The simple concept  of #givefirst is the foundation for great startup communities.

I first heard this from Brad Feld a few years ago and it is now a core principle and part of our code of conduct at Techstars. If you are not a believer as yet, just reach out and ask anyone who works here or most anyone that has been through one of our accelerator programs. Many within the Techstars network find everyday ways to create #givefirst moments.

For me, the definition of #givefirst is simple. You readily and happily give of yourself without any expectation of getting anything in return.

When the leaders and the members of your community readily offer to help you on your journey (a job, an introduction, some advice, an investment, etc.) this sets the rules of engagement for current and new entrants.

In community development, the #givefirst notion is even more critical as your individual actions do more than help your counterpart.

Startup community culture evolves from the cumulative actions of the actors within the community.

Unfortunately, many give lip service to the concept with excuses like they are too busy or they don’t know the person very well and hold back their gold. This has the effect of creating friction which ultimately slows the growth of a community.

There is a mindset shift here that involves changing the way you think and do things within your community.  The only thing you can control is you but when a group changes their collective behavior . . . .

You may not see the effect over days, weeks or even months, but I promise you that you will see its positive effect over a year.