Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Not A Zero-Sum Game

Although Groupthink is one of the twelve finalists in the NWEN First Look Forum, I don't know much about the other companies. One of the companies was founded by a couple of guys that I see every week or two. I'll confess that I don't know a lot about their business, but I do know a few things. They're sharp guys who seem to know what they're doing. They're working hard,. And they're nice guys. So, even though we're technically in competition with each other, we're not really competing. We've exchanged information and tips. And we've wished each other luck, sincerely.

The fact is that we're not really competing. Sure, we're in the same space and there are only so many investors out there, but, for the most part, it's not a zero-sum game. We can both succeed and each of us most likely loses nothing if we help the other. Far too often, we see people thinking that in order for them to win, others have to lose. You certainly see this between companies, but you also see it between groups (and even employees) within larger companies. Between the time I started this blog post and now, the Seattle 2.0 Awards got announced and Marcelo Calbucci of Sampa wrote this about the process: "The flip side is to find the people you thought were your friends, or at least acquaintances, working against you. Even if in a subtle way." It's disappointing to hear that, especially when it's about something that the folks at Seattle 2.0 are doing that is positive for the community. From my point of view, you have three choices: be supportive, be neutral, or be negative. No, you don't have to support everybody, but what's the advantage to being negative?

I'm glad to say that most of the Seattle Startup community is in the supportive and neutral category. There's a lot of collaboration and camaraderie. We can all win and grow our industry and community.

Let's keep it up.

And, to the other finalists in the NWEN competition, a sincere good luck the rest of the way.


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