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Your network is a very useful source of data, mine it

Use your network to win more business. FILE
Use your network to win more business. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In this age of big data the late David Ogilvy’s quote comes into play when he says, “I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance (and) we pursue knowledge in the way a pig pursues truffles.”

Let’s explore the face-to-face mode of sourcing news. When Gaston Glock created the famous pistol named after him, his primary source of information came through analogue means.

At that time the highest selling firearms were made by the Americans, the Swiss, the Italians and the Germans, and not a single soul expected any good to come from Austria, where Gaston was born and bred.

As a small supplier of utility knives to the Austrian military he occasionally walked along the corridors of the army offices and one day he overheard an exchange that led him to believe that the force was looking for a new type of weapon.

He reached out to his contacts in the administration to get details and began to design what he thought would fit the brief.

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Within his network were weapons designers and mechanical engineers with knowledge and skills to bring the dream to life. He brought them together in a well kitted workshop. He developed a number of prototypes which needed testing, and once again reverted to his network within the army, the final users of the product.

He invited high ranking officers to his home for meals and they discussed the design of handguns. This type of research was instrumental to the success of the pistol that he first produced, the Glock 17, and subsequent firearms.

He had a deftness for recruiting the right people, a penchant for mixing with influencers in the defence sector, and an acute understanding of the impact that trade fairs and conventions had on sales.

When his brand was chosen by the New York Police Department as a standard issue, its popularity rose rapidly.

Among the things that Gaston Glock put in place to set the ground to create a top selling firearm brand was the ability to gather data the old fashioned way while expanding his network.

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