Boulder is home to a thriving and bustling tech startup scene, and I’m thrilled to contribute (“Give before you get” is a mantra) as a mentor at Boomtown Accelerator. At a recent meetup (code for getting together over Colorado beers), I met a co-founder from this year’s current class. As I inquired into his business model, product line, customer base, etc., he’d initially respond with, “That’s a great question!”

Clearly, while I might be reasonably bright, not every question I ask is going to rise to the level of greatness.

I began to wonder why it was he thought it necessary to preface his answers to every question (mine were not the only ones he did this with) with a false compliment. Did he not consider about how I might respond to such rote responses?

It occurred to me that someone, somewhere, had advised him to compliment those with whom he interacted as a way to further engage them. But what he heard was likely different than what was said. He failed to consider how others receive the message he was communicating. Instead, he thought this was simply a shortcut to getting what he needed.

I see this a lot.

There are no shortcuts.

There’s no substitute for thoughtfulness.

There’s no substitute for generosity.

As we engage with others,¬†let’s be authentic. Be generous. Be thoughtful.