Why investing in the people you work with is wise and matters.

I sit down to have coffee again with a friend, this time at one of my favorite coffee locations. We talk about life and skip most of the small talk jumping right into adoption and art. Quickly we end up on culture and the internet.

My friend Jake is an artist in the true sense. It’s not his work that makes him an artist and it’s not even the content. Really it’s how he looks at the world, how he speaks to culture with awareness.

He asks me a question three other friends have asked me in the last few weeks, in some form or another, which sounds like:

‘How do I leverage my website and social media to get my art, story, business or what not out to more people?’

I think these conversations are great because someone asks me for advice and I have no idea what the answer is. Instead of having an answer we get to explore the topic.

This could lead to a conversation of how to use Facebook effectively, or what’s happening with the next Twitter, SnapChat, Instaghash, but we go somewhere else.

First thing is first, whatever apps and tactics we are using today will not be what we are using in a year, and definitely not what we use in a few years.

Investing in just traffic, likes and follows is short term, investing in people is long term.

In all investing there is a risk reward trade off. The more risk the more possible reward. If you invest in boosting your metrics by going after common tactics and signing up for weird services that promise 50,000 touches the reward is low as the risk is low, it just cost some money and everything is automated.

On the other hand if you invest your time and yourself, your most valuable asset your life, in people — the risk is great, rejection. But the reward is far more, friendship, collaboration, community, and growth.

If you get a ‘like’ you may end up selling something you made, if you build community you can create an economy.

Some will say, “Great Ron, you sound like a hippy from Oregon. This is business I’m out to get mine.”

To which I say, great go for it, as for me, I’ll invest in people. In 30 years I want to look back and remember fondly that time I spend during those years not building something that mattered but the people I built it with. I’m not saying we shouldn’t build things that matter of course we should, I’m saying people always matter more.

For those of us working in the heart of the tech industry it sometimes feels like we are building the future. We forget that the future becomes the past and the future always needs new futures. Maybe some of us make something great, but I’m going to hedge my time with bets on people.