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Influencer Sahil Bloom Advises Knocking on Doors to Network

    • A venture capitalist sparked conversation online when he said people should knock on doors to network, Fortune reported Wednesday
    • Strong reactions to the thread poured in, amid increased anxiety over gun violence. 
    • Public-safety experts had mixed reactions to the idea of knocking on a stranger’s door to boost your career.

On Sunday, an investor and influencer told people to knock on doors to boost career connections — and frustrated the internet, Fortune reported Wednesday

Public-safety experts told Insider it might not be the safest idea ever, depending on how you do it. 

On Sunday, Sahil Bloom, managing partner of SRB Ventures, advised young people who are trying to “get ahead” to don a button-down shirt, bring a jug of coffee and cups to offer, and knock on the doors to ask people for career advice


Twitter users responded strongly to the thread, as Fortune noted. “Can you imagine trying to do this if you’re black,” one user quote-tweeted.

“Hustle and grind guys are always like ‘my best advice is to inconvenience and annoy as many people as possible,'” another person tweeted

Bloom acknowledged the reactions in follow-up tweets and in an emailed statement to Insider. (He also said he thinks of himself as someone who tries to help people move away from “hustle culture.”)

“I didn’t think through all of the challenges and nuance very well before sharing it — fully accept all of those pushbacks and disagreements and learned a lot from it,” he wrote to Insider. 

He added he was inspired by a conversation he had with a musician Saturday who knocked on his door, and Bloom later helped him film a music video. “It was admittedly naive to think that everyone would have an experience similar to this young man who came to my house,” he added. 

Public-safety experts had mixed reactions to Bloom’s original advice. 

“From a crime-prevention standpoint, I would caution people from doing that,” said Brent Ambuehl, crime-prevention coordinator at the El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office. 

Alicia D. Smith said she thought Bloom’s idea was cool — with caveats. “I would totally do that. I totally would. I think if a person knows their community,” it can make sense, Smith said. 

Smith is vice president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and a longtime community organizer. She’s participated in community-led public-safety initiatives in south Minneapolis, she said. 

Smith’s tips were: If a person wants to knock on doors alone, they should tell a friend and turn on some sort of location service. Don’t go inside, and if you offer people food and drink, it might make them nervous.

As a Black woman organizer, she has long had to be aware of her identity in these types of situations.

“We know that many of us live in a state of constant awareness, I would call it, ‘If I’m going to be here in this area, how many people will know I am here, how will people receive me’?” she said. “

Over the years, Smith has acquired tactics for lessening tension when she comes to a door, like showing her hands or taking a step back. 

“Unfortunately, that’s the reality which we live in… where people are afraid of their neighbors,”  she added.

In the US, violent crime and property crime have gone down since the 1990s, but people continue to believe the opposite, according to Pew Research Center

Bloom’s thread came in the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that authorities have said was racially motivated, and another mass shooting in a school in Uvalde, Texas. Both were highly publicized. Users brought up both race and guns while replying to Bloom’s tweets.  

Smith thinks the greater access to media from across the country has made people feel more anxious about safety. 

“It’s so overwhelming,” Smith said. “It’s highlighted in a way to keep us afraid of one another.”

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