A friend of mine's dad runs a large landscaping business with over one hundred employees. While the business has been in the family since 1939, when he took it over in the early 70's, he really took it to the next level. That often happens when the reigns of a business finally pass on to the next generation.
Anyway, what we're doing at Path 101 doesn't even hold a tea candle (yet!) to what he's accomplished. This is a real business that sells real stuff with revenues, EBITDA, 100+ employees, trucks, etc! It would be easy for someone with so much success to dismiss a small angel funded web startup in Alpha, but instead, he took a lot of interest in what we were up to. He even brought me up to a neighbor as another guy running a business who knows what it's like to work hardest for yourself. I really appreciated getting that kind of respect towards our humble beginnings--especially from a friend's parent who might naturally be prone to a more unbalanced power dynamic. Instead, it felt like two entrepreneurs shooting the breeze and it was pretty cool.
And yesterday, I got a nice note from Marc Cenedella checking in to see how things were going with Path 101 and an invite to come chat about the recruiting market and startup stuff. I'm sure I'll learn a lot more than I can contribute to the conversation, but similar to my friend's dad, he asked some questions in our exchange about what the sweet spot is for when in a person's life Path 101 is useful.
I really appreciate when successful folks like this can take a second to think about somebody else's business--but more so than that to take it seriously despite the vast distance between our respective progress. It's a stark contrast to a recent situation where someone told me how they'd do things completely differently and never really acknowledged the progress we had made or my vision for the company.
At the end of the day, I just don't sweat situations like that. You can't impress everyone and not everyone is going to care what you're up to. You've got limited time and resources in a startup, and you just need to work with the people who believe in you and not worry about everyone else. I guess relationships are kind of like that, too. Some people are going to accept you and be excited to be with you. If you spend more time building strong relationships with these people, and less with those who aren't interested, your life will turn out just fine.