I have never been particularly good at "Networking". Don't really believe that startups should be vociferously loud in order to be heard. You could easily relegate me to the old school chain of thought, of people who believe in letting their actions speak for them. Which, to quote Rommel, means that I am more of an Artist, than a Businessman (I hope Madhudi, Pintuda and scores of art teachers who gave up on me with exasperation, are listening)! Not a People's Person! And so, it was with a fair amount of surprise that I went to the kirana store, to buy 10 bars of chocolate for the guys at Alpine Computer Systems!
My computer at home (the ONLY developement machine at CN's disposal, as of now) has been acting up with alarming regularity, lately. The beast wouldn't turn on at home, inspite of all the cajoling and coaxing from my end. However, the moment we plug it in at Alpine, it purrs like a Siamese Cat. Yesterday when I took it to the guys at A, it was the third time. But the result was the same. The owner gave me a smile, and suggested I work on the wiring of my house. And as there was nothing wrong with the computer as such, he didn't charge me anything, for the third consecutive time!
Whether it was a sense of guilt, or prospects of starting a professional relationship, I'll never know. But instead of leaving with a smile of gratitude and profuse apologies, as I had done the previous couple of times, I ran down to the kirana store nearby, and bought 10 DairyMilk bars. Passed them on to the owner of Alpine, with an apologetic smile, telling him how bad I felt about bothering the busy people there, with something so silly and trivial, and came back home.
I don't know how effective this would be. After all, you can't really replace money with chocolates, in exchange of services rendered. But you can always make subsequent transactions comfortable and trustful, by small gestures of warmth and care, even for professional relationships. And according to me, THAT can never be bad. After all, people always respond positively to well intentioned gestures. And that is bound to reflect in their interactions with you, even on a professional level.
However, for all I know, we could be horribly wrong in this. After all, conventional wisdom is conventional, because it has worked a lot of times. And destructive innovation, aimed against conventional wisdom, doesn't always guarantee success. But at CN, we believe in trying new things out. Even if success is not guaranteed. We are determined to try this way of dealing with our partners out, before we pass judgment on its effectiveness. The worst case scenario, as far as I can see, could be us coming out of this experience, slightly better human beings than we previously were. And that aint such a bad idea! :)
Lets keep connecting the city.