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.