Give Away Your Knowledge

act without expectation

Remember in school when it had come up to a test, or to homework being handed in? There was always the kid who had done it all. Meticulously. If it was a girl, they’d probably also completed it using 12 different coloured gel pens, because different coloured gel pens got you more marks. Fact.

I was usually the spending my time trying to persuade and sometimes bribe said person(s) to let me copy / adjust / sit next to and cheat during the test.

And almost 95% of the time, they wouldn’t have it. It was theirs. They’d worked hard at it so why should they let me ‘get away with it’?

This attitude of hoarding ideas usually continues for the rest of our adult lives.

Ever been in a meeting or a discussion and someone has claimed your idea? WHAT? How DARE you! That was my idea. I told you about that and you’ve just passed it off as your own! Not even mentioned me!

I’m trying very hard to let this attitude go. Why? Because it’s useless. It gets you nowhere. It’s point scoring and it’s petty.

Isn’t it mad that you seriously think some ideas are yours? Like you are actually the first and only person to have that idea since the beginning of time. Come on.

Joe, my friend and business partner (and soon to be well known marketing guru – watch this space) had been busy posting useful and non self promotional responses on topic areas we work on for Quora, the Q&A site.

Now this is a good tactic. Why? Because it doesn’t scream self-promotion and hard sell. It says ‘hey we know a bit about this, and we’ve taken time out of our day to help you out, because we’re nice like that’.

What happened? Well, one of these answers got picked up on. It got picked up on by the Chief Technology Officer of a market leading software we work with. They tracked us down and got in touch. And guess what, they’re now sending people our way who use their software and need what we do. First prospect came through this week and I think he’ll be the first of many.

All because Joe took the time to give some knowledge away. For free. No strings attached.

Knowledge that you hoard, ideas that you’d rather see burn than be taken forwards by someone else are toxic. Worse than that, they’re wasted. They will rot and die in your head. Because most of the time, we simply don’t have the time, energy, or skills to execute on them.

Spread your knowledge. Give it away. Help people where you can. Be happy when someone liked your idea so much, that they took it and made it their own. You’ll start to find that more good ideas come back your way, ones that you can excel with.

No one got anywhere by just being the guy that came up with the idea so don’t make a big deal of it. Get it out to people that can do something with it and watch it grow. It’s tough but I’m trying.

And besides, Karma has a good way of sorting out any indiscretions that arise along the way.

Thanks for reading.


One Comment

  1. Christian

    Love this. And so true. I’m just about to move from a company of 400 people to a company of 6- and this attitude of sharing will be even more vital. Too many people I know are so guarded- not just in terms of actual knowledge, but other things- results, techniques, plans. Sure these are ‘confidential’ but sometimes we need to stop and ask why!

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