I’ve been in the “real world” of post-college hard knocks for the past 15 years. Over this time, I’ve worked mostly in finance/VC, with a couple of stints working for companies in the media and tech industries.
The finance industry is very competitive and cut-throat at its core. For the most part, the culture of this industry leaves good-will at the front door. The underlying sentiment of the industry is: ‘advice is never free’ and ‘good feelings come with the paycheck’. There is an implied cut you need to give up every time you take an introduction or advice. Every time.
The technology industry has been such a huge breath of fresh air comparatively. Over my last two year journey making this industry my home, over and over again I’ve come face-to-face with people who gave me some great insight for no reason. People who I don’t know at all have introduced me to some of the leading investors and influencers. And the people I did know in the industry took the ball even further with the level of kindness and openness they’ve shown me. And all of this with no expectation of hook-ups, success fees or other direct compensation. Without a doubt, tech is all about ‘paying it forward’. And this culture is widespread throughout the industry. They wouldn't have it any other way.
This could be the core reason why the technology industry has taken over all the industries. The friction of transactional relationships takes a huge toll (both literally and figuratively), it creates barriers between people and it creates an implicit sense of mistrust and paranoia. Its also why finance folks are always so stressed!
This is not to say that all tech peeps are generous in this way. Its only the successful ones. Many tech people remain closed and will not be helpful. But this is not the overriding sentiment of the industry. Its also not just third parties and advisors who give… its also the workers and collaborators. In the technology industry, taking a huge paycut to follow your passion is par for the course. Giving up your time in exchange for equity is widespread. Putting your life on the line has led to the huge return on investment that technology people see over the course of their lives.
Along this journey to technology, this sentiment has been profound and I’m just so thankful for all the generosity that I’ve faced. My team members at Bizly have made huge sacrifices. My friends and advisors have been hugely supportive, offering me introductions, insight and even space in their very home! And tons of people I don’t know also helped in huge and unexpected ways. Its this collective generosity that makes us who we are as a company. And we plan to pay it forward from here.