Startup Life

My Year of Giving Dangerously

My Year of Giving Dangerously

Just over a year ago, I embarked on a crazy experiment: I wanted to see if I could make a living by giving. Not investing in startups, not donating a portion of my time and money to a cause, just giving. After reading Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, last summer, I decided to take the “Give First” idea espoused by Adam, Brad FeldDavid Cohen, and others to its logical extreme. I would give first, second, and third, then give a little more, without requiring any equal trades in return, and see what happened. I wanted to see if Adam was right, that people respond to generosity with generosity, that the majority of “matchers” in humanity want to lift givers up while bringing takers down. I’d already seen what takers could do and I was not impressed. Now I wanted to see what a giver could accomplish.

Spoiler: it’s a lot.

Do You Really Want to Be CTO?

"If you could just build the product, hire the team, and prepare an investor presentation by Monday, that'd be great...."

"If you could just build the product, hire the team, and prepare an investor presentation by Monday, that'd be great...."

You finally did it: after years of building software for someone else, you took the leap and joined a startup. Now you’re building software for yourself. All the risk (and a 30% stake in the rewards) is yours. Then comes the day when your co-founders ask that fateful question: “What title do you want?”

You’ll be tempted, my friend, to reach for that brass ring, to claim the right of First Techie, to confidently say, “Why, CTO, of course!”

Hold on there, Tiger.

Sure, it looks great on a business card and your mom will be impressed, just as soon as you explain to her, for the hundredth time, what you do. And it will be nice to go to the next tech meetup and tell strangers that you’re the CTO for that tech company that they haven’t heard of (yet). And for a while those will be the only changes. But wait, there’s more.


Do you like meetings? Because you’re going to be attending a lot of them (and even hosting a few yourself!). Investor meetings, strategy meetings, planning sessions, interviews – your day is going to be chock-full of talking, so go buy a notebook and prepare to sit there pretending to take notes just like all the other senior leaders.  You can try to get out of them by being cranky every time someone wants to talk to you or by claiming to be too busy writing code – and I'm sure that’s what you’d rather be doing – but it won’t work. You’re in charge of a whole chunk of the company now, so get ready to represent.

I’m sure that you love problem-solving – you wouldn’t have gone into engineering if you didn't – but how do you feel about people problems? You don’t have to worry about that too much when the development team is you and maybe one other person, but what about after that Series A round? You’re in charge now, so you get to build a team! Interviews, coding tests, career discussions, mediating personal disputes… Remember looking at your Director of Engineering at your old workplace and thinking, “I am so glad that I don’t have her job”? Guess what, now you do, plus your own!

As CTO, you’re in charge of the whole thing: people, processes, and technology! And while code might be complex, at least it’s consistent: the same command will behave the same way today and tomorrow as is did yesterday. People, on the other hand, are messy. They have moods, frustrations, and personal lives that impact how they feel when they come to work. Your best engineer today could be a hot mess tomorrow, and it’s your job to straighten them out. Forget about writing code: you’re a bio-hacker now.

Some people like this kind of thing. They even see it as the next challenge in their careers, an opportunity to step up from “just an engineer” to “an engineering leader.” They don’t mind getting messy and maybe even get excited about measuring their output in terms of the work they do through others rather than what they deliver on their own. They’re ready to stop building code and start building companies. Others, though, fall for the title and look back a year later thinking, “Dear God, what have I done?” They self-destruct.

Are you longing yet for those quiet days where you could just put on your headphones and code? It’s not too late to avoid this trap. This time, when your co-founders come around handing out titles, look at them calmly and say:

“How about Chief Scientist?”

The growing funding gap



“Pre-seed is the new seed.”

“We need to see traction before we can write a check. Come back when you have a product and customers.”

“We don’t do sub-500K rounds anymore. If you want less than that, talk to your friends and family.”

There’s a growing gap in the funding market, and early-stage companies are finding it more and more difficult to raise the money they need to get their products off the ground. Those that do spark investor interest face constant pressure to think bigger, ask for more money than they need, and commit to accelerating their company’s growth before they’re ready. None of this is healthy.

