I’ve been spending a lot of time lately learning about, and participating in, the local startup community in Seattle and am going to step back, take a 30,000 foot view, and spend some time telling you why I like you.
Is it your money? A lot of you have obviously made some mind-boggling fortunes. You have accounts at Charles Schwab that cause their own gravitational pull. But no, it’s not the money. Plenty of you work for a salary, have never started a company, and your 401(k) has barely begun to see five figures.
Is it your success? There’s a lot of you that have started, ran, and sold multiple successful businesses, or are running one now. You’ve been the Head Cheese at industry-changing outfits, and are a “go-to person” in your field. But no, it’s not the success. Plenty of you are still climbing the ladder, have faced setbacks, or are just starting out.
Is it your notoriety? Some of you or are on lists of Top Bloggers, or the Seattle Startup Index, or have 6,000 Twitter followers, or whatever. But no, it’s not your notoriety. Plenty of you have never been on any of those lists, and can count your Twitter followers on two hands.
Is it your smarts? Some of you are technical geniuses, or business geniuses, or both. You’re the type who program neural networks in your spare time, or can do NPV calculations five years out in your head, or can juggle 100 pressing details about your product and barely break a mental sweat. You may have had an important theory named after you. But no, it’s not your smarts. Plenty of you are average Janes and Joes, like me.
You know what it is? It’s your optimism. Every outing — no matter what — I come away absolutely enthused, refreshed, with a happy outlook on life, career, and the world. Everything is possible. Nothing is out of the question, nothing too difficult, too permanent, or too unknowable. You, individually and as a group, have a belief in yourselves that is on the far right side of the bell curve. That is gold right there. Optimism is better than money, success, fame, or anything else, because it makes the world the best of all possible worlds (h/t Voltaire).
So that’s why I like you!