Every Interaction Matters

A Silicon Valley story about moving too fast.

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A close friend recently forwarded me an email exchange with a startup CEO. My friend is a casual investor in startups, and works in finance.

The CEO of one of his portfolio companies sent him (along with other members of a syndicate) an email asking for introductions to venture firms.

In an effort to be helpful, my friend offered to introduce the CEO to one of the top venture firms in the world.

The CEO’s response responded with a brief email containing only two words: “please do.”

After receiving the brief response, my friend asked me an honest question: “is this how everyone in tech behaves?”

I told my friend that not everyone in tech behaves this way. Most of us are more thoughtful. But I understood why he asked.

My friend was willing to introduce the CEO to a potential investor and a close friend. The offer deserved more than a ‘yes please’ email.

The CEO didn’t bother to say ‘thank you’, or to give my friend an update on his investment, or to treat him like a human.

Everything about the response felt very transactional.

My friend admitted to the CEO that he was disappointed by the reply, and he now felt hesitant to send the introduction.

The CEO admitted that he sent the email while driving to an important meeting — and he agreed that he should been more thoughtful.

In a mobile-first world, the lines between texting and emailing are becoming unclear, and it’s easy to forget the context of our interactions.

When sending emails from your phone, you’re forgiven for typos, but not for a lack of thoughtfulness.

If someone offers to be helpful, say thank you. Two word emails are not thoughtful or cool.

Working hard is great— but if you’re responding to important emails while driving or SoulCycling or whatever keeps you busy, you’re moving too fast.

Every interaction matters; it’s time to slow down.

Written by

Founder and investor @ChapterOne. Previously led revenue @Tinder ($MTCH). Became #1 top grossing app. Follow me @jmj.

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