I’ve seen this trend in the Boulder/Denver market over the past couple of years and I’ve confirmed it with friends and peers in Boston and the Bay Area: VCs and angel investors are moving up-market, de-risking their investments by waiting until a company has already proven its viability by releasing a product and winning its first few customers. Meanwhile, most entrepreneurs’ friends and family haven’t gotten any richer, leaving a growing gap between “I have a great idea” and first launch of a product. What’s an entrepreneur to do?

Traditionally, entrepreneurs have filled this gap with individual equity transactions — “sweat equity” for early employees— or by building the first version of a product themselves. As engineering salaries continue to go up, though, fewer engineers are willing to work for equity alone or for a reduced salary with a large equity component. And why would you, if you can make $150K or more working at a slightly larger startup or get Silicon Valley salaries and all the perks by joining the Googlesoftazon development office that just opened down the street? The competition for engineering talent keeps heating up, and there’s no end in sight. Again, this leaves many entrepreneurs at a disadvantage as the price tag for getting to Minimum Viable Product continues to rise.

“So go find a technical cofounder,” reply the Silicon Valley traditionalists. “Investors won’t talk to anyone who doesn’t have a technical expert on the founding team.” Interestingly, this traditional approach has a curious side effect: it decidedly tilts the playing field for early-stage companies in favor of engineers. If you’re an engineer who has an idea for a new product or technology-enabled service — and aren’t all services tech-enabled at this point? — then you can start building tonight. If you’re a business person with a great idea and a deep understanding of the market opportunity, you’re still crippled until you can find an engineer to build the tech. Hence the roving bands of business people roaming from technical meetup to technical meetup searching for a “technical cofounder,” when what they really need is any engineer who believes enough in their idea to work for free until they can raise enough funds to pay them. Even companies who have their first engineer struggle to find the second and the third, unless they have friends willing to moonlight.

There’s a hidden bias here, too: despite the “diversity initiative” whitewashing in the VC market, minority and women-owned businesses are still getting the short end of the stick from investors, meaning that the playing field isn’t just tilted in favor of engineers: it’s tilted in favor of white, male engineers. And within my admittedly small sample size of the 5–10 women-owned companies that I’ve mentored this year, women in particular are offered extortionary terms from the engineers they ask for help.

I’ve already talked about the risks to your company of seeking a technical cofounder when you really need an engineer, but what about the risks to the market? How many great business ideas are dying on the vine because their owners don’t know how to code? How many engineering-led companies are hammering the market with brilliant solutions to the wrong problems? We need a better solution.

One solution would be for investors to stop swinging for the fences with every investment. Instead of asking how this new company can be a unicorn in three years — and potentially forcing a healthy young company to accept an unhealthy amount of risk in exchange for your money — how about looking for investments that return 5X returns with lower risk, or investing in companies that provide a healthy cash return with greater potential upside than your average index fund? What if we treated startup investments with the same diversification strategy that we apply to the rest of our investment portfolio?

Of course, if you’re already diversified elsewhere, then your startup investments start to feel like house money, where high risk/high return is the most reasonable investment strategy, so maybe we can’t look to investors to close this gap. Maybe we need to look around, instead.

Why does an early-stage company need money? To get that elusive traction: to build a product and get people to buy it. So what if we cut out the middle man? What if you could find a group of development shops, designers, and sales firms who were willing to invest some of their idle capacity in getting young companies off the ground? Idle capacity — “bench time” — is the bane of every consultant’s existence, and we always struggle to make it worth the money we’re spending. What if these companies and freelancers could put that time toward building and selling a company’s first product, in return for reduced rates and a piece of equity in the company? Could we make that work?


I see a lot of benefits in this approach, as well as some complications:

  1. It invests idle capacity in something other than busywork.
  2. It creates an early relationship between entrepreneurs and service providers, which becomes more profitable as the company grows and gets funding.
  3. It lets non-technical founders separate “I need a cofounder” from “I need something built,” giving them the time to find a real technical leader for their company rather than hiring the first engineer who will work for free.
  4. It builds a community around these young companiess.

The challenges are:

  1. Securities law limits how equity is granted, sometimes in challenging ways.
  2. Many helpers = many names on the cap table, a negative for investors.
  3. Cash is always less risky than equity, so a service provider has to have a higher risk tolerance if they want to sign up to help early-stage companies.

I don’t have all the answers for this one, but we have a gnarly problem that needs to be solved if our entrepreneurial ecosystem is going to stay healthy. Fortunately, solving problems is what we do best. What do you think, intelligent reader? How do we close this gap?

