Tuesday, September 22, 2009

random tip on favors

here's what i learned today.  when a favor is extended to YOU it is extended to YOU only.  a favor gains its value from the giver, it doesn't retain value when it's regifted.  it's an intangible thing, you see.  and that favor can be rescinded at any time.  some examples:

your friend extends you an invite to a networking event.  you can't go so you forward it to someone else.  now you've just extended that invite to someone else so that they can be invited to an exclusive networking event.  an event you should have been at, not someone else who is freeloading off of your connections.  (# of transgressions on my part this week - 2.  and for the record, a real jerk of a person is using my invite to network his way to a new job.)

when you get invited to some hard to get into social event.  YOU got that.  not your friends.  and certainly not your friends friends.  bring one person along to keep you company but leave your friend village at home.   or you might not be invited again.

when it turns out the guy at the convenience store secretly sells weed (or that a VC hands out money when you say the word "security", you get my drift).  sure you can tell your friends where you got it, but what exactly is that going to do?  first of all this weed seller may have his own complicated approach to who gets offered and who doesn't.  and second, all you'll do is alert everyone, at which point the weed seller will get shut down.  don't ruin a good thing.  

in short: the network effect isn't always good.  favors are not chocolates to be handed around and they certainly don't multiply.  and last, a favor's value is determined by the giver, not by the receiver. 

ps. there's probably some interesting economic theory to be culled from this about value and a non-money economy, like why because there's no multiplier effect there's no true wealth creation.  but i'll save that musing for another post.

1 comment:

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

So, A) That totally happened on NYC Prep last season. Yeah. I watched that.

and B) Yes. There's some non-transferability clause about certain kinds of information and favors. Some businesses build themselves on these models (Gilt Group comes to mind) and some other things die due to transferability issues. It's a delicate balance.

It goes to my first rule of networking - give what's cheap to you and expensive to them. I should blog that.