October 28, 2009

Success at What Cost?

In God We Trust

This blog isn’t just a blog, it’s a community – a group of forward-thinking individuals who share opinions and engage in compelling conversation. As I hope to inspire and enlighten some of you, you in turn keep my mind fresh with new ideas and perspectives in the comments you leave. This was especially true last week. Karen Au, fellow blogger and tweeter, left some thoughts on my post “Start Changing the World. Today” that really struck a nerve with me:

“What many around the world are FINALLY realizing is that we do not have to fight for resources. We have to stop thinking that one person’s success is another person’s failure.

There’s enough room in this world for all of our brilliance to shine. We simply have to appreciate each other and work together, sharing resources. By doing so, we ALL benefit. We do not have to succeed at the expense of others. This is a very primal, old-aged and worn way of thought that unfortunately seems to continue to pervade people’s competitive nature. Me to We is at work, but there’s still a long way to go.

Something else to think about: not only is “shaudenfreude” harmful, but it’s counter-intuitive. If we succeed at the expense of others, there goes potential supporters for our cause. But if we succeed WITH others, there we have it: all-round support for our dreams and goals. Exponential growth, instead of dividing our humanity.”

How spot on is this? Throughout our lives we are told that life is about competition – it’s about being better than everyone else, and that in order to get ahead, others must fail. Competition is all around us, it’s at the core of our personal philosophy, professional lives, government strategy, etc.

But what many are starting to understand is the idea that success does not have to come at another’s expense -While healthy competition can motivate and drive us, there is real value in another “C” word: COLLABORATION. As Ana says, “When we succeed at the expense of others, we lose their support.” When we collaborate and push one another to rise above mediocrity and redefine success – we all end up better in the end.

As the old saying goes, “It’s always lonely at the top”. My question is, “Does it have to be”? Instead of putting each other down, why not work to pick each other up and build on each other’s success? There’s plenty of success to go around, stop focusing on saving it all for yourself.

How do you measure success? What are your thoughts on competition vs. collaboration? Is there room for both?

Join the conversation! 64 Comments

  1. I firmly believe that with the way the world is going, it is essential to achieve genuine collaborating to ensure success. It is rare to hear stories of individuals climbing their way to the top alone without the help of a team or network. It’s reassuring that this is the case because it puts everyone at an advantage. But how long can it last? How long before your collaborator wants the spotlight and turns their back on the joint initiative? While it’s important to be hopeful, be skeptical as well. You just never know….

    Reply
    • Great point(s) here Lindsey. Many people may collaborate their way to success – but when does that collaboration become “every man for himself?” – You always have to walk into a partnership or join venture with a watchful eye of your surroundings – and position yourself so that all of your chips aren’t invested into one person. It’s the idea of “If you’re not replaceable, you’re not promotable”. A job/project should be carried our efficiently and effectively, to the point that if you do move on, someone else can come in and keep the wheels moving with minimal downtime.

      It’s a delicate balance – being open to collaboration with a “skeptical” eye.

      Reply
      • Many of us have been scarred before, and will consider it foolish to trust first before doubting your partner. But as in any relationship, a partnership will not be a true collaboration until you develop the foundation of trust.

        “How long before your collaborator wants the spotlight and turns their back on the joint initiative?”

        To be honest (and this may come off as naive), if you’ve chosen your partners wisely to begin with, I don’t think you should have to worry about this. To me, feeling this way means that you do not fully trust your partner (doesn’t this sound so much like a failing romantic relationship?). At any rate, because this is business, I agree with Matt’s advice. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Diversify your investments. That way, if you and your partner do choose to go separate ways, then you won’t feel like you have nowhere else to turn.

        Reply
  2. I firmly believe that with the way the world is going, it is essential to achieve genuine collaborating to ensure success. It is rare to hear stories of individuals climbing their way to the top alone without the help of a team or network. It’s reassuring that this is the case because it puts everyone at an advantage. But how long can it last? How long before your collaborator wants the spotlight and turns their back on the joint initiative? While it’s important to be hopeful, be skeptical as well. You just never know….

    Reply
    • Great point(s) here Lindsey. Many people may collaborate their way to success – but when does that collaboration become “every man for himself?” – You always have to walk into a partnership or join venture with a watchful eye of your surroundings – and position yourself so that all of your chips aren’t invested into one person. It’s the idea of “If you’re not replaceable, you’re not promotable”. A job/project should be carried our efficiently and effectively, to the point that if you do move on, someone else can come in and keep the wheels moving with minimal downtime.

