Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friends Influence You

About a month ago I was on a road trip on the West Coast. Steve and I were down in San Diego and he made an observation that I hadn't noticed before. He mentioned, "Justin it seems like all of your friends are starting or running their own businesses" I told him, "I must have made startup friends." During the trip we spent countless hours talking about business; creating companies, how they work, funding, leadership, business ideas, evaluations, cool markets to enter, cool products to make. By the time we reached San Diego, all this business talk had me wanting to shut my business down and work for some corporate slave driver, while Steve was ready to open his own business. And then I realized something; I don't think running a business attracts the business friends, I think it converts them.

Friends are powerful things. In fact, after parents, I think friends are the most powerful influencing force on the planet. I think we do what our friends do. If our friends create businesses, we get inspired to make our own business. If our friends play golf, we play golf. If they get married, we will. If our friends have kids, we'll soon be having kids.

What is the punch line? Make the right friends. I think this is one of the most important decisions you get to make throughout your entire life. For the most part you can choose who you hang out with. It's so important to hang out with people you want to be like.

Here are some metrics to judge your friendships on:
  • Does this person excite me when I am with them?
  • Do I enjoy my time with this person?
  • Do I aspire to be more like this friend?
  • Is this friend doing something I think is amazing with their life?
  • Does this friend have a skill or talent that I think is just magically awesome?
  • Are the things we do in this friendships admirable and rewarding?
  • Do we grow as people or make some kind of progress when we are together?
  • Do we give each other honest feedback on our actions?
  • Do you feel like a better person after spending time with this person?