You Just Never Know


I was having drinks with a friend the other night and we got to talking about how “business” gets done.

This idea that you can accomplish what you need to do either by yourself, or while scorching the Earth around you is simply not a viable strategy. We talked about how the Internet decentralizes things like authority and control while at the same time allows you to connect with nearly anyone, at anytime. In the connection economy that can only be a good thing and something we should take advantage of.

When I worked in radio I never understood the idea that I needed to hate the people I competed against, make no mistake my job was to beat them, but hate them? That seemed not only counterproductive to growth but a large output of energy for something that would gain you nothing back. Here we are 20 years later and I have many friends at many stations that I still keep in touch with and while I don’t plan to get back into broadcasting, you just never know.

“That relationship you cultivated just might be the difference between success and failure.”

You foster and build relationships because those relationships build audiences, communities, social circle, business associates, and opportunities and most people are diligent at maintaining those relationships when the output is reciprocal. The magic, however, occurs when you are giving or fostering with no expectation of reciprocation. This is true in nearly every industry, relationships you put work into will be important to you — the problem is you might not know when.

Think about it this way, many people in the Midwest pay for snow removal for the whole season. Some seasons the snow plow guy wins that bet, other seasons the customer wins. But you never know and in this analogy the person who always loses is the one who needs snow removal ONLY when there are 100 feet of snow on the ground, that guy pays out the ass because he bet on the weather and not a relationship.

Any good relationship contains a bit of serendipity, that ability to find something good when you aren’t looking for it. In order to get that magic to take place you need to put in the time, you need to foster, you need to reach out even if they haven’t — because you never know. It might not be today and it might not be tomorrow. But that relationship you cultivated just might be the difference between success and failure — you just have to trust that you won’t know, or more frustratingly, can’t know when that train will roll into town.

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