This is a story about a man who in 1994 had become a big fan of an unknown band. And wanted to help them become popular. So he built them a website. Hundreds of thousands of fans visited it when this unknown band suddenly become a huge deal. That band was Green Day.
The website became so popular that Green Day’s manager contacted the fan who built it and asked if they could make it the band’s official page. The response was ‘Great; it’s all yours’. He just gave it to them.
A year earlier, one of the visitors to the website had written an email to him to suggest that Green Day was just Pop music. And they should be able to find more than just Green Day if they were a “real” punk fan. So, a series of links were added to the website, so fans of “real” punk had more choice.
The name of the fan who built Green Day’s website was Adam Rifkin. Some five years later, Adam emailed the fan who had sought to educate him on what “real” punk was, and had a meeting with him.
The name of the person who had emailed him was Graham Spencer. He started Excite which went on to become one of the early web portals and search engines. So when Adam asked him for advice on his internet start-up, he agreed to meet him because he had helped him. Graham introduced Adam to a VC, which ended up funding his startup.
Adam helped Graham without expecting anything in return.
He thought Graham was a Mohawk-donning-punk-fan but took the time to help him.
He gave Green Day the website because he was a fan.
As a side note, when Adam Rifkin was asked how a random set of emails back in 1999 had led to his company getting founded in 2000. Adam recalls “Givers get lucky.”
This story and much more is from a book called Give and Take by Adam Grant. It’s a great book. And, it may change how we all think about how you run companies.
Giving is a great strategy. But.
Give because it makes you feel good. Give because you can. But the best giving is when you do so without expecting a return. But know this, givers get lucky. Put your trust in that. Trust in remarkableness of the human spirit.
Being Human is a strategy.
Say happy Monday. Ask how are you? How was the week? Not everything has to be a transaction. Be human. Not a brand. The best relationships and the longest lasting are where the value is given freely with no expectation of a return.
Listening is a strategy.
“THE PERSON AT THE DINNER PARTY WHO ONLY TALKS ABOUT HIMSELF NEVER GETS INVITED BACK.”
We have all been there. That guest who spends hours talking about themselves. They are on transmit. And you have no choice but to be on receive.
Giving is a long-term strategy.
That’s why so few adopt it.
How To Build A Great Brand With Very Little Money. With David Hieatt. London. June 15th. £300.
How A Simple Newsletter Can Transform Your Business. With David Hieatt. London. June 16th. £300.
How To Tell Your Story So The World Listens. With Bobette Buster. London. June 17th. £450.