Pose as a friend, work as a spy: knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.
It would be advantageous to be well-connected. Having a network of hunter gatherers who work for you would certainly be a luxury. The rub would be whether or not you could ultimately trust those worker bees. The conundrum would be, “There is no honor among thieves” perhaps? I do believe that the weakest link in my caper is the other person. I’ve made a career within the information security space and it is a frequent requirement to profile, investigate, pursue, collect, and prosecute, which lends itself to validating this law.