The WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook and the Twenty-Third Law of Relationships

Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp underscores something I’ve believed for a long time: that notwithstanding social media’s ability to connect us with thousands of contacts, we ultimately gravitate towards a small handful of deep, meaningful relationships at work and at home.

About Facebook’s latest move, The New York Times wrote, “Weary of noisy social networks filled with mundane updates from the most remote acquaintances, millions of people have turned to their smartphone address books…for more intimate social connections.” The article goes on to say, “Facebook is betting that the future of social networking will depend not just on broadcasting to the masses but also the ability to quickly and efficiently communicate with your family and closest confidants.”

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This idea is encapsulated in Law Twenty-Three from my new book, Power Relationships: To succeed, you need a small group of people who trust you, believe in you, and are committed to you—not hundreds of superficial contacts. I’ve interviewed and surveyed thousands of professionals on this subject, and they invariably point to 20 or 25 critical relationships that really made a difference in their careers. And, these were also people that they were able to make a difference to.

Ask yourself: who will go out of their way to endorse you and introduce you to their network? Who will drop what they are doing and help you when you are in need? Who will tell others that they’ve never known someone as trustworthy and talented as you? For these things, you need a handful of great relationships, not hundreds of superficial “friends” or contacts.

Do you know a small group of people who will walk through a wall for you? Perhaps, more importantly, are you willing to put yourself on the line for them? Have you given them your unwavering loyalty? Make sure you have loyalists, not just acquaintances.

In your professional life, how many truly important relationships do you think you have? Leave a comment, below: 


My new book has just been published. Click here to get a copy of Power Relationships now on, and you can then download the 90-page Power Relationships Personal Planning Guide I wrote for my readers for free.

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