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Covert reach out: an annoying power move

When you reach out to someone, you're often power down.

If you reach out and ask for something, you're twice power down.


  1. Reach out impersonally: either have someone else write for you, or make it seem it was an automated email
  2. Ask nothing
  3. Share or state something interesting, or something with a WIIFT that will get them to reply
  4. Once they reply you're power-neutral. If they reply proposing a collaboration or asking for something, you're even power-up

Example (backstory)

I had this guy's book reviewed on this website.

Since he was also publishing summaries and reviews, I reached out to him early on and proposed linking to each other.

He replies by framing my exchange proposal as a request for value:

Sorry I can't share your project (<--- I proposed linking to each other, not "sharing my project")
. Because everyone I know is doing their own project,  (<---self-frames as highly interconnected entrepreneur with cool connections. No bigges, though, might be and it's likely true)
it'd be unfair for me to promote one over the other (<--- The disempowering frame spin, I didn't ask to be promoted by you)
, so 16 years ago I just had to make that choice to not promote anyone in particular,
and instead just attempt to be helpful to all (<--- good-Samaritan self-frame, back then I remember thinking "load of crap")

I didn't think too well of that reply.

But anyway, no biggies.

Now back to today:

Example of covert reach out

Now he reaches out to me on TWO different work-related emails.

Since he only had one email address from me, and I NEVER signed up to his email list, it's obvious that this wasn't a true "automated" reach out.

More like a manipulative game, pretending it was automated.

And he writes:


My guess is that he wasn't looking for one more click.

He was looking for either a link, getting back in touch and proposing something, or whatever it was.

But he didn't want to reach out personally, as that would be personally disempowering to him (he's wealthy and accomplished, so to him it might feel like giving away too much power), and he didn't want to ask directly, as that would be business and negotiation-wise disempowering to him.

So he came up with this fake BS hoping I get back in touch with him.

He can keep on waiting.

Of course I might be very wrong here.

But the evidence doesn't look good on his intentions.

And as our beloved politician once said: to think bad you may sin, but you often get it right.

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