How to thank someone well

You’re working long hours, taking on challenging goals and creating a business that still lives more in your imagination than in the hands of customers. But it’s important to take time out to thank people who’ve helped you get to this point.

Illustrated by this shoutout from young Graeme Finlayson of TripleTandASD.

I couldn’t be more motivated to help him again!

You don’t need an on-stage appearance at a conference to say thank you. A LinkedIn recommendation, a tweet, a Facebook mention, a blog post, even a short email – all good.

Thanks doesn’t pay a mortgage but it means more than a coffee, which is the unit of payment for startup advice. I can easily buy my own coffee; when you validate me, it makes me want to help more.

Thanking works best when you’re specific. It feels more authentic, for one thing, but it is also more likely to reinforce the actions and behaviours you’d like to see repeated in the person you’re thanking.

It should go without saying but thanking someone shouldn’t be associated with another request for a favour.

Here I would recommend you try two great Aussie startups in the ‘gratitude space’:

Cardly sends great thank you cards (and other kinds of greeting cards too). They have a clever set of fonts, doodles and printing process so that if the recipient isn’t too familiar with your actual handwriting, they’ll assume you wrote in the card yourself. The address on the envelope looks handwritten too, and they even put an old-fashioned stamp on the envelope like a human would.

Thankly costs a bit more than Cardly but leaves an even bigger impression. Your message will be beautifully hand-written by humans in the card of your choice, and it and an (optional) tasteful, unique gift from Thankly’s curated collection will be beautifully wrapped for maximum unboxing impact.

No! This isn’t meant to be a hint :-) I’d much rather see you call out a few other people who’ve helped you get this far. Even better: tell me that you’ve set yourself a reminder to thank a few different people on a regular basis, say quarterly.

Yes, absolutely.

Tony Faure was my boss at Yahoo!, my cofounder and CEO at HomeScreen and has been a sounding board, a source of wisdom and honesty for me ever since. Tony has backed me so many times, often as the only friend in my corner. Thank you Tony.

And also Ben Keighran who was one of my first startup founder mentees, but who has gone on to become vastly more successful and wiser than I have ever been. True student-becoming-the-master experience. I can always turn to Ben for advice on what’s coming next in mobile and consumer entertainment and he has introduced me to some incredibly insightful people such as Tim Ferriss, Curt Morgan, Chase Jarvis and Ryan Vance . His new startup looks like it will be huge.

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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