      It’s a delicate balance – being open to collaboration with a “skeptical” eye.

      Reply
      • Many of us have been scarred before, and will consider it foolish to trust first before doubting your partner. But as in any relationship, a partnership will not be a true collaboration until you develop the foundation of trust.

        “How long before your collaborator wants the spotlight and turns their back on the joint initiative?”

        To be honest (and this may come off as naive), if you’ve chosen your partners wisely to begin with, I don’t think you should have to worry about this. To me, feeling this way means that you do not fully trust your partner (doesn’t this sound so much like a failing romantic relationship?). At any rate, because this is business, I agree with Matt’s advice. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Diversify your investments. That way, if you and your partner do choose to go separate ways, then you won’t feel like you have nowhere else to turn.

        Reply
  3. I’m pretty new to the world of gen y blogging, but I immediately noticed that the people in this community, especially those involved in the Brazen Careerist community, are composed of people who are all about collaborating with each other. They share their opinions– even if they do disagree, in a mature manner. In the blogs and forums I’ve frequented in the past, I’m so used to seeing people bash one another and put each other down. It’s ironic that those very people also chose to hide behind their anonymity. I find that most people here want to get to know each other, embrace new ideas and want to help each other succeed.

    I don’t think we can get rid of competition completely, I believe that there will always be competition. But what I think is important is to find a healthy level of competition that will drive the so called market of success without breaking each other down. And to do that I think people have to be on the same wave length…it has to be a collaboration! of sorts. But like Lindsey said above, how long will that last is up to us.

    Reply
    • Hello Michelle (and welcome) – A lot of people will tell you they want to steer away from that “Gen Y” label – and in some respects, I can see why. But really, we get our “bad rep” for being entitled, over-opinionated, know-it-all’s. This is true on some levels, but really, what our generation thrives at is not in giving advice, but rather, SHARING IDEAS. Collaborating (and competing) toward a better overall society. That’s the beauty of people our age – we are opinionated but, for the most part, we are also very open-minded – THE most important trait of collaboration is the welcoming of new ideas.

      Great thoughts Michelle. How do you define “healthy competition”?

      Reply
  4. I’m pretty new to the world of gen y blogging, but I immediately noticed that the people in this community, especially those involved in the Brazen Careerist community, are composed of people who are all about collaborating with each other. They share their opinions– even if they do disagree, in a mature manner. In the blogs and forums I’ve frequented in the past, I’m so used to seeing people bash one another and put each other down. It’s ironic that those very people also chose to hide behind their anonymity. I find that most people here want to get to know each other, embrace new ideas and want to help each other succeed.

    I don’t think we can get rid of competition completely, I believe that there will always be competition. But what I think is important is to find a healthy level of competition that will drive the so called market of success without breaking each other down. And to do that I think people have to be on the same wave length…it has to be a collaboration! of sorts. But like Lindsey said above, how long will that last is up to us.

    Reply
    • Hello Michelle (and welcome) – A lot of people will tell you they want to steer away from that “Gen Y” label – and in some respects, I can see why. But really, we get our “bad rep” for being entitled, over-opinionated, know-it-all’s. This is true on some levels, but really, what our generation thrives at is not in giving advice, but rather, SHARING IDEAS. Collaborating (and competing) toward a better overall society. That’s the beauty of people our age – we are opinionated but, for the most part, we are also very open-minded – THE most important trait of collaboration is the welcoming of new ideas.

      Great thoughts Michelle. How do you define “healthy competition”?

      Reply
  5. To take this to a more mathematical level, this reminds me of the hawk vs dove game. Source: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/biology/kprestwi/behavior/ESS/HvD_intro.html

    Rather than a system of pure collaboration or pure competition, I would argue that there’s an equilibrium point of both that produces the most “wealth” for everyone. In one extreme or the other, a few opposites will come in and take advantage of the imbalance and eventually, the system restores itself.

    Reply
  6. To take this to a more mathematical level, this reminds me of the hawk vs dove game. Source: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/biology/kprestwi/behavior/ESS/HvD_intro.html

    Rather than a system of pure collaboration or pure competition, I would argue that there’s an equilibrium point of both that produces the most “wealth” for everyone. In one extreme or the other, a few opposites will come in and take advantage of the imbalance and eventually, the system restores itself.