Hacking the startup life


The founder of the first software company that I worked for put his head through a wall. He was upset about someone leaving, but you know, it was a wall. And his head, which was arguably the most important asset in the company’s portfolio.

At that same company, I had to break up a fight between two designers who couldn’t agree on a page layout. I had to pick one of them up and carry him out of the room until he could cool off. Fortunately, his hair was in a ponytail that day or I might have suffocated.

At another company, one of my standard interview questions for potential managers was, “What will you do the first time that someone comes into your office and bursts into tears?” My favorite answer, after a thoughtful pause was, “Well… first I would offer them a tissue.”

After 20 years working in technology startups, I know I’m not the only person who watches HBO’s Silicon Valley and thinks, “Wow, they’re really toning it down for the masses!” Startup life is hard and a little crazy. We tech people, as a rule, bring our own crazy to the office party. Put these things together and you have a volatile mixture. Blend in long hours, high stakes, and a general sense that there are always too many bases to cover, and it’s no wonder that people lose it once in a while. Of course, it’s only a short trip from “once in a while” to “every day, twice on Fridays.”


There’s a conversation going on about mental health and burnout in startups, and we need to keep it going. My friend Dave Mayer shared some of his own experiences as a founder and friend of founders, and I read another powerful view from the trenches by Sarah Jane Coffey last year. There have even been sessions during Boulder and Denver Startup Weeks dedicated to this important topic.

We tend to glamorize the startup life as a place where brilliant, dedicated, and — most of all — energetic people are changing the world, making it a better place and making their first millions in the process. We are the engine of the economy, the force of innovation, the ones who keep America from falling behind the other superpowers through the sheer power of our brilliance and the sweat of our furrowed brows. We tell each other things like, “I wanted to work somewhere that I knew I could make an impact,” and “I don’t want to be a corporate drone, sitting in meetings all day.” We don’t meet, we scrum! We don’t just write code, we sprint! We work all day, take a short keg break on our rooftop deck, and then we work all night, with the occasional foosball game to keep our reflexes sharp and aggravate our carpal tunnel. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? Corporate drones, that’s who!

But there’s a dark side to startup life. Yes, you have a greater impact when you’re one of ten people in the company, but those ten people are usually trying to do the work of 30, so you do the math. You’re never bored, but you’re never offline, either. Office perks are fun until you realize that you can never leave, and it turns out that “dedication” and “passion” can quickly become presenteeism and a grinding competition over “who wants it more.” But on the bright side, the stock options are generous!

The problem for leaders is that these changes usually happen when we aren’t looking. The excitement that you feel for your market-beating/world-changing idea masks the little problems until they become crises. You look around at the tired faces of your team and think, “We’re just in crunch time right now. After this push, we can relax.” But this little push is followed by another little push, and then you land your first big customer and they need “a few small enhancements” to make the product work for them, and then there’s the release for the big industry event, and then you find out that you have competitors…. There are blogs to write about your development philosophy and Medium posts to show how awesome your company culture is. Pretty soon, the rooftop deck is covered with snow and you’re explaining to your wife that you just have to do a little bit of work on Christmas to make sure that the release is ready by the first of the year. Meanwhile, the other startup founders you know are bragging about being able to get by on 3–4 hours of sleep a night, and you start to wonder about how to quantify the Sleep Gap as a measure of your company’s competitiveness. When people quit, they tell you that it’s not because they’re unhappy; they just got another offer that was too good to pass up. You notice that the foosball table is pretty quiet these days, but you don’t hear the grumbling that’s replaced it.

The startup monster will eat everything you put within its reach, including your free time, your health, and your family. As leaders, it’s our job to fence it in and protect both our teams and ourselves.

The startup monster will eat everything you put within its reach, including your free time, your health, and your family. As leaders, it’s our job to fence it in and protect both our teams and ourselves.So how do we do this? There’s always more work to be done, and for every triumphant cry of “inbox zero!” there are a thousand whimpers of “I’ll never get through all of this.” The startup employee who leaves at the end of the day thinking, “I have nothing left on my to-do list” either isn’t paying attention or was just laid off.

