FOHO: Fear of Helping out.
What do I mean by this? Let me start off by saying that I have helped a large amount of early tech startups here in Philadelphia, and as a result of my advising, suggestions, feedback, coaching, mentoring, and lean methodology strategies, I have directly impacted companies to the point where they have collectively raised over $3 million. And this is several startups raising seed rounds not just one or two. My qualm is that once they have raised there round, I no longer get credit or get asked for help, I basically get thrown aside. It’s as if I never helped them out to begin with. It’s kind of a slap in the face, one that I will no longer put up with.
Since Philadelphia is a dry town (early stage funding is scarce), startup founders are afraid to help others because the result may be funding for the company they helped but not for their own company. Why devote your precious, valuable time to helping other founders to “pay it forward”, if you still haven’t raised one single seed round for your own startup? I understand the philosophy of, “If your city is doing well then your company is doing well.” But that’s just not the case. If your company isn’t doing well, then your company isn’t doing well. Saying that helping your city is helping you, is like saying that watching a basketball games helps an NBA player. When you watch a basketball game, do you bring home $10 million a year?
In order for Philadelphia to truly rise to the occasion, we need to change our investor culture to not only realize that FOHO is abundant, but that it is the barrier which is stopping us from growing on a global scale. There is only so much an entrepreneur like myself can do to help a community, especially when that community refuses to help back. If I had charged as a consultant for the hours that I have put into this city to help local tech startups, college students, small business owners, and even thriving companies, I would have made at least $1 million in fees (I’ve done the math).
Ironically, that is what I have resorted to more recently: charging for my time. I hope one day I can volunteer my services once again, contingent on my B2B “investor friendly” revenue driven video platform raising at least one seed round in this city of brotherly love.