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3 intangibles to win business & make connections from Tim Sanders

Apr 10, 2013

In the year 2002 Tim Sanders, the then Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!, wrote a book titled ‘Love is the killer app’ that wobbled the old model of business and organizational philosophy. The idea is brilliant, poignant, effective and perfectly practical and the book sold like a hot cake back then.

Recently I chanced upon to revisit the book. It is always a worthy and amusing read. The central and most powerful idea of the book tells that to sustain and win in this new era of experience economy you need to transform yourself to something better than old you, and in the word of Tim you have to be a lovecat!

In an attempt to define the idea of ‘lovecat’ Tim asserted that lovecat is the person who offers her wisdom freely, gives away her connections to everyone who asks for, and be compassionate.

Tim claimed that to become a ‘lovecat’ one needs three intangibles that he pointed as knowledge, network and compassion.

Knowledge: Acquiring, disseminating and practicing knowledge is the first step of becoming a ‘lovecat’. As Tim puts:

By knowledge, I mean everything you have learned and everything that you continue to learn. Knowledge represents all you have picked up while doing your job, and all you have taught yourself by reading every moment you can find the time.


Tim suggested that gathering knowledge is an unstoppable process. We can learn any time if we have a learning and observant attitude. However, he claimed that book is the best source for knowledge.

You can find knowledge almost anywhere-through observation, experience, or conversation. But by far the easiest, most effective way to obtain knowledge is through books.


To emphasize the idea of knowledge Tim quoted Harry Beckwith from the book ‘The Invisible Touch:

Instead of thinking about value added, think about knowledge added. What knowledge can you add to your service, or communicate about your service, that will make you more attractive to…… business partners and customers?

Network: ‘You funding depends on whom you know’ claimed Fayaz Taher, CEO of Fortuna Group at a recent FS Talk. And it’s true, connections are currency. Tim says:

By Network, I mean your entire web of relationships. In the twenty first century, our success will be based on the people we know. Everyone in our address book is a potential partner for every person we meet. Everyone can fit somewhere in our ever expanding business universe.

Relationships are the nodes in our individual network that constitute the promise of our bizlife and serve as a predictor of our success.


If you organize and leverage your relationships as a network, you will generate long-lasting value (and peace of mind) beyond your stock options, mutual funds and bank accounts.

Compassion: Be human Seth Godin famously suggested in his brilliant book ‘Linchpin’. The human feeling, idea, creativity, ingenuity, love, and the very human nature is invaluable. Nobody can produce through a machine. Compassion is a human trait and you can’t produce it in machine! It is the ability to make connection, fall in love and stay close to one’s heart. Tim says:

By Compassion, I mean that personal quality that machines can never possess-the human ability to reach out with warmth, whether through eye contact, physical touch, or words. The ability to show compassion is paramount to human happiness in any situation, whether at work or at home.


As the world becomes more competitive, we also compete for people’s emotions. In business […..] it’s not completely important what people think about you-it is, however, totally important how they feel about you.

People are hungry for compassion. There’s never enough of it. And the tougher the times are, the more important it becomes.


No matter how technical our work stations may be, because we are all human, the network is at its best when compassion underlies our motivations.

Complement with Spreading ideas: Conversation vs. monologue, & First ‘FS Talk’ recap: 20 Quotables

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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at

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