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The Fear of Missing Out Poisons the DCTECH Community

I’ve been a “member” of  the DCTECH Community for over 6 years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that fear is our Achilles’ heel; it manifests itself in a number of ways that ultimately poison our community. One of these is (admittedly, one I can only assume most of us have suffered from) the Fear of Missing Out, or in other words, missing our chance to be part of DCTECH’s success and in some cases, being part of it at all. Many of us see our peers, or even complete strangers, successfully building platforms, products, technologies, etc. and something inside us says, “I want to do that… I should be part of building the next big thing, too.”

This desperation to be relevant right now and in the future causes good people to posture and feign success. It causes leaders with the potential to actually lead us somewhere to become greedy and focus on sucking up as much of the community’s value as possible. Ultimately, that fear makes us all selfish and clouds our ability to see the true potential of our community and our individual roles in it. All of this makes us feel like we deserve a part of DCTECH, and that it’s something for each of us to grab at and benefit from. This is wrong, and this will limit us.

I believe we leave ourselves vulnerable to fear the moment we set out to “build” something in the tech space. I believe that being motivated to build something immediately activates an instinctual need to protect that thing and declare it our own. This invites fear to come creeping in. You fear building something people will reject. You fear building something valuable that people will take from you. You fear not being good enough to fully realize the potential of what you’re investing your life in; this is because the motivation to build technology is the wrong motivation, and is selfish.

If we’re not building something, then what are we doing? I’m of the mind that when it comes to technology, which, when you think about it, encapsulates everything around us, we should be motivated by the possibility of discovering something new and wonderful. When we set out to discover technology rather then trying to build it, we are open to working together; we recognize that we’re just adding to the discoveries of the people that came before us, it disarms our ego a bit, and makes us less fearful. It also removes the limits of what is possible, because there is no limit to what we can discover, but there is absolutely a limit to what we can currently build.

What I hope you take away from this rant is that no single person, accelerator, co-working space, startup, agency, or  mayor is responsible for the success and value of the DCTECH Community because what we have now, the work we are doing, and the discoveries we are making would not be possible without the people that came before us. So I strongly recommend that we stop following people that are motivated by fear and start finding our peers in DC motivated to discover what’s possible, because we will go much further and be far happier. Avoid and reject the people that are dictating to us rather then sharing with us, and stop wasting your time trying to get the favor of the self-appointed leaders who are busy building something for themselves at the expense of the community. Always remember, DCTECH does not belong to anyone, but we are all responsible for it.


5 Responses to “The Fear of Missing Out Poisons the DCTECH Community”

  1. avatar
    Nick Noble March 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Well said, Joe. Fear is the mind killer.

  2. avatar
    Amir Zonozi March 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Joe, you nailed it here: “This desperation to be relevant right now and in the future causes good people to posture and feign success”

  3. avatar
    Jesue Walker March 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    This made me feel better and well, included…thanks…

  4. avatar
    Gale Hellman March 3, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    Nice Joe. No one person can own or control access or relevancy to a community. The more a desperate insecure “leader” believes he is losing control the more desperate and erratic they behave.

  5. avatar
    Aaron Saunders March 4, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    I think it also is the fear of change, this city has changed, times have changed, change is a constant and as a individual, organization or company, failure to embrace the change can have unintended consequence.

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