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My thanks to the displeasing behavior of some people

I had a new and unpleasant experience today.

My writings are meant to be (and hopefully are) of benefit to people in the startup ecosystem.

For the first time when I asked to interview someone they responded with a version of “What’s in it for me?”

I was deeply bothered by what felt to me as being “smallness of spirit.”

Perhaps there is a good answer to that in terms of the demographics of my readership and future opportunities. For a moment I was tempted to make that argument. I don’t know that it is a good argument. There are assuredly more efficient lead generation techniques than appearing in my writings.

But I didn’t make that argument.

I was deeply bothered by what felt to me as being “smallness of spirit.”

I hadn’t encountered it before in my writings and have rarely encountered it in the startup ecosystem. Averaging much less than once per year.

I was saddened. Deeply saddened.

But it made me grateful to everyone else in the startup ecosystem that has shown “hugeness of spirit.”

But it made me grateful to everyone else in the startup ecosystem that has shown “hugeness of spirit.” To the 25,000 mentors who volunteer at Founder Institute. To Max Shapiro for running one of the finest practice pitch events in the world (Pitch Force), for many, many, many years. It’s free of course. To everyone that has been willing to be interviewed for my series. And to everyone else that does things for others without ever thinking about what’s in it for them.

I bet that includes 99%+ of my readership. Much more than 99%+ of my readership. Much more than 99% of my future readership.

So thank you, readers.

Before this incident, I had been taking the people that were willing to be interviewed for granted.

Thank you interviewees.

Today’s baby animal picture goes out to everyone who isn’t thinking, “What’s in it for me.”

And even to the person who showed “tinyness of spirit” in themselves and in doing so helped to see the “greatness of spirit” in everyone around me.

Ben Zoma is famous for saying that even a fool can learn from a wise man, but it takes a wise man to even learn from a fool. Perhaps this is my first step toward wisdom, though I admit to a “smallness of spirit” and even a “sense of meanness” as I write that.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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