You Can’t Buy and Sell Your Friends

Yeah, I’m a self-proclaimed Empire Avenue addict. I can’t pretend to understand it half as much as other community members do, but I’ve certainly learned my way around the system. “EAv” has been an amazing community and conversation accelerator.

One thing Empire Avenue is NOT about? Buying and selling your friends.

As much as I love Empire Avenue, that has to be one of the worst positioning statements for it. I was able to look past it long enough to dig into the site’s value (and, believe me, I’ve already experienced an insane amount of value from the “game”). However, too many people have been turned off by the initial messaging. I’ve made sincere pleas to the team to remove any reference to this phrase. Not only is it offensive – it’s just NOT accurate.

I noted in my extensive list of Empire Avenue tips that it isn’t Facebook – which sounds like a rhetorical assertion, but not when you consider that some users unwittingly treat it as such. I also noted (as did EAv CEO, (e)DUPS, in a recent interview with (e)RLAVIGNE): your friends are most likely bad investments on EAv. 😉

There was a private Facebook thread from (e)MAYHEMSTUDIOS, wherein he uploaded a photo of a t-shirt given to him by Dups. The text reads: “Buy is the new Like.” Of course, this is a direct play on the action of investing in a stock on EAv. It’s pithy, but I’m not sure the implied diametric is accurate (yes, I realize ‘diametric’ is an adjective – but its usage here seems cromulent).

In EAv, Sell is absolutely NOT the new Unlike, Unfriend, or anything of the sort.

I’ve seen a few EAv users take offense when someone sells their shares. They’re certainly entitled to feel however they feel – but that’s NOT necessarily an unfriending action, nor is it necessarily an unliking action. The stock (itself, or its relative value) is NOT the person behind the stock. I’ve maintained and grown my connections with people I’ve met through EAv on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. – even if I never invested in their stock, or even if I once invested in their stock and subsequently diminished that investment.

You may decide never to sell a stock you’ve purchased – that’s cool, too. But if selling wasn’t a part of EAv, they wouldn’t have included the feature. 😉 For me, the gesture of selling is also a gesture of wanting to accelerate engagement.

While I don’t participate in the practice of returning shares-for-shares, some people want that level of reciprocation. Imagine if you had to friend everybody who friended you on Facebook (I tried – it doesn’t work well), follow everybody who followed YOU on Twitter (I tried – it doesn’t work well). EAv is predicated on the model of using your eaves to invest in more stocks. The more eaves you make, the more stocks you can invest in – and I believe that if you aren’t careful about your investments, you may not be able to maximize the amount of stocks you can invest in. This may sound “heartless” to some, but it’s actually JUST the opposite – you SHOULD want to do better to get better to play better to be better.

Whatever your definition of “better” is.

Yes, if you’re someone who seeks investment parity and you’re not receiving it, you’ll likely encounter disappointment at every other turn. When someone drops your shares, it might sting a little – but, I tell ya, it’s fun to watch some people comment in threads about how they regretted that decision after your stock started to perform better. 😉 Lord knows, I’ve made a few mistakes!

You can always return. You can always reinvest. Always!

There are countless ways to engage other EAv players – and other users will likely have different motivations than you. Success, much like “better,” remains relative. Some people want the most shareholders. Some people want the most eaves. Some people want the most achievements. Some people want the highest stock price. Some people want the CEO title. Some people want the most actions. Some people want to maximize business connections. Some people want to discover new content. Some people want to produce the most amount of dividends for their shareholders. Some people want the highest network score. Some people want… different returns on their time.

Nobody (absolutely NOBODY) is doing EAv “wrong” if they’re getting out of it what they want to get out of it.

This morning, I became the first EAv user to pass the 200 share-price mark – which, as (e)JKW just commented on my profile page, is amazing. I responded: “More amazing for you.” For you see, my friends, the true impetus of Empire Avenue (as I see it) is driving value for others, not for yourself. By becoming a top returning stock, I have helped others generate better cash flow which they have turned around and used to invest in other stocks – meeting other people in the process.

Trust me: I understand how community works.

And, while you may disagree, I also believe that the onus is on a user to be a good investment to help the investor do better – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. For example, you could sink all of your eaves into a poor-performing stock and it still won’t perform as well as a good-performing stock. I’ve done my best to show people how to engage to drive up their dividends (which helps EVERYBODY), but blindly reciprocating an action doesn’t always yield true balance.

It’s not that I’m being a jerk about it – it’s just that there are only SO MANY EAVES in a day. 😉 I can’t make ’em appear out of thin air. Yet.

Please don’t ask me to buy you – ask me to help you. I will do my best!

I still comment and participate with people who invest in me – even if I don’t invest in them. They’ll frequently ask me questions, and I’ll openly offer assistance in return (for free, by the way). There are other groups who are just as willing to help you along – [X], #SocialEmpire, TeamZEN, et al. We don’t have to agree on everything to share a common goal: to make Empire Avenue awesome.

Next week, I’m flying across the country to have what will likely be the biggest business meeting of my entire life – and it’s all thanks to meeting someone on Empire Avenue. Still think it’s a waste of time? I don’t.