Access Point

Access Point

You make a living by what you get, but you create a life by what you give. —Winston Churchill (Apparently Churchill didn't say this, but it's still a thoughtful quote).

What Is An Access Point?

Prior to wireless networks, setting up a computer network required running many cables through walls and ceilings in order to deliver network access to all of the network-enabled devices in the building. With the creation of the wireless Access Point, network users are now able to add devices that access the network with few or no cables.

In other words, an Access Point makes life much easier, better connected, and more efficient.

Where Are The Access Points?

Africa is poised to grow at a rate of 5% per year as a continent. The World Economic Forum (WEF) discussed it in great length in Cape Town, which Tommy was honored to be attend and help moderate. “Can Africa live up to it’s promise?" It’s the question in the room and what does this boil down to? Lots and lots of opportunity needs lots and lots of cooperation and trust. Many times at the WEF, the talks focused toward springboard platforms for talent and new ideas—does politics or economics drive Africa?

In the past, Africa has had a reputation of being difficult. I’m not just talking about indigenization laws or ruddy government policies, but the overall supportive culture of big ideas. Are there opportunities in Africa? Yes, massive ones, and it’s no secret. But the better question is “Where are the Access Points?”

There are opportunities in China right now that will blow your mind. There are opportunities in Tete (Mozambique), the fastest growing city in the world. There are opportunities in Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Bolivia—you probably know of a few more. We’ve had the conversations and they go like this, “You know what city is absolutely booming with opportunity?…” Then it goes into a long story that you heard from some guy that CNN picked up and did a short story on and so on.

We all know there’s opportunity, but not all of us have the access. You might be someone that can be an Access Point and not even know it.

Do you have a good reputation in your city? A positive stream of endorsements? Do you have a few successes (nothing major here, but maybe something worth mentioning)? Do people come to you with their thoughts and ideas? And do you trust yourself with people and introductions? You could very well be an owner to an Access Point.

If you don’t have a good reputation, then you might want to start mending the bridges, repaying your debts, and being this link for people who know there’s opportunities but can’t get to them.

How to be an Access Point:

  • People will pay a lot for trust—so, be honest and trustworthy. (They also pay for creativity. What if you were creative and trustworthy?)
  • Be accessible. There's nothing worse then having an Access Point that you can’t access. Answer your phone, answer emails, create a good reputation when it comes to communication.
  • Connect people even when you don’t get paid. It’ll add to your reputation, which will lead to more opportunities. Throw "What's in it for me?" out of the window and shift your mindset to "How can I help you?" If you can shift your thinking to the giving equation, opportunity will find you because you create value for everyone you meet.
  • Create value and if you can't, then refer to value. "I don't think I can help you with your tech startup, but I know this person can. I think you too should meet."
  • Open up your world. There might not be an immediate opportunity, but if you’ve met someone with confidence, high values, or a good idea, then finding a connection point might be around the corner.

Be a bright shining Access Point.

Many times we focus on where we're located and what we’re doing. By default we only see opportunities where we are looking. If you can rewire your default to begin thinking like an Access Point—creating value and giving access, and connecting people—you'll enrich the lives of those around you. When you are surrounded by enrichment, you can't help but also be enriched a little bit yourself. Give and it'll be given sort of stuff.

Being an Access Point means giving with no thought of return. They access through you—they don't have to return through you. But when you are willing to live a life of giving, you'll connect with other Access Points. And that's when improving the state of the world becomes a reality.

(photo via trey ratcliff)