The ‘good old boy’s’ network is powerful indeed.
It’s an unfair obstacle to those that really want to make a difference. However, with persistence, it can be overcome with a combination of skill, technique, charisma, passion, generosity, experience, consistency, keeping promises and a willingness to take risks.
It would be a more efficient and honest network if everyone that participated received a fair shake, along with the benefit of the doubt until their value proved out.
Unfortunately, that’s now how the ‘good old boys’ roll.
Until that happens, though, outliers will have to rely on all of these other skills and character traits instead.