Bradbasket #bradthecat #classicbrad
Bradbasket #bradthecat #classicbrad
A very strange thing happens to your personal identity when you move on from your first company. As an entrepreneur, you constantly identify as a founder. When people introduce you, it’s, “Meet Micki Krimmel, the founder of NeighborGoods.” As a founder, your job becomes not just what you do, but who you are.
When I was preparing for the sale of NeighborGoods, I knew it was going to be complicated. I prepared myself for the mixed emotions of success and failure. I prepared myself for ambiguity regarding personal goals. But I wasn’t prepared for the ambiguity regarding my identity.
I went from being Micki Krimmel, Founder & CEO of NeighborGoods to Micki Krimmel, Working on Several Projects and Talking to a Bunch of People to Figure Out What to Do Next. Try putting that on your business card.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing bad about Working on Several Projects and Talking to a Bunch of People to Figure Out What to Do Next. I fully recognize my good fortune at being in such a unique position. I’ve had the time to work with some really great people, explore my options, and prioritize what’s important to me.
Through that process, I’ve had to figure out how to introduce myself. I’ve had to think about what I really care about and what makes me unique. I’ve had to reframe my identity around something bigger than my first company.
Note: you don’t realize this is happening until you’re about half way through the process. No one tells you that you’ll have to create a new personal identity when you sell your first company. It took me about 6 months.
I no longer identify as Micki Krimmel, Founder of NeighborGoods. I am an entrepreneur and NeighborGoods was my first company.
Allow me introduce myself. I am Micki Krimmel, Entrepreneur, Community-Builder, and Athlete.
Halloween is upon us. I’ve always really enjoyed handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. My neighborhood has lots of kids and our neighbors are all very engaged and friendly by LA standards. Who doesn’t love seeing all the costumes?
But this year, I’ve decided that I do not want to hand out junky sweets to children. I’ve gotten pretty serious about nutrition recently, and the importance of good, quality, homemade food. I haven’t eaten a store-bought corn syrup-filled candy bar in years. Why would I give food I wouldn’t eat to the neighborhood kids?
I’d love to share something healthier with the children but I can’t do that. I can’t hand out fruit or homemade treats because their parents would just throw them away out of fear that I might poison their children.
How did this happen? How did we come to trust multinational corporations more than our own neighbors? Somehow, we have decided that packaged candy from faceless companies filled with preservatives and chemicals we can’t pronounce is safer for our kids than an apple or homemade cookies from a neighbor.
Do you really think I’m going to poison your child? YOU KNOW WHERE I LIVE!!
Even now that most well-informed parents know the halloween candy poisoning myth has been debunked, they will still check the candy and toss out anything not sealed by robots, because to do otherwise would mean they aren’t good parents. This Halloween, I’m turning the porch light off and I’m making organic, refined sugar-free treats for my own self, starting with these.
I love Kickstarter. And Indiegogo and Gofundme and all the rest. I love the idea of supporting creative projects. I love the disruptive nature of these businesses. I feel like every time I chip in to support a new endeavor, I’m part of a populist uprising creating new ways for people to make a living while sticking it to the man. I’ve successfully completed my own Kickstarter campaign and will likely try again in the future. I am a woman of ideas, after all!
But I’m beginning to see a downside to crowdfunding with respect to my personal relationships. I’ve had
many countless friends and acquaintances ask me to fund their projects and support their fundraisers recently. As the volume of requests increases, I find myself using a wider set of criteria to decide which projects to fund. I find myself evaluating not only the quality of the project, but the quality of our friendship. Do I like this person enough to support them? Will they still consider me a friend if I don’t toss them some cash? Do I value our relationship enough to pay for it? If I give them money now, will they support me in the future? Such unsavory questions are these to ask oneself about a friend!
I’m sure I’m just being naive and this type of thing has always happened. I mentioned my feelings about Kickstarter to Joshua and he rightly countered that we always make demands of our friends. We ask for restaurant recommendations, we ask for help dog-sitting (Hi, fixer!), and rides to the airport. Most of our jobs and opportunities come through social relationships. We’ve all been guilty of keeping track of who paid for the last round of drinks at the bar. Maybe Kickstarter is just the new round of drinks?
Still, there is something different about asking for cash. Think about birthdays and weddings. We’re all on board with gifts and gift registries. We’ll even happily give someone a gift card but cash? Cash feels dirty.
Where does this distinction come from? Why is a gift card okay where cash is not? Does it stem from our aversion to accepting charity?
Fundamentally, financial exchanges create an imbalance of power and if that power imbalance clashes with our social expectations of a given relationship, it feels uncomfortable. When a grandmother gives cash to her grandchild for his birthday, the power imbalance is consistent with social norms so it doesn’t feel awkward. As the child grows and becomes financially independent, it becomes less appropriate for him to accept cash from his grandmother for his birthday.
We assume a balance of power with our friends. We’re supposed to be on equal footing with our bros.
I worry that when we appeal to our friends for money, we tip the balance of power. We also run the risk of creating a tiered system of friendship whereby those who can afford to give money earn our gratitude while those who cannot are considered less supportive.
Do I think crowdfunding is a bad thing? Not at all. I just find the intersection of cash money and social relationships to be very interesting. Do I have any parting wisdom for crowdfunders to close out this rambling blog post? But of course!
It seems to me that your closest friends are not the ideal target for your crowdfunding efforts. Instead, your wider social network - your acquaintances and fans - are a much better fit.
This fight. Carl Froch. Sports!