    Reply
  7. And here I was, thinking that my idea of “one person’s success is another person’s failure” was the result of being brought up in a large Catholic family. Dead on and the best part, the blogging community makes you realize that we should act this way in real life in addition to online.

    Reply
    • Exactly Jenny – I think (for the most part) we are quick to collaborate and support one another online – although is that in it of itself a vain practice in which we ultimately expect reciprocation? However “in real life” (I hate that phrase) we are much more cutthroat and self-centered, focusing on our own success, even if it comes at the expense of another (maybe that’s just part of being human?) – A lot to think about.

      Reply
  8. And here I was, thinking that my idea of “one person’s success is another person’s failure” was the result of being brought up in a large Catholic family. Dead on and the best part, the blogging community makes you realize that we should act this way in real life in addition to online.

    Reply
    • Exactly Jenny – I think (for the most part) we are quick to collaborate and support one another online – although is that in it of itself a vain practice in which we ultimately expect reciprocation? However “in real life” (I hate that phrase) we are much more cutthroat and self-centered, focusing on our own success, even if it comes at the expense of another (maybe that’s just part of being human?) – A lot to think about.

      Reply
  9. Very, very good! I really like this post.
    You touch on a point that I have found to be extremely important myself: Surrounding yourself with people who will push you to progress. In a supportive way, of course. I’ve noticed that some groups will conform to and tend towards the lowest common denominator – everyone comforting everyone else about their lazyness, lack of ambition etc.
    If you can be in a group or community that does the opposite – supporting each other in their ambitions – that can be an amazing catalyst for growth.

    Reply
    • The best way to be the best is to surround yourself in the company of the best, right? The only way you will get better is if you challenge yourself to BE better – and that becomes all the more apparent if you are in the company of other people who are innovators in the field. However, as Brogan mentions in the link I shared above, it’s important not to benchmark yourself in relation to other people – and instead set your OWN goals and challenge yourself. Focus on yourself first, but always pay attention to your surroundings.

      Reply
  10. Very, very good! I really like this post.
    You touch on a point that I have found to be extremely important myself: Surrounding yourself with people who will push you to progress. In a supportive way, of course. I’ve noticed that some groups will conform to and tend towards the lowest common denominator – everyone comforting everyone else about their lazyness, lack of ambition etc.
    If you can be in a group or community that does the opposite – supporting each other in their ambitions – that can be an amazing catalyst for growth.

    Reply
    • The best way to be the best is to surround yourself in the company of the best, right? The only way you will get better is if you challenge yourself to BE better – and that becomes all the more apparent if you are in the company of other people who are innovators in the field. However, as Brogan mentions in the link I shared above, it’s important not to benchmark yourself in relation to other people – and instead set your OWN goals and challenge yourself. Focus on yourself first, but always pay attention to your surroundings.

      Reply
  11. Definitely agree that collaboration and *respectful* competition is the way to go. Seems like a no-brainer.

    This discussion reminds me of that video someone made of all the reality-show contestants saying “I’m not here to make friends.” Most of those shows are in fact competitions, but don’t require being a jerk to win. I think that attitude of every man for himself or “I’m not here to make friends” is just an excuse people adopt in order to justify being selfish and mean. They don’t feel like taking the high road, so they use the cloak of ambition to justify bad behavior.

    I mean yes, the point of my job is not to make friends. It’s to do good work. But how on earth can making friends and collaborating with others be anything but a huge boost and positive thing, both personally and professionally?

    Here’s the clip, for anyone who hasn’t seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w536Alnon24

    Reply
  12. Definitely agree that collaboration and *respectful* competition is the way to go. Seems like a no-brainer.

    This discussion reminds me of that video someone made of all the reality-show contestants saying “I’m not here to make friends.” Most of those shows are in fact competitions, but don’t require being a jerk to win. I think that attitude of every man for himself or “I’m not here to make friends” is just an excuse people adopt in order to justify being selfish and mean. They don’t feel like taking the high road, so they use the cloak of ambition to justify bad behavior.

    I mean yes, the point of my job is not to make friends. It’s to do good work. But how on earth can making friends and collaborating with others be anything but a huge boost and positive thing, both personally and professionally?

