What is a friend?

What does it mean to be a friend?

I don’t remember if I have mentioned it in the past, but I enjoy running.  I enjoy running long distances.  I enjoy running stupid long distances.

My longest run to date has been a 50 Kilometer run with an extra “bonus” tossed in, for a total of almost 33 miles in a little more than 8 hours.  In my defense, it was a really hilly 33 miles, so the 8 hours was a difficult 8 hours.  That last sentence was there for those of you who have also run 50 Kilometers who undoubtedly have a better time than I did.g at pumpkin hollar 640 width

But I digress (that is an ongoing theme so far).  It is very difficult to start a company with little or no help from others.  I rely on support and encouragement all the time.  According to some analysis, one of the major factors that contributes to a failed start-up is that it has a single founder.  Well, that’s exactly what I’m doing here, and I’m well aware of the risks involved.  Before you judge me, or completely file me into the same category, I feel like I need to present my side of the argument for being a single founder.

Many years ago, I put together a company with a partner, and I had generated a certain level of success which included recognition in places like Mashable and Fast Company.  I worked my ass off to make that successful, but my partner did not (They claimed that they did “marketing and sales” for the company, but all of the leads and customers came from Google Adwords and media exposure that I had garnered…but that’s all I’m going to say about that).  A lot of resentment was created, and the partnership ended on a personal level, but is still ongoing on a professional level due to ownership and legal entities (oh, I could go on for days on why creating a partnership with someone is a bad idea).

To put it  bluntly, I got screwed.  I was talked into letting this person be a part of the company.

By now, you are probably asking yourself, what the heck does this have to do with swapping socks?  Well, I’m about to tell you.

I went on a 6 mile run this past weekend.  The person I was running with was wearing a brand new pair of shoes, and being a brand new pair of shoes, they did not know how they would feel or treat their feet.  At almost exactly one mile into the run, we stopped, and she was already suffering from the shoe rubbing into the back of her foot because her socks were not tall enough to cover the skin where the shoe came up to.  This had already caused a sore spot on her skin that had rubbed through the top layer and was already causing her pain and anguish, and would have only gotten worse as we ran another 5 miles.

I was wearing socks that were much taller than the ones she had on, and despite the fact that she was a women’s size 8.5 and I am a men’s 10.5, I offered to exchange socks with her so she could continue the run without causing her additional pain or damage.  We swapped socks.injinji socks

As an entrepreneur, this is exactly what you are doing when you offer others help.  I put her sock on, and even though it was too small for me, it was not causing me to get any sore spots, and I was able to complete the 6 mile run without any problems whatsoever (ok, I was still a little sore from my last run,  and she was still faster than me, but I kept up as much as I could).

I swapped socks because it helped her, and it didn’t harm me.  When you are in a position to help someone else, do it.  It didn’t harm me, and it probably won’t harm you, but the outcome is that you build good will and you help someone when they needed help, and that is what we are here for.