So here’s a thought: stop trying to get to the bottom of the pile. One of the worst mistakes that startups make is that they grossly undervalue their own time. Instead, acknowledge that time is a valuable and limited resource and decide how you’re going to invest it. Start saying, “we’re not going to do that right now,” and keep saying it until you find the most important items, then do them. There are probably a few items on your team’s to-do list (and your own) that you can quickly knock off, but this quickly gets difficult as you’re forced to make tradeoffs and give up things that feel really important. Remember, though, that the most successful startups are those that ruthlessly focused on a single goal until they were big enough to diversify. An unfocused startup is one bad decision away from a death spiral. So, focus. Ruthlessly. If that email, phone call, or feature idea doesn’t move your company definitively towards its goal, then it can wait, maybe forever.

Of course, in order to do this, you need to know what that one goal is. You do know what your company’s one goal is, right? If not, stop what you’re doing right now and go find a quiet corner, a mountain cabin, or a dark closet where you can put a towel over your head, and stay there until you do. Until you know why you’re in business and can clearly articulate that vision, you’re going to do more damage than any competitor could possibly do, chasing after bad revenue, distracting your team with useless projects, and generally diluting your valuable efforts. The biggest complaint that I hear from front-line people in startups is “Management doesn’t know what they’re doing.” The key words to note in that sentence are management and doesn’t know. When you start wandering all over the landscape in search of a purpose, you stop being a leader and you become “management.” Find your vision. Test it. Cling to it. Defend it like a loved one, and don’t let anything, even the lure of side money, pull you away. Even if you decide that you need to pivot that vision, do it purposefully and completely. Charlie Brown can be wishy-washy; you can’t if you expect people to follow you.


Setting the proper boundaries is also about more than good intentions and cleverly worded vacation policies (“take what you need, don’t be a dick” is my favorite so far). If you want your team to be healthy, you have to lead by example. I once had a boss who always made sure that he had the first email in everyone’s inbox every morning and the last one every night. If anyone tried to reply, he would send another response, and another, and another, until the conversation petered out in the wee hours of the morning. He wasn’t inspiring us with his work ethic; he was marking his territory, peeing on everyone’s inbox every day to remind us who was top dog. Unsurprisingly, he also spent a lot of time talking about the level of commitment required to make the company successful. We had a lot of turnover at that company.

On the other hand, the kindest words I ever received from a boss came when I was working late and he walked by my desk on his way home. He stopped, stuck his head around the corner, and said, “I love you. Go home.” For the little worker bee me, that was a freeing moment. With five words, he simultaneously recognized my effort and freed me from defining myself solely by it. When he turned and walked out the door a moment later, he set a healthy example as well.

We need to do more than talk about work/life balance: we need to model it. In my experience, “we work hard and we play hard” really translates into:

  1. We work hard and we have a ping pong table that everyone’s afraid to use, or
  2. We work hard, drink hard, and code drunk.

How about a new mantra: We work hard, get stuff done, and go home.

Working in a startup shouldn’t feel like an extension of dorm life: it’s healthy to take breaks and explore other interests with people who aren’t paid to be near you. Late nights and weekend work are occasionally inevitable in every startup, especially in software, where major releases and critical commitments inevitably create a last-minute crunch. But when this becomes the norm, you’re heading down a bad road. If the gas pedal’s already to the floor, you have no way to get more speed when the real crunch time comes. Plus, having a happy, supportive family life greatly reduces stress and burnout. The thing is, your family has to recognize you before they can support you.

Finally, in order to do all of these things, a startup needs leaders who understand people and what motivates them. Investors look at founders’ technical experience, industry knowledge, and business acumen, but too often they forget to ask whether these founders are capable of building and retaining a great team to bring their idea to life. It’s impossible to build the next killer app if you keep killing your team’s motivation with blockheaded management decisions.

Look around your leadership team. You probably have the business person, the sales person, and the technical person, but who’s the people person? Who among your executives is specifically charged with making sure that the rest of the company moves with purpose and vision? Who has actually built a high-performing team before? Who knows what to do the first time someone bursts into tears in their office? You need one of these, and no, that’s not HR’s job. HR’s job is to keep you from being sued when one of your executives inevitably says something dumb that offends someone. This is a job for your core leadership team. Motivating and caring for your people is as critical to your success as any patent or proprietary technology, because, let’s face it: for most technology companies, our people are our competitive advantage. They’re also our most expensive assets. As the cost of hardware and infrastructure continues to drop through virtualization and distributed computing, we’ve reached the point where replacing an engineer is more expensive than replacing a server. If you can’t find any other reason to protect your people from burnout, at least consider it a prudent financial move. You have a CEO, a CFO, and a CTO. Who’s your Chief People Officer?