    Here’s the clip, for anyone who hasn’t seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w536Alnon24

    Reply
  13. Of course, collaboration is extremely important. I’d argue though that competition has it’s place too. You can’t be afraid to compete when it’s necessary.

    If I can do something better than you, I might succeed at the expense of your success. Should I not do my best simple because I don’t want to compete?

    Respectful competition is so important in the world of business. Competition inspires you to do better. It gives you something to work for. While I am a very collaborative person, I’m also a very competitive person. If I see someone accomplish a goal that I have set for myself, it makes me want to push myself to accomplish that goal too. If everyone is collaborating, what pushes the group to become better? Pure collaboration doesn’t work. 100% collaboration is a monopoly.

    “What many around the world are FINALLY realizing is that we do not have to fight for resources.” What if resources are limited? Not enough to cover everyone that collaborates.

    “We have to stop thinking that one person’s success is another person’s failure.” It doesn’t have to be. In most cases, it isn’t…But if two people are going for the same thing, and only one can win, then competition is inevitable.

    “There’s enough room in this world for all of our brilliance to shine.” Not everyone is brilliant. Some are more brilliant than others.

    “We simply have to appreciate each other and work together, sharing resources.” That’s true…you should do this whenever possible.

    I wrote a post about embracing competition if you’d like to read more of my rambling thoughts http://davidspinks.com/2009/10/22/afraid-competition/

    David
    Community Manager at Scribnia

    Reply
    • “What if resources are limited? Not enough to cover everyone that collaborates.”

      I suppose when I mentioned “resources”, I was talking about sharing innovative ideas and ways to do things rather than materialistic goods. Although even with limited means, you can pool funds to help each other out in a big way.

      Example: third world country. Each individual family has very little money. But they all pool a little each day, and then one day, a mother purchases a cow. That mother is able to make money off of that cow. Then, this cycle happens again: each individual family contributes a little, and another family purchases a chicken to sell eggs. And so forth.

      Perfect example of simple collaboration with limited resources.

      Reply
    • Firms are going to compete. But what is changing is the ability of individuals within those firms to collaborate while the firms are competing. The textbook example has been in Silicon Valley – there was a high-level of competition between those firms, but the individual designers and engineers could share their knowledge, experience, and ideas with others in the same occupation (not necessarily the same firm).

      New social media tools have made this type of collaboration so much easier. Individuals are crossing firm boundaries in all fields to share with and learn from one another. It is going to be important for firms to embrace this knowledge sharing and not restrict it.

      Reply
  14. Of course, collaboration is extremely important. I’d argue though that competition has it’s place too. You can’t be afraid to compete when it’s necessary.

    If I can do something better than you, I might succeed at the expense of your success. Should I not do my best simple because I don’t want to compete?

    Respectful competition is so important in the world of business. Competition inspires you to do better. It gives you something to work for. While I am a very collaborative person, I’m also a very competitive person. If I see someone accomplish a goal that I have set for myself, it makes me want to push myself to accomplish that goal too. If everyone is collaborating, what pushes the group to become better? Pure collaboration doesn’t work. 100% collaboration is a monopoly.

    “What many around the world are FINALLY realizing is that we do not have to fight for resources.” What if resources are limited? Not enough to cover everyone that collaborates.

    “We have to stop thinking that one person’s success is another person’s failure.” It doesn’t have to be. In most cases, it isn’t…But if two people are going for the same thing, and only one can win, then competition is inevitable.

    “There’s enough room in this world for all of our brilliance to shine.” Not everyone is brilliant. Some are more brilliant than others.

    “We simply have to appreciate each other and work together, sharing resources.” That’s true…you should do this whenever possible.

    I wrote a post about embracing competition if you’d like to read more of my rambling thoughts http://davidspinks.com/2009/10/22/afraid-competition/

    David
    Community Manager at Scribnia

    Reply
    • “What if resources are limited? Not enough to cover everyone that collaborates.”

      I suppose when I mentioned “resources”, I was talking about sharing innovative ideas and ways to do things rather than materialistic goods. Although even with limited means, you can pool funds to help each other out in a big way.

      Example: third world country. Each individual family has very little money. But they all pool a little each day, and then one day, a mother purchases a cow. That mother is able to make money off of that cow. Then, this cycle happens again: each individual family contributes a little, and another family purchases a chicken to sell eggs. And so forth.

      Perfect example of simple collaboration with limited resources.

