Brahm, off the top of my head I listed out a couple of my favorites below:
- Tweet at the person you're looking to connect with and ask a solid question or ask for a contact to follow up with (did this with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code among others)
- Check out your favorite tech bloggers and get on their personal blog lists --> shoot them a note and ask to chat, I have found health and wellness bloggers very open to helping me and answer my questions
- Be warm and polite, but very up front in your asks to founders. Our main currency is our time and I have found that when someone is direct in providing their background and their ask I can help them best and most efficiently
- download Rapportive, has cut down the amount of time it takes to look up someone to milliseconds and has saved me countless hours over time
- More basic: Google "company name" + "your university" + "location" or + "previous place of employment" and find networks you can tap into or reference when you cold email someone
There are more but have to run out. Any others would be appreciated.