Franky Gunawan, the 145th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, has a regret.

He wishes he’d been more sociable during the early years of his career, when he was working for a big company and had lots of colleagues.

Franky, who’s an introvert, deliberately limited his circle – he had his team, his coffee friends and his lunch friends, so why bother talking to more people?

I can relate – I used to be the same. 

Now that Franky is older and wiser, he understands the value of expanding your horizons. As he says, by meeting more people, you improve your social skills, learn new things and build your network. 

That’s why Franky is in the process of having lunch with 100 strangers – I was number 11.

Last year, Franky started volunteering with a group called Professional Development Forum. He built a relationship with one of the guest speakers – and, wouldn’t you know it, this speaker offered Franky a job as a commercial finance manager.

So it turns out this networking thing really works.

I really enjoyed meeting Franky. He’s smart, friendly, down to earth and quickly made me feel comfortable.