Mar 052013


I’ve been thinking again, about grace as a combination of gratefulness and generosity. Not sure if it holds up, but I think there


With our work at the Social Innovation Camp and Bethnal Green Ventures, we’ve found astoundingly generous people all over the world. From government workers willing to give up their time, to people with space and venues and – just this week – an IP strategy person with an OBE who’s offered his time pro bono to BGV teams.

We try to be generous with our time as well:

  • With our time, we’re up for a coffee to chat about your business idea
  • With our contact lists – if we think we can connect you with the right person, we probably will
  • With our expertise, judging on hackdays & competitions
  • Socially – we’re always meeting new people
  • Financially: our investment programme we think is very generous for the teams we work with. While it’s not a massive pile of money, it’s enough to take away some of the risk for these teams.

Others have been generous with us:

For all this, we are astoundingly grateful

We’re really grateful. We try to pay it forward as well as paying it back at times.

But here’s the thing that’s got me grumpy:

People being ungrateful.

Is there anything worse?

I’ve seen, in the past twenty years, astounding levels of ungratefulness.

  • People complaining about free office space because the IT support techs don’t support their platforms.
  • Complaints about potential audience size for free venues.
  • Complaints that free beer, food, or wine runs out too quickly.
  • People try to strong-arm people into providing a financial as well as in-kind contribution.

This isn’t to ignore problems – sometimes in-kind gifts aren’t fit for purpose. Sometimes they come with strings attached.

But you’ve got to be grateful, reply with thanks, and turn down the help on offer if it’s not what you need. You can’t get so caught up in what you’re doing day to day that you can’t offer a simple thanks.

And at the same time, you’ve got to be generous, as people have been generous with you.

This is just another thanks to everyone who’s helped me out along the way. I hope I’ve helped a few others, and not complained too much.