The Lifetime Value of Your Professional Relationships

How important is your co-worker to you? How about your manager or mentor? Let’s use data science to explore the value of professional relationships.

Start with a basic assumption that the time you spend with someone is a good measure of their value to you. That way, you could think about dissecting your relationships with them based on the frequency, length, and recency of your interactions. Moreover, you could use a sophisticated lifetime value modeling approach to answer questions about your relationships. Not all professional relationships are created equal, and lifetime value modeling could be a fun way to decide which ones are worth your time.


It might be difficult to do this for your personal relationships, but with some data from Google Calendar, it’s possible to apply lifetime value modeling to your professional relationships. I use Google calendar religiously to keep track of who I meet with and for how long. If you do this as well, you’d be able to figure out exactly how much time you can expect to spend with your manager over the course of your lifetime (or the next five years, really). It will also help answer the more important question: Which relationships at work are high value and which are on the verge of going stale?

Answering this question is easy. Just follow the two steps below:

  1. Download your Google Calendar data in the right format at
  2. Run it through an automated lifetime value algorithm, like Retina Go:

Let me share some interesting insights you can expect to see if you run this analysis.

How Many People You Met and How Many Meetings You Had

The first thing you’ll be able to extract from your calendar data is the number of meetings you had, how much time you spent in those meetings, and how many people you met with. Between July 2017 and July 2019, I met with 1,638 unique people and had 4,963 meetings.

How Many Minutes You Should Expect to Spend with People Over the Next 5 Years

If you just recently starting meeting with a coworker or someone else in your professional network, you’ll want to know how long you can expect to spend with them over the course of the next five years. In my professional network, a typical person spends 84 minutes with me. When it comes to more cherished relationships, however, the mean jumps up to 325 minutes (almost six hours).

How Time Spent With a Coworker Changes Based on When You Met Them

Depending on the stage at which you meet certain people in your professional network, the number of minutes spent with them may change. For example, if you look at the graph below, you will see that if you meet me in 2019, you are twice as likely to have a better relationship with me than if you met me in mid-2018.

Distributions of People in Various Segments

In this data, you can also see how many high- and low-value relationships you have. In my case, I have a lot of meetings with potential clients, employees, and investors — a lot of “one-and-done” meetings. That translates to a high number of lapsed relationships followed by a healthy number of “at-risk” relationships. I do have a very small number of high-value relationships that I retain. These are my current team members, close advisors, and friends.

Another interesting way to look at this is to plot a heatmap of the probability that a relationship is alive and the value of that relationship. This will help you see how many people fall into a certain category. See my results below.

Try It Yourself!

Retina’s free lifetime value model provides a CSV file that you can slice and dice yourself to create cool analysis and visualizations. Below, you can see what fields are available to you. I encourage you to try out the model to discover some interesting insights about yourself. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out at [email protected].