I first read the term in Charles Stross’ Accelerando ( which is quite good though horribly dated now ) and it reminded me of one of the first group activities we had on board the ship; the emergency drill.
In theory you move without fuss or panic to the muster stations and don your life-jacket. The person behind you is meant to check you’ve put the damn thing on correctly (because if not you’ll vanish beneath the waves when you hit the water leaving an otherwise perfectly functional life-jacket bobbing about up top. You then do it for them. The network of trust this created means you get a benefit from helping others.
In my TA days, this was called the Buddy-Buddy system. Keeping your squad alive meant they’d be around to save your neck later (and presumably not just by drawing fire as an additional target).
There’s a lot to be said for the concept of the venture altruist ( or the altrupreneur ) especially when you consider the enthusiasm shown at the local Open Coffee Club meetings in Belfast. BOCC is still in the state of talking about stuff and not yet really at the state of doing stuff. I’d like to change that by encouraging everyone to consider being a venture altruist fir a while.
Altrupreneurs share. It’s not about being there first, it’s not about NDAs, it’s not even about waiting until you are ready. It’s about throwing something interesting into the melting pot.
Ideas are almost worthless without implementation – I don’t recall where I got this from but a ideas and implementations can be ranked from $1 to $1000. Take the values and multiply them. A $1000 idea if given a $1 implementation doesn’t make anyone happy. A $1 idea can also disappoint even if given a $1000 implementation. You really need to give a $1000 idea a $1000 implementation to see real results ( though this leaves plenty if room for $100 ideas and $100 implementations).
Altrupreneurs, the people you might find at any Open Coffee meeting, will be willing to do more than just listen and give opinions. Their contacts and expertise is worth a lot more than a cheque from a venture capitalist They’re the people to ask about hosting space for your startup, the people who’ll loan you a desk while you bootstrap your company, who aren’t afraid to pick up the tab or who will work to find sponsorship for a crazy pitch they just heard.
Treat the crazy pitch like your buddy and help him check his lifejacket so he can keep his head above water.