What’s in it for me?

Last week I took a meeting with some guys building a company.  I was introduced to them by two colleagues who’s opinions I trust.  On the surface, there’s nothing in it for me.  They’re looking for a CEO, but I have my hands full here.  They’re also in an industry I made a conscious decision to leave a few years ago.

In the past few weeks, I’ve made a number of introductions, taken a bunch of meetings, provided some (hopefully) useful advice, sat down with folks I don’t know and tried to play matchmaker with some folks looking for new jobs.

Am I a wacky altruist?  No.  Nor am I particularly a devotee of karma.  The truth is that it is entirely self serving.  In any meeting, there’s an opportunity.  It may be to learn, or hone skills in a new (or familiar) context,  a chance to find future employees or make connections that will be useful to me or disruptorMonkey in the future.

It’s something I’ve always tried to do and it’s mostly a long term play without a clearly defined goal.  But I see enough results to make it worthwhile.  For example, a missed introduction at an informal meeting lead directly to finding one of our board members.  A conversation about moving to Phoenix lead indirectly to finding Logan, my trusty CTO.  Some fundamental insights critical to our success came from reading a copy of Wired magazine and pinging a few people.

It’s always good to wonder "what’s in it for me", but it’s also okay if the answer is a little vague.