Feb 16Authentic relationships.
The currency of our community.
Yesterday I had the honor of introducing two extraordinary entrepreneurs. This isn’t unusual for me; I do this almost every day, but I don’t really think about it unless someone points out something special in those connections. That happened yesterday.
One of these gentlemen remarked that authentic relationships are the currency of our community. We talked about how the “authentic” part of that statement is important one. There are plenty of places in which relationship currency is purely transactional. The type of connection these guys were discussing is emphatically not one of those.
The engine that makes our community run is one of being interested in what people are doing and trying to find them more opportunities to do those things more often and better. That’s pretty much it. Lots of communities have that as a part of how they work, but that is the keystone of how this community works. We give first, and everyone is better for it.
We also sometimes forget that it works that way. At least, I know I do. I’m usually reminded when someone visits from a place where the first question asked is often, “What do you do?” Those are the connections that tend to be transactional. Adam Grant calls them “matchers”. Here, we are a community of givers. We recognize that if someone is doing something we think is cool, our little corner of the world is a little better if they do more of that. As members of the community, we have a vested interest in their success.
When I think of our community, by the way, I am not just talking about the geographic area of Boulder, Colorado. I am talking about the extended community people who do things here and take that ethos out into the world. Our community is global, it is unmistakable, and it is strong. When people go out into the world with a “give first” mindset, great things can happen anywhere.
Look at Startup Weekend, which has now touched over 135 countries and 210,000 entrepreneurs. Look at the Unreasonable Institute, with 93 ventures in 58 countries generating 9.6x revenue growth after two years. Look at Techstars, with 526 companies accepted in 8 cities and over $1.3 billion raised.
I love introducing people to each other, and I love introducing them to our community. We don’t have everything figured out, but we work hard to bring great and unusual things into the world.
The chief export of Boulder is culture, and authentic relationships are its currency.