The startup life is great. You get to wake up every day feeling like you’re changing the world for the better, or at least building a killer product that will have the world beating a path to your door. You get to have a say in the company direction and have beers with the CEO, all while wearing jeans and a T-shirt. You get to use phrases like, “killing it,” “secret sauce,” and “industry disruption” with perfect seriousness, even after the third beer. You also have a chance to make a genuine difference in the lives of others, even if that impact is limited to the people you work with.

We can do better at this. We need to do better, by recognizing our shortcomings and refusing to let our enthusiasm overshadow our better judgment. We need to recognize that, in this case, passion and ingenuity aren’t enough. They need to be accompanied by vision, focus, and empathy. We need to make our people part of our investment plan and be careful not to burn them out in our race for greatness. In short, we need to do more than build better products.

We need to build better startups.

You have to give to succeed


Giving is a way of life in my family. I’ve talked before about how we make this a priority in our lives and our finances, and we try to make it a part of our everyday lives as well. For years, when anyone left the house for the day, they would leave with the words “Be a blessing!” in their ears. We want to be more than good people; we want to be a blessing to the world, and every part of my personal life is tuned toward that purpose.

Work? Not so much. Putting other people first at home is one thing, but doing it at work always seemed to be the fast track to a career in doormats and punching bags. When your boss has Sun Tzu’s The Art of War on his desk, maybe graceful capitulation isn’t the best strategy. So I learned to keep my generosity at home and to be more strategic in my dealings at work.

I had a certain image in my mind of what a “giver” looked like: nice, soft, beaten down, carrying some girl’s books to school while she walked arm-in-arm with the jock who would shove him in a locker later. In other words, a wimp.


I had fallen prey to the myth that “nice guys finish last.” If you wanted to succeed, you had to take: take every opportunity handed to you, take advantage of every weakness, take every bit of energy you had and put it toward your own success, because no one was going to give you anything. Did I like it? No. Was I comfortable behaving that way? No. But that was the way it was, so I could either toughen up or get used to doing everyone else’s work.

And yet I still wanted to make the world better, and not just during my few non-work hours. So I learned to camouflage my giving. I read The Art of War and hid my feelings under a gruff exterior. Better to be thought brusque than soft, right? I justified my mentoring and coaching because it made someone a better employee rather than a better person. I gave time and support and help, but I kept score because that’s how you make sure that no one’s taking advantage of you. I became a successful manager, but I wasn’t a whole person. I was living in hiding.


One day as I walked miserably to work, I decided I was done. I wasn’t going to keep trying to be one person at home and another at work. I decided that my mission, my ministry if you will, was to make work better for everyone. I couldn’t change everyone’s work environment, but I could certainly change mine. I could make work more fun, more generous, for myself and everyone around me. In short, I could start giving again. I would still be smart about it, because I wasn’t about to become a doormat and I was (I hoped) too smart to let someone trick me into doing their work for them, but I could be intelligently generous. My back was strong enough to carry a little more of the load for other people. I could help them with their problems too, whether or not they were on my to-do list. I could show others how to succeed with the confidence that it didn’t threaten my own prospects.

And you know what happened? I thrived. I wasn’t just happier, I was more successful. I took on bigger challenges, I built stronger teams, and I earned more money for my company. My true self turned out to be better at my job than my old, false self had ever been. My bosses noticed, and they promoted me. More challenges, bigger teams, more success. It turns out that giving works.

Until recently, I thought I was an aberration, the kind of statistical anomaly that makes people buy lottery tickets, because I didn’t see a lot of other successful givers around me. Then Micah Baldwin recommended a book by Adam Grant called Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. This book clarified everything that I had felt about work and life, but it showed one more thing: not only do givers succeed, they’re more successful than takers and matchers. The ripple effects of a generous lifestyle not only create a better world for the people around you, but for yourself as well.


