Being 'Helpable'

I'm constantly surprised by the number of people who make it really hard for you to help them. It has hurt some people as I and others don't try to do things for them any more.

Some of the common mistakes:

  • Disrespecting introductions. I've connected startups to other people and then they treat the other person badly.

  • Misunderstanding motivations. I've seen founders expect the intro to be something it isn't or the intro to do something unreasonable.

  • Not being prompt. An intro is made and the receiving person takes weeks to respond. It's insulting.

  • Not making it easy for the other side. If someone is doing you a favor, don't expect them to drive across town to help you. And so on.

  • Asking for more right away. I've sent candidates to a startup only to have them respond with "Great! Can you send me xyz person next?" Uh, no.

Oh, and there's a last one: Not being gracious.

As last anecdote about that: I referred a candidate to the startup. They hired him. The startup sent me a nice ($100ish) thank you gift. Of all the 100s of referrals I've made in the last 12 months, that one has always made me smile. I knew the startup valued my help.

Michael Girdley