“As a kid, all the way through college, I observed a crucial mistake that so many people make during their narrative of entrepreneurship: being the lone wolf,” says Gina Bianchini, founder of Mightybell.
Her talk today at Tech Cocktail Celebrate focused around how to avoid that mentality and the power you can get from being a member of a strong community.
Throughout her childhood, whether it was observing her father’s Model T car club or her mother’s guinea pig club, Bianchini noticed a constant among the people her parents associated with. Namely, the people they interacted with shared in their passions.
“I saw that everybody was interconnected,” says Bianchini. “These close knit groups all shared ideas, challenges, and opportunities with each other.”
What’s really important is to recognize what being around those types of people can lead to. For Bianchini, it leads to acknowledgement of each others’ issues and working together to collaboratively overcome adversity.
The tool that close-knit communities have at their disposal to do this is honest conversation. If somebody at an event asks how you’re doing, don’t be afraid to tell them times are tough; if you are surrounded with honest people, you can open up and work together in a positive direction.
She also recognizes that it can be difficult to connect with people on that level, so Bianchini recently started LeanIn.org alongside Sheryl Sandberg’s release of her book Lean In. Through this platform, users can self-aggregate themselves into groups, have honest conversations, and lean full-forced into their passions with the support of those around them.
“You all have an opportunity at Celebrate to be part of a larger community,” says Bianchini.
And she’s totally right. We have the opportunity to learn, teach, and grow with the people around us and build a network of honest individuals. One of her major philosophies, which she passed on to us, is to avoid that which stunts innovation; dishonest conversation is public enemy number one.
She left us with four principles to catalyze honesty in all of our conversations this week and beyond. First, choose true peers. Second, agree to absolute conversational confidentiality. Third, ask great questions and seek to really understand. Fourth, share you experiences over providing advice.