Saving you some time
I hope you’ll forgive me if the following seems, well, brusque, but the issue I’m about to raise is an increasing frustration for me, and hopefully a few well-chosen words here will save everyone some time and effort in the long run.
I get a lot of requests of the following sort, ranging from the well-intentioned-but-misplaced to the dazzlingly inappropriate. Please understand that if you…
– are looking for a job with Nokia;
– want Nokia to fund (or acquire) your startup;
– think Nokia ought to license your technology;
– want to enter into a strategic partnership with Nokia; or
– are interested in having Nokia sponsor your event
…I cannot help you with these things.
And more to the point, I wish you would consider before asking if I’d even be particularly likely to want to help you with them. Like anyone else, I am, of course, always happy to point a friend in the right direction if they come to me for aid or insight – delighted to do so, in fact. But trying to trade on a tenuous (or nonexistent!) prior relationship in asking for something substantial puts me in a very difficult and uncomfortable position, and I am just bound to come back to you with a “no.”
I get that it’s not always hubris or cluelessness behind these requests. My father taught me that “it never hurts to ask,” which is an idea that I’ve tried to live by and have clearly profited from. So I’m not entirely unsympathetic to the occasional shot in the dark. But with all due respect, there’s more than a couple of you who might want to do some thinking about boundaries, and about what once having met me at a party reasonably entitles you to ask. Thanks for your understanding. I wish you the best of luck.