Some Thoughts About Friendship In The Entrepreneurial World

Once becoming an entrepreneur, you realize the importance of other people to your success. Be it customers, co-founders, workers, investors, advisors, etc..

In this post I want to address the group that is not in any of those categories. I’ll just call them ‘potential friends’.

These are the people you meet in the shared-office, Facebook groups, meetups and other venues you pass in your entrepreneurial journey.

In broad strokes, when meeting a such a person, entrepreneurs can be divided into two groups:

  1. You are not my friend until proven otherwise.
  2. You are my friend until proven otherwise.

Unfortunately I see too many entrepreneurs in the first group, I tried to think why this is the case (other than personality issues) and came up with these excuses:

  • You can’t be my friend because you are less successful than I.
  • You can’t be my friend because you are more successful than I.
  • You can’t be my friend because you are not in my industry.
  • You can’t be my friend because I am an entrepreneur and I’m too busy (and you should better be too busy too!).
  • You can’t be my friend because we are competitors.
  • You can’t be my friend because you can’t contribute to any of my short term interests.

My answer to those claims is that while time is an issue for every entrepreneur, spending a few minutes occasionally knowing someone can’t amount to too much time. becoming a friend with a competitor can bring huge advantages (jvs, m&as, ..). And if you can overcome your ego, someone who is below you can be of great help. If you can conquer your fear someone above you can greatly help you, and someone who can’t help you now might be very useful in the future.

And maybe you’ll just become good buddies, that’s good enough.

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