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 Feld, David 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.