A Networking Journey to the Oval Office
3 min read

A Networking Journey to the Oval Office

A story of how Bill Clinton networked his way to the presidency.
A Networking Journey to the Oval Office

The phenomena of compounding returns exerts itself in all aspects of life, not just financial markets. In life, a powerful network can offer more value than any amount of money in our bank. A fatherless young man from a small town in Arkansas understood this. He would apply it to become the most powerful man in the world.

As soon as Bill Clinton began his studies at Oxford University he formed a habit that proved to be invaluable in his political career. Clinton recorded the names and details of the people he met in a black notebook. This practice evolved into maintaining a box of alphabetical index cards listing the contact information of friends, teachers, political figures, and other potentially helpful contacts.

Clinton made it a daily routine to create a 3x5 card for each new person he met. A new handshake, a new note card. Along with basic contact details, Clinton included personal information and context about each interaction. This helped him add personal touch in later communications​​. By 1980, Clinton had written around 10,000 index cards of contacts he had met over the years.

Clinton believed in the power of personal outreaches. He often wrote to people he had just met, old friends, or anyone he wanted to thank, wish a happy birthday, or follow up with. These gestures made people feel valued​​.

This methodical and personal approach to networking played a crucial role in Clinton's rise in politics, ultimately contributing to his election as the President of the United States. His dedication to building and maintaining a vast network of personal contacts was a testament to the power of networking in achieving professional success.

As the demands of his expanding network grew during his presidency in the 1990s, Clinton embraced the emerging technology of PDAs. An early adopter of the Psion Series 3, a handheld device predating modern smartphones, Clinton utilized it for the electronic management of contacts, schedules, and crucial information. This transition from analog to digital organization reflected broader societal trends during the late 20th century. Individuals, including Clinton, adapted to evolving technologies for streamlined networking and information management.

Clinton's shift from index cards to PDAs illustrates not only his personal adaptation to changing tools but also the broader impact of technology on traditional practices. The move to digital platforms represented a pragmatic response to the increasing complexity of political networking. This showcased Clinton's ability to navigate both technological innovation and shifting political landscapes.

Today PDAs are a relic of the past. Smartphones have replaced them and with this upgrade a sea of apps have surfaced. Navigating this sea of different platforms creates its own inefficiencies. That's why Dex was created to integrate them into one place. So that you can still leverage the power of social media to expand your network while laser focusing on building meaningful relationships. If Bill could make it so far by starting off with index cards, imagine what you could do with Dex, your own personal CRM.

Dex brings together your connections across a plethora of platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram, etc. From here you can organize your connections, add personal details, and set reminders to reach out to them on a cadence of your choosing.

As Bill Clinton proved, reaching out to a contact a few times a year, even if it is simply to wish them a happy birthday, is a thoughtful way to keep the connection strong. With Dex you can keep up with more of your contacts while still keeping the relationships personal, all without having to lug around a suitcase full of index cards.