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We have a philosophy in Boulder called Give First. It means that one should adopt a philosophy of helping others without an expectation of getting any thing in return. To be clear, it’s not all altruistic in that one _does_ expect to get things in return, but the relationship is not set up to be a transactional one. I love that, because none of the meaningful relationships in my life are transactional relationships.

We have a philosophy in Boulder called Give First. It means that one should adopt a philosophy of helping others without an expectation of getting any thing in return. To be clear, it’s not all altruistic in that one _does_ expect to get things in return, but the relationship is not set up to be a transactional one.

I love that, because none of the meaningful relationships in my life are transactional relationships.


In a business context, my favorite example of this is Boulder Startup Week(BSW). BSW is a one week, volunteer-run, celebration of entrepreneurship, tech, and community every May in Colorado.

I’ve been the Emerging Tech Track organizer for BSW for four years; The emerging tech track content evolves every year, but most recently we ran events on Security, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality. It’s a lot of work, and while it’s totally unpaid I do it because it’ completely worthwhile. I do it because it’s _so much fun_ to learn about these topics; a side effect is that I get intros to the best minds in whatever I’m interested in (which let’s be honest; lately it has been blockchain).

Token Money Everywhere

The tokenization of everything has created a lot of opportunities to do ICOs, or initial coin offerings — basically a transaction between buyers and founders for an asset called a token. It’s an open secret that many of these opportunities are pre-product, don’t need the blockchain, have a questionable or unknown team, have no founder lock-ins, or questionable utility to the web3 ecosystem. But it hasn’t stopped the market from investing millions of dollars into them.

I am deeply uncomfortable with some of these trends, in particular the transactional nature of them. In particular, I have a lot of interactions like this since Gitcoin launched:

There’s nothing wrong with making a profit, but I’m moving into this project with an #GiveFirst mantra — which is to say that profit — if and when it occurs — will be more of a side effect than a target. I have every expectation that Gitcoin Core could put together a successful token distribution event. But I’m not convinced that it should right now.

If and when it does happen down the line, then investors will likely have a part to play. But the contributors who #GiveFirst will have a larger part to play.

The Long Game

I believe that by staying lean, building an community, and creating something with lasting value, the actions I take today will have an impact on the community and my career over the 10–20 year timeframe.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~ African Proverb

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