      Reply
    • Firms are going to compete. But what is changing is the ability of individuals within those firms to collaborate while the firms are competing. The textbook example has been in Silicon Valley – there was a high-level of competition between those firms, but the individual designers and engineers could share their knowledge, experience, and ideas with others in the same occupation (not necessarily the same firm).

      New social media tools have made this type of collaboration so much easier. Individuals are crossing firm boundaries in all fields to share with and learn from one another. It is going to be important for firms to embrace this knowledge sharing and not restrict it.

      Reply
  15. David, you make some good points. But I think there’s a difference between doing your best and working hard, competing against other people that results in a failure of sorts for them. If I run faster than you and I cross the finish line first, then I win, you lose. But if I stick out my foot and trip you, then I”m directly causing you to lose. Big difference.

    The first is acceptable, healthy, natural. The second is deplorable and unneccessary.

    Reply
    • When I speak about competition, I am speaking about healthy, respectful and fair competition.

      There’s definitely a line where you can become too competitive…usually referred to as “cut-throat” business tactics. That’s not ok.

      Reply
      • Tracy and David, I like the distinction you’ve made here about the different types of competition. Competition does not necessarily have to be nasty; it can be collaborative too, the way Matt’s pointed out in his post: we all work together and help each other be our very best. Constructive criticism is crucial when we’re collaborating; otherwise, it’s not truly collaboration.

        I look forward to reading your blog post about embracing competition. Going now!

        Reply
        • I am with all of you (Tracy, David, & Karen) – However, I think that line between healthy competition and “cut-throat” tactics is very-often blurred – which gets into the “ethics” conversation (a entirely new subject). In the heat of the moment, I think a lot of people (involuntarily or intentionally) opt for the side of poor business ethics.

          Reply
  16. David, you make some good points. But I think there’s a difference between doing your best and working hard, competing against other people that results in a failure of sorts for them. If I run faster than you and I cross the finish line first, then I win, you lose. But if I stick out my foot and trip you, then I”m directly causing you to lose. Big difference.

    The first is acceptable, healthy, natural. The second is deplorable and unneccessary.

    Reply
    • When I speak about competition, I am speaking about healthy, respectful and fair competition.

      There’s definitely a line where you can become too competitive…usually referred to as “cut-throat” business tactics. That’s not ok.

      Reply
      • Tracy and David, I like the distinction you’ve made here about the different types of competition. Competition does not necessarily have to be nasty; it can be collaborative too, the way Matt’s pointed out in his post: we all work together and help each other be our very best. Constructive criticism is crucial when we’re collaborating; otherwise, it’s not truly collaboration.

        I look forward to reading your blog post about embracing competition. Going now!

        Reply
        • I am with all of you (Tracy, David, & Karen) – However, I think that line between healthy competition and “cut-throat” tactics is very-often blurred – which gets into the “ethics” conversation (a entirely new subject). In the heat of the moment, I think a lot of people (involuntarily or intentionally) opt for the side of poor business ethics.

          Reply
  17. While I do agree with David that there’s a healthy form of competition that pushes us to do better, to excel in our fields, and breeds new ideas and innovation, I think the future of business is in collaboration.

    Take for example, Hulu. Hulu is a joint venture by two ‘natural competitors’ (NBC and the parent company to Fox News–blanking on the name, my apologies) to adapt and evolve with changing trends in television because of the influx of technology. They’re working together to save both their skins, and they might just establish themselves as the pioneers in interactive new media while doing so.

    Already, the field of biotechnology is ripe with collaborations between academic institutions and larger companies. Locally (to me, Belleville, ON), this is exemplified in the partnership between Loyalist College and Bioniche Life Sciences.

    Collaboration is better for business because no one’s working in a bubble anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s always the ideal model, or the easiest one, but in the end, corporations (and individuals) are going to have to start realizing that competition is going the same way as pre-recession capitalism. Leaders in business, academia, and government are getting it. (Google Noreen Hertz for more on this topic.)

    Look even at the way that those blazing the way in social media are setting it up. Values like transparency, trust, and community are ripe. This is what people want. I’m tired of old guys in suits smoking cigars, in ivory towers. I’ll never be one of them. But that’s a good thing.

    Reply
  18. While I do agree with David that there’s a healthy form of competition that pushes us to do better, to excel in our fields, and breeds new ideas and innovation, I think the future of business is in collaboration.

