If you are reading this, it is most likely because someone has asked to "pick your brain" at some point of your career.
People have been "picking my brain" for years. I understand when it is a friend that you have known for twenty years that makes a constant effort to be part of your life. Another thing is people who ask to "pick your brain" and then disappear with your ideas. No "thank you", no credit given, not even a nice dinner.
As my friend Evonne Heyning more elegantly stated: "Mining people for ideas and strategies without gratitude or returned value is not ok - it devalues expertise and we actively tell others in the field that you were too clueless to value your human assets appropriately. If you want time with me to move your projects forward offer a valuable partnership or pay my consulting rate".
In a Facebook post which is making the rounds, she goes on to say:
"So far this week I have had three businesses try to mine me for free ideas and strategic value without offering anything in return. One asked me for two days of free consulting! Don't be a USER. The devaluing and dismissal of female experts happens to many brilliant women in tech in particular....Ms. Wolfe at Tinder is one of many who may have been marginalized by their own founding teams. Wolfe isn’t the only woman who’s seen her contributions to the tech world tokenized and then dismissed. When I interviewed a half-dozen women in the industry about male-dominated startup culture, they told me that they’re routinely tapped to provide a female perspective to an in-development app, but that the “opportunity” rarely comes with a share of the credit or the profit. Every day I get several emails offering to do one of my least favorite things: ‘Pick my brain,’ ” tech consultant and entrepreneur Cindy Gallop told me. I have to write back very nicely and explain that they can pay me to do that work. One startup guy offered journalist Ann Friedman, who’s written at length about how apps can better appeal to female consumers, a consulting fee of $8 an hour."
Thank you Evonne for bringing this insight to light in the social media channels. Mining other's ideas is all too common. For the most part, people know it happens, they know it is wrong, but they rather avoid confrontation (out of fear) and accept that "that is the way things are".
Others follow blindly with a gut feeling that things are not right, yet never dare to ask questions for fear of losing a job or connection. This creates a perpetual cycle of negative business practices which devalues the individual expert and empowers the user, who knowingly takes advantage of the situation. Leaders and successful executives ask questions, they ask "why"? If the "why" is because you are worth it, then there is a value to your expertise, to you as a person. Raise your consciousness and respect the "Start-Up of YOU".
To create positive change and a life of opportunity, you need integrity and the support of community. It is difficult to do things alone, as a woman or a man (as this also happens to men). We function better when we work together and value people.