Identify Mutual Interests: Engage in conversations that uncover shared passions or problems to solve. Like Erdos and Szekeres’ taxi ride conversation, finding common ground can lead to fruitful collaborations.
  • Diversify Your Network: Seek collaborators from different fields. This diversity, as seen in Erdos’s collaborations, brings unique perspectives and knowledge, enriching your understanding and approach to problems.
  • Focus on Intellectual Growth: Approach networking with the aim of learning and intellectual stimulation. Challenge each other’s ideas and push the boundaries of your knowledge.
  • Build Symbiotic Relationships: Aim for mutually beneficial interactions where both parties gain something valuable, be it knowledge, perspectives, or solutions.
  • Embrace Different Perspectives: Be open to ideas that challenge your thought process. This openness can lead
About the author
Daniel Dippold

I've built Emoti, which measured emotional intelligence based on sound-waves, Unlimitix, an emotionally-savvy AI-coach that helps you lose weight, EWOR, a global school and platform making the process of founding and leading a venture more easy and accessible ar, and Sigma Squared Society, the world's largest community of young entrepreneurs under 26. I consult bigger corporations and (local) governments to harness the power of data and deploy practically useful machine learning and artificial intelligence applications (see