Life Entrepreneurs Are Always Trying to Help Other People Out

I was trading emails with my friend Ramit Sethi about his excellent feedback on my book, and he mentioned something in reference to my chapter on networking that I wanted to note here.

It’s this tendency for entrepreneurs to always try to help each other out. In daily interactions we’re on the lookout for companies, articles, people, events, or ideas that someone else in our network could benefit from. Contrary to the belief that much of “networking” is a greedy effort to accumulate contacts who can help you, I actually think, if you’re doing it right, it’s more soft-hearted and more focused on how you can help others.

The networking culture of Silicon Valley is intense almost to a point of absurdity — it’s a shameless quest to develop relationships, trade business cards, have “catch up coffees”, etc. I could go to a networking lunch and dinner every day of the week if I wanted (I don’t, since I don’t find them very interesting). Since it’s a region with really one game in town — tech — the incestuous interconnections among the people you meet makes for jolly fun. The intensity of networking seems unique to Silicon Valley, at least say my friends from other regions, but the general spirt of giving seems common across all entrepreneurs everywhere.

In my view, “Life entrepreneurs” anywhere in the world are always trying to help other people because they know if you want to help yourself, you have to help others, first. Give a little, get a lot back.

5 Responses to Life Entrepreneurs Are Always Trying to Help Other People Out

  1. Tim Taylor says:

    It seems to me the most magnificent of givers are those who give without expectation of receipt and seem to receive enormous gifts in return. It feels like a life of service and I like how you connect that tendency to Silicon Valley.

    Only in the Silicon Valley can things like ebay’s social capital come to be so valuable and powerful.

  2. Wendy says:

    Thanks for describing networking Silicon Valley style.

    Darcy Rezac in his book on networking suggests people look at networking as an opportunity to do a favor for someone else.

    That sounds a lot like what you describe.

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  4. Shantanu says:

    Ben,
    You may find this post interesting: “Networking: Transactional or Relationship Building”?

    link to global-themes.com

    Shantanu

  5. Meirionwen says:

    It’s interesting reading this bit about networking after a recent chat I had with my boyfriend. Nearing the ends of our degrees, and looking to the future, he’s always had a sort of anti-capitalism stance, and now it seems to manifest more strongly than before; I’m not sure if I was able to change his mind, but he stated that he felt networking was just a greedy favour grab. I’ve always held a different opinion on the matter.

    Time will tell what our futures hold, but the softer-hearted method to networking is a positive way to pursue goals and friendships.

    Actually, and I’m not sure if you’d have thought of this, but this approach to networking is common among the new wave of homesteading – people helping each other.

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