To give back you need to create first

“My father was the first entrepreneur in the family,” Rohan Marley, the sixth of Bob Marley’s eleven children, said the other day. “He started his own record label, his own restaurant. He knew that, in order to give something back to the people, he had to create. You can’t be no philanthropist, no Warren Buffett, unless you make something first.”

Bob’s Boys – All Natural in The New Yorker

The article focuses a lot on the marijuana trade, but the choice quote here is about creation. You may read many books and articles about giving back, and they’re usually written by people that have created so much value already, that it makes sense to give back. Some of the best books on this topic that I’ve read include Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry by Marc Benioff and Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur by Richard Branson.

This is also like mentorship. Sometimes you can’t mentor each and every opportunity because you’re stretched for time, and are still creating.

This comes back to my thoughts on advisors. How can you dole out advice if you’ve never been there (and done that)? How can you dole out advice if you yourself haven’t created? Sure, there are textbook examples at work, and people learn at schools (MBAs, etc) but sitting in a classroom is no substitute for experience.

So whether you’re looking for a mentor, an advisor, or a board member, remember that having some form of requisite experience (not just textbook knowledge) is something that will probably take you further.

  • KhairilYusof

    Learned this lesson from observing the intuitive questions asked by mature aged undergrads with working experience.


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