Forget virtual friends, I have 325 business friends and counting...
by David Philpott, Chairman of IoD Kent
Gone are the days when a friend was a real friend. Then
bonds forged in the playground were life-long – through all the ups
To make a friend these days, all you have to do is accept a
request on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Yet most of these so-called friends are virtualand in my case, I
have never met half of them.
It worries me that with over 300 Twitter "followers", I appear
to be more popular than Jesus who could only muster 12.
We are all familiar with the old saying "with friends like
these, who needs enemies?" Never was that more true than in the
dog-eat-dog world of business.
It is with a certain sense of irony then, that as I come to near
the end of my three-year term as chairman it is the business
friendships I have forged that are perhaps the biggest personal
legacy of my tenure.
During that time, our branch has held its own in terms of
membership and in the face of the biggest global recession since
the 1920s, still boasts more than 1,500 members who think it
worthwhile paying their £360 annual subscription.
And it is from this un-eroded number (I inherited 1,500 members
three years ago) that in 2012, 325 chose to attend many of our
events here in the Garden of England.
these 325 that I count as my business friends. They are real and
they amount to so much more than a photo profile with some
meaningless drivel on a social media website.
You know, "Greg is a driven, highly motivated, IT professional,
delivering solutions in a complex world" sort of thing. "Yeah,
yeah, I know, but who are you?" I want to shout back at the screen.
"Are you honest, reliable, loyal and fun to be with?" for such are
When I took on the mantle in March 2010, I knew but a handful of
the membership. Now I count the committee members who work with me
and those who regularly support our events as my closest
With them, I am able to enjoy what our grandparents might have
Last year, I wrote a column called Snakes in Suits. Referring to
the best-selling book of that title, I lamented the absence of
integrity in some business relationships and the manipulative
machinations of the many megalomaniacs and indeed sociopaths that
one comes across on the slippery ladder to the pinnacle of business
With hand on heart it makes me feel all fuzzy and warm inside to
know I have 325 business colleagues in Kent who are not like that