// This is really just a rant. Originally written in November of 2010. //

Toxic environments for builders is something I don’t see talked about much. We are constantly discussing what we should have as communities, eco-systems, co-founders, and companies but not really being honest about what we should avoid.

Toxic people, companies, and environments will kill your company a lot faster than you think. Bad girlfriends, friends who use you, or users in general are people we all need to learn to avoid. We all need to hold one another accountable when we see these people start to invade our communities, eco-systems, co-founders, and companies.

Here is my personal opinion on people to be on the lookout for:

  • I’ll raise money for you, take some equity, and a retainer while I do it.
  • Anything with the words penny stock.
  • I’ll sell you something but if you don’t read the fine print… You won’t get what you think you’re buying.
  • Overcompensated leadership in depleting environments.
  • The “you can’t do it” or “you’re making a mistake” overly self aggrandizing people in your life who try to convince you that you need them even for reasons that never would have come out of your mouth.
  • Anyone who defines themselves constantly by describing what everyone else is doing wrong… But not actually succeeding/doing themselves.
  • The ” I’ll pay you back…” Type…
  • The shotgun wedding type… Type…
  • The I want to sell your product and even though I’m pitching you… I want a salary… And while I’ll quit my current job in a heartbeat I won’t work for you on commission. I believe in you enough to give me a salary because I can kiss your butt… Type..
  • I’ll deliver but you pay me 100% up front because I basically can’t afford to pay my overseas vendors… Type..

These may seem so obvious but I’ve fallen to each and every one of these because I failed to ask questions ahead of time. Don’t be dumb. Don’t make my mistakes. Avoid toxicity.

The mental and emotional toll a toxic environment is going to play on your project and confidence is never worth the cost/toll it will take on your mind and body.

Surround yourself by builders, do-ers, believers, and incredibly smart & happy people who can challenge you daily. When they become the norm the capacity at which you can create will only be accelerated.

If it wasn’t for the support of amazing friends, family, and mentors I would have succumbed to the toxicity of my own environments more than once over. Only because I’ve had access to the right people… I’ve been able to believe I can build… And subsequently do.