    Take for example, Hulu. Hulu is a joint venture by two ‘natural competitors’ (NBC and the parent company to Fox News–blanking on the name, my apologies) to adapt and evolve with changing trends in television because of the influx of technology. They’re working together to save both their skins, and they might just establish themselves as the pioneers in interactive new media while doing so.

    Already, the field of biotechnology is ripe with collaborations between academic institutions and larger companies. Locally (to me, Belleville, ON), this is exemplified in the partnership between Loyalist College and Bioniche Life Sciences.

    Collaboration is better for business because no one’s working in a bubble anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s always the ideal model, or the easiest one, but in the end, corporations (and individuals) are going to have to start realizing that competition is going the same way as pre-recession capitalism. Leaders in business, academia, and government are getting it. (Google Noreen Hertz for more on this topic.)

    Look even at the way that those blazing the way in social media are setting it up. Values like transparency, trust, and community are ripe. This is what people want. I’m tired of old guys in suits smoking cigars, in ivory towers. I’ll never be one of them. But that’s a good thing.

    Reply
  19. Matt…this truly is a beyond a blog spiting out great content…you do an incredible job of engaging the community and showcasing the amazing insight of others. I can honestly say I get more value from reading ur comment alone then from reading tons of other blog posts out there (I wanna meet everyone one here).

    Karen put it beautifully ! The vast majority of use have been conditioned to think the only way to win is to take from or to beat others. We constantly are consumed by notions of scarcity( jobs are hiring fewer people, colleges are accept less applicants and so on)… It’s almost scary to think that opportunity for everyone is uncapped…bc without limiting factors what will hold everything together? Our generation will be defined by the creative and collaborative minds that come together to make amazing things happen…enough of my philosophy for one comment

    Hope to talk to you at @brentongieser

    Reply
    • Thank you Brenton – I am all about showcasing the awesome-ness of the community – you guys are inspiration for a lot of the posts here – so gracias to all of you!

      Do you think that our generation will really be (or is) different from those who proceed us? I see a shift toward helping others, inspiring change, etc. But ultimately, we are inherently competitive creatures – it’s in our blood – survival of the fittest. One thing that separates us from other generations are the tools are our disposal. Today, in this day and age, helping others, collaborating, and inspiring our community is easier than ever – We are very much living in a world without boundaries – where collaboration with others from around the world takes nothing more than a click of the mouse.

      What do you think separates Gen Y, if anything, from Gen X, the Baby Boomers, etc. How will WE change the world in ways never conceived before?

      Reply
      • I’m a borderline GenX-Yer (I’m 28), and I think what separates Gen Y, and why I identify more with them, is the call to action we all seem to feel. Gen Xer’s (and if you read Douglas Coupland–@DougCoupland–you’ll hear this sentiment) are apathetic. They reaped a lot of the benefits of a post WWII economy, and those of the height of the Reagan/Thatcher notions of capitalism (the short stinit in which it worked well). They feel entitled (generally, certainly not all), and self-centred.

        Gen Y’ers have seen how small the world is becoming, and how much work there is to be done to help others. We know we are empowered with a voice, and are connected with so many like minded people via social media platforms. I think this generation is going to rock the world.

        The participants in this conversation all remind me of those that Umair Haque (@umairh) talks about in his manifesto entitled, ‘Generation M.’ Here’s the link: http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/haque/2009/07/today_in_capitalism_20_1.html

        Matt, you are definitely a leader in the Gen M movement, by standing out as a Gen Y who engages, builds trust, and fosters community. Look at the collaborative efforts of all of the people here to discuss this topic. It’s a perfect example of where business is heading.

        @brynajones

        Reply
  20. Matt…this truly is a beyond a blog spiting out great content…you do an incredible job of engaging the community and showcasing the amazing insight of others. I can honestly say I get more value from reading ur comment alone then from reading tons of other blog posts out there (I wanna meet everyone one here).

    Karen put it beautifully ! The vast majority of use have been conditioned to think the only way to win is to take from or to beat others. We constantly are consumed by notions of scarcity( jobs are hiring fewer people, colleges are accept less applicants and so on)… It’s almost scary to think that opportunity for everyone is uncapped…bc without limiting factors what will hold everything together? Our generation will be defined by the creative and collaborative minds that come together to make amazing things happen…enough of my philosophy for one comment

    Hope to talk to you at @brentongieser

    Reply
    • Thank you Brenton – I am all about showcasing the awesome-ness of the community – you guys are inspiration for a lot of the posts here – so gracias to all of you!

