Never forget who supported you

“Amigo en la adversidad, es amigo de verdad”

In September, Allen Iverson joined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. During his 32:12 acceptance speech, Iverson expressed gratitude for friends and family, as well as former teammates and coaches. In all, he recognized 193 individuals who supported his journey from ex-convict to NBA superstar.

Allen Iverson, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Allen Iverson, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Like his relentlessness in the face of adversity, Iverson’s grace is inspirational. Instead of self-applauding anecdotes of his achievements, he was humble. Instead of self-aggrandizing boasts of his wealth, he was sincere.

While the press loves to idolize startup founders, we recognize that building successful companies takes a village.

Behind every success story, there’s a diverse team of supporters:

  • Friends who provide encouragement and reassurance
  • Co-workers who make introductions to prospective employees
  • Colleagues who make introductions to potential customers

In our view, these friends of the company deserve credit for their contributions. Founders can demonstrate their appreciation via public and private acknowledgements. For friends and associates, we recommend personal gifts. For customers and advisors, we use the gift service Gemnote.

A few years ago when kernel‘s prospects were uncertain, a close friend would treat me to lunch on a monthly basis. The meals were inexpensive, but the support was priceless.

Despite monomyth-inspired narratives of fearless startup founders, no one builds a meaningful company alone. From Wences Casares to Jay Flatley, every founder benefits from supporters. When you acknowledge a supporter for their efforts, you validate their faith in you. This reinforces a positive, pay-it-forward cycle.

“I owe all of this to the guys I’ve played with and all the coaches that have helped me
get to where I’m at right now. I’m honored to be here.”

— Allen Iverson, February 14, 2004


In a world of bad actors, grace in triumph remains memorable.

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