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.