      Do you think that our generation will really be (or is) different from those who proceed us? I see a shift toward helping others, inspiring change, etc. But ultimately, we are inherently competitive creatures – it’s in our blood – survival of the fittest. One thing that separates us from other generations are the tools are our disposal. Today, in this day and age, helping others, collaborating, and inspiring our community is easier than ever – We are very much living in a world without boundaries – where collaboration with others from around the world takes nothing more than a click of the mouse.

      What do you think separates Gen Y, if anything, from Gen X, the Baby Boomers, etc. How will WE change the world in ways never conceived before?

      Reply
      • I’m a borderline GenX-Yer (I’m 28), and I think what separates Gen Y, and why I identify more with them, is the call to action we all seem to feel. Gen Xer’s (and if you read Douglas Coupland–@DougCoupland–you’ll hear this sentiment) are apathetic. They reaped a lot of the benefits of a post WWII economy, and those of the height of the Reagan/Thatcher notions of capitalism (the short stinit in which it worked well). They feel entitled (generally, certainly not all), and self-centred.

        Gen Y’ers have seen how small the world is becoming, and how much work there is to be done to help others. We know we are empowered with a voice, and are connected with so many like minded people via social media platforms. I think this generation is going to rock the world.

        The participants in this conversation all remind me of those that Umair Haque (@umairh) talks about in his manifesto entitled, ‘Generation M.’ Here’s the link: http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/haque/2009/07/today_in_capitalism_20_1.html

        Matt, you are definitely a leader in the Gen M movement, by standing out as a Gen Y who engages, builds trust, and fosters community. Look at the collaborative efforts of all of the people here to discuss this topic. It’s a perfect example of where business is heading.

        @brynajones

        Reply
  21. Interesting conversation. Many good points by all. I think that in every generation – at least post-WWII, 18 to twenty-somethings have been seen as “entitled, over-opinionated, know-it-all’s,” not just Gen Y. It’s a rite of passage that lasts until you realize that the world is bigger and “badder” than you thought. The difference for Generation Y is that the world’s actually getting smaller with the web, and social media, and handheld internet access, but at the same time the number of people competing with you for attention in those arenas is growing exponentially. I think that what you are doing here, the sort of collaboration you are fostering, the relationships that you are nurturing for yourself, and facilitating for others, is exactly the right answer to that problem. You have carved a significant niche for yourself but you’re sharing it. With all this new media, there is a great leveling of the playing field that is just beginning. And just like Little League, everyone who shows up, gets to play.

    Reply
    • I am tweeting that last section!

      Reply
      • Great summary! And thank you – I think that, when used correctly, these tools can bring about real change in the world. I’m not amongst those who believe our generation is special – those generations that have come before us were similar in their thoughts and actions – instead, as you pointed out, we have new tools in our toolbox. Thanks, as always, for the valuable insight.

        Reply
  22. Interesting conversation. Many good points by all. I think that in every generation – at least post-WWII, 18 to twenty-somethings have been seen as “entitled, over-opinionated, know-it-all’s,” not just Gen Y. It’s a rite of passage that lasts until you realize that the world is bigger and “badder” than you thought. The difference for Generation Y is that the world’s actually getting smaller with the web, and social media, and handheld internet access, but at the same time the number of people competing with you for attention in those arenas is growing exponentially. I think that what you are doing here, the sort of collaboration you are fostering, the relationships that you are nurturing for yourself, and facilitating for others, is exactly the right answer to that problem. You have carved a significant niche for yourself but you’re sharing it. With all this new media, there is a great leveling of the playing field that is just beginning. And just like Little League, everyone who shows up, gets to play.

    Reply
    • I am tweeting that last section!

      Reply
      • Great summary! And thank you – I think that, when used correctly, these tools can bring about real change in the world. I’m not amongst those who believe our generation is special – those generations that have come before us were similar in their thoughts and actions – instead, as you pointed out, we have new tools in our toolbox. Thanks, as always, for the valuable insight.

        Reply
  23. True Matt,

    Life is not a zero sum game.

    Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    • “…Shame on us
      doomed from the start
      may God have mercy
      on our dirty little hearts
      shame on us
      for all we have done
      and all we ever were
      just zeros and ones…”

      A few lines from the song “Zero Sum” by Nine Inch Nails. And your comment here really is short and to the point. If we’re succeeding at the expense of another’s failure – are we achieving equilibrium or are we cancelling each other out? There’s no net gain (overall) when we take away something from someone else for ourselves.

      Interested to hear some other thoughts on this for those who might be digging through the comments here.

      Reply
  24. True Matt,

    Life is not a zero sum game.

    Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    • “…Shame on us
      doomed from the start
      may God have mercy
      on our dirty little hearts
      shame on us
      for all we have done
      and all we ever were
      just zeros and ones…”

      A few lines from the song “Zero Sum” by Nine Inch Nails. And your comment here really is short and to the point. If we’re succeeding at the expense of another’s failure – are we achieving equilibrium or are we cancelling each other out? There’s no net gain (overall) when we take away something from someone else for ourselves.

      Interested to hear some other thoughts on this for those who might be digging through the comments here.

      Reply
  25. You get my brownie points for referencing NIN :) worth a collaboration any day!

    Reply
  26. You get my brownie points for referencing NIN :) worth a collaboration any day!

    Reply
  27. Collaboration drives my success.

    I feel like when I was younger, there was a strong sense of competition. When I was younger, things were petty. Now, I see how foundations and success are built: collaboration.

    I don’t think it’s lonely at the top because there’s no way you could get to the top without all the supporters and collaboraters along the way. Take a CEO of a large company for example. In the end, the decisions and success do rely largely on his/her shoulders. However, they probably have board members to rely on, investors, COO, VP’s, even friends and family. Anyone at the top wouldn’t be making decisions alone because the ladder has many rungs and very few people actually start at the top. It’s the journey that is important and makes you part of who you are.

    It’s also interesting because this applies largely to blogging. Those that blog, are competitive and only worry about their content or their pageviews don’t appeal to me at all. The ones that have a two-way street and COLLABORATE inspire me. There’ s just something to be said about collaboration that equates and builds success. Really good thoughts here and I am enjoying all the comments.

    Reply
    • Great points all around here Grace. I think the idea of being “lonely at the top” is fueled by those who collaborate for nothing more than their own benefit – those people who will use you until they don’t need you and can move on. Some of this is natural in both our personal and professional lives, but there are those who see collaboration as nothing more than a means to an end.

      I am with you 100% on part two. This blog is all about collaboration – it’s why I gave it up for a month, why I am super-active in the comments, and so on. Does that provide me with a competitive edge as well? Do some other blogs want an interactive community like the one here? Sure. Which proves that collaboration and competition can go hand in hand, but can also be mutually exclusive. Really interesting topic we’ve brought to light here – I’m sure there will be a spin-off post or two in the works.

      Reply
  28. Collaboration drives my success.

    I feel like when I was younger, there was a strong sense of competition. When I was younger, things were petty. Now, I see how foundations and success are built: collaboration.

    I don’t think it’s lonely at the top because there’s no way you could get to the top without all the supporters and collaboraters along the way. Take a CEO of a large company for example. In the end, the decisions and success do rely largely on his/her shoulders. However, they probably have board members to rely on, investors, COO, VP’s, even friends and family. Anyone at the top wouldn’t be making decisions alone because the ladder has many rungs and very few people actually start at the top. It’s the journey that is important and makes you part of who you are.

    It’s also interesting because this applies largely to blogging. Those that blog, are competitive and only worry about their content or their pageviews don’t appeal to me at all. The ones that have a two-way street and COLLABORATE inspire me. There’ s just something to be said about collaboration that equates and builds success. Really good thoughts here and I am enjoying all the comments.

    Reply
    • Great points all around here Grace. I think the idea of being “lonely at the top” is fueled by those who collaborate for nothing more than their own benefit – those people who will use you until they don’t need you and can move on. Some of this is natural in both our personal and professional lives, but there are those who see collaboration as nothing more than a means to an end.

      I am with you 100% on part two. This blog is all about collaboration – it’s why I gave it up for a month, why I am super-active in the comments, and so on. Does that provide me with a competitive edge as well? Do some other blogs want an interactive community like the one here? Sure. Which proves that collaboration and competition can go hand in hand, but can also be mutually exclusive. Really interesting topic we’ve brought to light here – I’m sure there will be a spin-off post or two in the works.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

Category

entrepreneurship

Tags

, , ,