If you want all of the details, then buy the book. I’d give you my copy, but Amazon hasn’t figured out how to let me loan a copy of a Kindle book yet (I could loan you my Kindle, but I’m not that much of a giver). In short, though, here are the concepts:

Everyone has a “reciprocity style,” the way they interact with others and score those interactions. Most people occupy the middle of the spectrum as “matchers,” expecting a quid pro quo interaction where the scales even out (I scratch your back, you scratch mine). A smaller percentage are “takers” or “givers.” Takers look to get the most out of every interaction, harvesting their relationships for their own benefit. Givers, on the other hand, offer help and resources without worrying about whether they’ll be paid back. As Grant puts it:

If you’re a taker, you help others strategically, when the benefits to you outweigh the personal cost. If you’re a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis: you help whenever the benefits to others exceed the personal costs.

When Grant studied the reciprocity styles of some of the most successful industry leaders, he expected to find alpha-male takers dominating, just as they dominated every room they walked into. And while he found many, as well as some matchers, he found a surprising number of givers at the top as well. In fact, some of the most successful, most loved leaders were givers rather than charismatic takers.

Digging deeper, we can see why:

  • Most people are matchers, so they have a strong sense of fairness. When they see an imbalance, they seek to redress it, so the natural balance ends up working against takers (who gain for themselves only) and for givers (who help others, creating a “karmic debt”).
  • Takers are often aggressive networkers, but that’s because they’re busy burning their bridges behind them, draining relationships of value and moving on. Givers, even those who dislike “networking” (whew!) have deep, strong networks full of people who are eager to help them when given the chance. This creates a deep well of resources when they need help.
  • Takers and matchers see most situations as a zero-sum game, where a bigger slice of the pie for me comes at your expense. Because givers tend to look at the world differently, specifically by empathizing and seeing things from another’s point of view, they frequently come up with creative solutions that enlarge the pie, meaning that there’s more for everyone. So when you cooperate with a giver, everyone wins!
  • Because they’re always maneuvering for their own advantage, takers have very different relationships with people depending upon the power structure in the relationship. They are very charming and deferential, even submissive, with people who they perceive as higher up or able to help them, but unkind or even abusive with the people below them. This two-faced approach of “kissing up and kicking down” offends most people’s sense of fairness and, if they succeed and climb higher in an organization, creates an army of subordinates who are eager to see them fall. Givers, on the other hand, work to lift up the people around them regardless of their relative stature. This creates stronger organizations made up of people who want to see the giver succeed.

Backed by both anecdotes and strong research, Grant shows that smart givers can avoid becoming doormats and not only become successful, but do so by building stronger, healthier companies and relationships. In the middle of a year continually tainted by the actions of our President, the Taker-in-Chief, this gives me hope, not just for myself, but for our society. While the takers may thrive for a while, they do so while sowing the seeds of their own destruction. Meanwhile, the givers of the world, supported by the matchers, build the strong future that continuously replaces them. Back to Grant again:

This is what I find most magnetic about successful givers: they get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them. Whereas success is zero-sum in a group of takers, in groups of givers, it may be true that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As Simon Sinek writes, “Givers advance the world. Takers advance themselves and hold the world back.”

So I’ll leave you with this thought: what kind of a company, or group, or world, would you rather belong to?

A zero-sum environment characterized by backstabbing, power plays, and constant maneuvering for position, where every meeting starts with a silent stack-ranking of the people in the room. A place where a bus must be driven through every hour, because someone’s getting thrown under it in every meeting. Where giving is a sign of weakness and keeping score is the only way to know if you’re better than the person next to you. Where the top-ranked person gets all the credit and his underlings get all the work and blame. Where the key character traits are self-interest, pride, and irascibility.

… or…

A place where people support each other, working through problems together. Where a leader’s job is to make his people successful, lifting them up and coaching them to become better at their jobs and happier in their lives. Where giving is a sign of strength and deep reserves, and those who help are given more and better responsibilities. Where your status is measured by the people you’ve helped to grow and move on rather than the ones you’ve forced to stay, and those who stay do so because they can’t think of a better place to work. Where no one has to announce their accomplishments because others have already done it for them. Where creative solutions not only help individuals, but help the company win in their market. Where the key character traits are generosity, humility, and self-control.

These are obviously extremes, and no one workplace, family, or country is purely one or the other. I can tell you, though, having worked in places that came close each of these extremes, I know where I’d rather be, and I know how to get there.

By giving.