Steve Jobs Invented the iPhone But Warned It Was No Substitute for Networking Face-to-Face

Shakir Akorede • Guest Writer

Science is repeatedly confirming what Jobs knew intuitively -- people need to be in a room together to really accomplish great things.

The most recent data from Statista re-affirms the explosion of social networks. And you already know that exponential boom has been nothing short of a revolution in the business world.

With social technology, it’s easy to intuitively suppose that face-to-face networking is going out of style. Why not? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others have become indispensable networking tools and what’s more, live streaming is changing the game more and more. Software like ClickMeeting makes web conferences, live meetings and remote training incrediably simple.

But is traditional networking truly antiquated?

Steve Jobs, one of the greatest geniuses of the technology age, made a clear-cut remark when he said, “There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions.” In agreement, statistics also prove that the traditional method of networking remains the most effective.

A study by Great Business Schools entitled, “The Numbers Behind Networking,” reveals that 84 percent of business leaders prefer in-person meetings. In fact, 72 percent of them, according to the findings, declare that ordinary looks and handshakes influence them more.

There’s a plethora of reasons why traditional networking will continue to be relevant. Here are some fundamental points every businessperson should keep in mind.

1. Professionalism and effectiveness.

Going one-on-one with people allows professional, effective engagement. Contrarily, digital interactions do not always meet these standards, especially those that are related to morale, recognition and trust. Many companies that have attempted to take meetings to the virtual world quickly resorted back to in-person meetings due to fatal flaws.

Aside from that, the number of people who have either missed an opportunity or got fired on account of their failure to maintain a balance between professional persona and social media life is another adverse effect of digital technology on professional networking.

2. True, concrete connection.

No matter the soft spot for social networking, personal interaction is the heart of business relationships. The reason is that linking up with people online can easily go cold and awkward thus jeopardizing networking goals.

It’s better to use social media as a means to bolster a connection with people whom you’ve already met or likely engaged. If you haven't met, but will soon, use social media to express your excitement -- “Hello, I'm so glad we're finally meeting in person!”

Consider this example. Jeff Goins, the author of Real Artists Don’t Starve, was only able to maximize his virtual mentorship with Michael Hyatt by eventually meeting him -- after seven months of online courses and two months of more than 50 email exchanges. As Goins put it, “there’s no doubt that if I hadn’t met him, I would be much further behind in my career.”

3. Networking like a pro.

To be honest, everything goes online. We’re continuously inundated with sure-fire hacks and smart tips from every Tom, Dick and Harry. It’s just really hard to separate the expert from the mediocre, much less of real from fake.

For high networking goals, getting together at dinners, seminars and other networking events drives better results. Following the real intimation offered by these avenues, you’ll have no difficulty to build on the relationship via whatever digital means.

Thomas Camarda, while connecting the saying “out of sight, out of mind” with networking, submits that networking events could determine the success of a business by 80 percent. According to him, “When others see you appear at different business networking events, their acceptance for you grows stronger, and you will attract top networkers.”


Face-to-face networking is all-important for business and career success. As reported by FoxBusiness, 60-80 percent of jobs -- which are never online -- are secured through personal relationships. Plus, one-on-one is still the best way to learn first-hand skills, build a positive reputation and stronger business relations, gain more exposure and, of course, navigate successfully in the business world.

The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in a Digital World

Technology makes meetings super easy, but there is no substitute for being in the same room.

Technology makes meetings super easy, but there is no substitute for being in the same room.

Today there are so many opportunities to communicate digitally.  We have the power of a computer in our pocket, and we can text, phone and even video chat almost instantaneously.  Although these tools are very powerful, face-to-face connections enable communication that is simply not possible from a distance.  This fact is one of the precise reasons we created InPerson.  As I write this, I'm borrowing thoughts from Lucinda Honeycutt's article in Entrepreneur from earlier this year.  

Power of conferences: A personal perspective.

Among the most effective ways to meet face-to-face with members of your online network is to attend periodic conferences and professional gatherings.  The conferences you choose to attend may be annual conferences or monthly chapter meetings.  In either case you have opportunities to galvanize existing relationships and forge new ones. The one conference I make sure not to miss is Type-A Parent. It has grown from an annual conference located near me to multiple conferences throughout the year, all over the country, and a series of small mastermind summits.

Networking events.

There are professional events in every imaginable topic. I say professional events, because the spectrum of opportunity exists well beyond just conferences.  Trade shows, trade association meetings, professional association meetings, local MeetUp groups and many other events are available to find and connect with existing and new relationships.  The Convention Industry Council published a report with Price Waterhouse Cooper in 2014 indicating there were about 2 Million different conferences and events annually.  More recently, EventBrite has indicated its services are engaged for about the same number of events.  I suspect there is some overlap between those numbers, but that still represents a very large pie to enjoy!  

For anyone who wants to increase their personal and business networks or wants to help launch their career to the next level, face-to-face meetings are a must. By attending conferences and other professional events, you will meet thousands of people and broaden your reach beyond what you would be able to accomplish online.


Top 5 Airports in the World


Singapore Changi Airport connects customers to over 200 destinations worldwide, with 5000 arrivals and departures a week by 80 international airlines. 

Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group
"It is a great honour to be named World's Best Airport by Skytrax for the third year running. This recognition is particularly pleasing for us as it comes at a time of transformation at Changi Airport."


Incheon International Airport is the largest airport in South Korea and one of the busiest airports in the world. It is a former winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards.


Munich Airport is the second busiest airport in Germany and the secondary hub for Lufthansa German Airlines. Munich Airport has connections to destinations all over the world, but much more besides. With over 150 retail stores and some 50 places where you can eat and drink, it’s like a city center, offering travelers and visitors plenty to see and do.


Hong Kong International Airport serves over 100 airlines operating flights to about 180 locations worldwide, including 44 destinations on the Chinese Mainland. It is a former, multiple winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards.


Boasting both domestic and international terminals, Tokyo International Airport Haneda plays a very important role in furthering Japan’s development as a tourism-oriented nation