by Asim Jalis
Here are some prescriptions for entrepreneurship:
1. Make a list of all the people you current help in some way.
(a) See if you can incrementally give them greater value by
improving your service in a tiny way.
(b) See if you can scale the service so that you can provide the
same benefit to other people.
(c) See if there are other similar services, with some variations
that you can provide to other people.
Include everyone, your friends, your relatives, your coworkers,
other people that you interact with or connect with in some way.
Include your cats. Include your improv group. Include your
2. Take every opportunity during the day to help people, when the
loss to you is negligible.
(a) Let people cut in front of you on the highway, unless you are
running really late.
(b) Open doors for people.
(c) Smile and say "have a nice day" to all the people that you
All of these things cost almost nothing, and yet they are
valuable to the people receiving them. By sharing freely and
generously of these things which are in themselves valueless
unless given away, you create value and increase you
connectedness to the people around you.
3. Later, give to people even when the loss is non-negligible.
(a) For example, donate to charities. But instead of punching in
a credit card number on their website, go to their office and
write a check. Remember the goal is to connect. While you are
there you might find other opportunities to create even more
value for them.
(b) Anytime someone asks you for something or for money, give it
to them. You can negotiate on the amount. Obviously, you don't
want to give away more than you have. Remember the goal to
(d) At least give $5 to whoever asks for money. Send a check for
at least $5 to PBS, whenever they have their pledge drive. This
will get you on their mailing-list and they will send you their
program guide and other materials. They will connect with you.
You might find something interesting there.
4. There is probably a filter principle here too, against giving.
In some cases, don't give. Perhaps you don't want to connect with
everyone. What if you are approached by a panhandler who is
drunk. You might prefer to not connect in that case. You might be
concerned about your safety. But I think most people's filter is
triggered too quickly. In most cases giving is really really
5. What if people take advantage of you and start asking you to
give them more and more. What if they realize you never say no.
Well, this might not happen as often as we think it might. Plus,
you can always negotiate and give them a little less than they
want. Or maybe use your judgement and say no sometimes. But the
instinctive action should be to say yes.
6. What if people impose on your time? What if they want to suck
up your whole day? Again, I guess you might not want to connect
with everyone. Use your judgement. Negotiate. In the end there is
no easy solution. The problem is we err on the side of caution
and miss out opportunities to connect that outweigh the loss we
might incur if we err on the side of optimism. Since we never
find out what we missed we can never do this arithmetic
7. However, I have noticed with entrepreneurs who are incredibly
successful, they are also exceedingly generous. I don't know if
this has been a coincidence or if this might be something as
certain as a law.