Throughout the Boulder startup community, we've developed a series of deeply held beliefs about how to behave and interact with each other. These beliefs evolved organically; there was no rules committee or hierarchy that voted on them. However, when you wander around Boulder, you'll often hear these phrases repeated or see these concepts in action. The ubiquity of them creates an amazing amount of community power.


One of my deeply held beliefs to the secret of success in life is to give before you get, which we now call #GiveFirst at Techstars. In this approach, I am always willing to try to be helpful to anyone, without having a clear expectation of what is in it for me. If, over time, the relationship is one way (e.g., I'm giving, but getting nothing), I'll often back off on my level of give because this belief doesn't underlie a fundamentally altruistic approach. However, by investing time and energy up front without a specifically defined outcome, I have found that, over time, the rewards that come back to me exceed my wildest expectations.

A group of us have worked very hard to incorporate this #GiveFirst philosophy into the Boulder startup community. You rarely hear the words, “What's in it for me?” around Boulder; rather, it's “How can I be helpful?” Introductions flow freely, as do invitations. As I travel around the country, I hear people talking about how easy it is to engage with people ...

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