“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”~ Sir Winston Churchill
In the early 1980’s New York City, 22-year-old Bill Grundfest embarked on his dream career as a stand-up comic.
It didn’t take him long to realize that it wouldn’t be a pleasant ride. The stand-up comedy business was fiercely competitive, and the comedy clubs were ridden with outright hostility and disrespect.
“You go to a comedy club and they would treat you as if they are doing you a favor by giving you stage time, which you need in order to develop as a comic. And then you get one drink ticket and you’d be able to order something on the lower left-hand, 1/64th of the menu there. And show up at midnight and then try to get on by 2:00 o’clock in the morning. That was a New York comedian’s life.”
And young Bill wouldn’t have any of that. He wanted to rewrite the rules.
In 1982, he took over the basement of the Olive Tree Cafe and started his very own comedy club.
The Comedy Cellar rejected the conventional dog-eat-dog culture and replaced it with a “ruthless devotion to kindness”.
It paid comedians more than the other uptown clubs. Instead of simply discounting a few items on the menu, it had a dedicated space called the Comedian’s Table, where the performers could eat/drink everything for free and hang out with their circle, even on days they weren’t working.
Bill also created a safe space for people to try and fail.
The first time one of the rookie comics came to the cellar, he didn’t get a single laugh. He kept failing miserably in his subsequent shows as well. But Bill let him perform every single night as the last guy, for two years straight.
In a few years, that man grew up to become one of the world’s most famous comedians. That man is multi-Grammy-and-Emmy-winning Jon Stewart.
Thirty-eight years later, the Comedy Cellar is still one of the oldest and most celebrated venues of its kind. It has constantly launched top-quality talents who’re transforming the comedy industry, including Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, Amy Schumer, and many more – who still call that cramped basement their home.
And Bill hardly takes any credit for it.
“It’s amazing what a team can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. So to the extent that you can shift credit to others, they know, they know what you’re doing. And you will get their hearts and minds even more in support of you. The bird needs the wind beneath the wings, and that’s your team.”
Bill Grundfest gave the stand-up comedians the respect and value they deserved. He gave them the platform to hone their craft, to make mistakes, and to grow. He gave them a breath of fresh air in the cut-throat comedy world.
Bill Grundfest is a giver.
According to the renowned organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, the more givers a group has, the higher the quantity and quality of their work, and the higher is their chance of long-term success. Successful givers, he believes, expand the pie to benefit themselves as well as their groups.
“Givers, takers… all can— and do— achieve success. But there’s something distinctive that happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades. When takers win, there’s usually someone else who loses.~ Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch. In contrast, when [givers] win, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than gunning for them. Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them.
You’ll see that the difference lies in how giver success creates value, instead of just claiming it.”
Since its inception, SaaSBOOMi is built on the virtue of giving. It is built by givers. It is built for givers. It is thriving, because of givers.
And on our second anniversary today, we want to honour the giver in you, for being a part of this family and making the Indian SaaS movement that much more authentic and gratifying. Thank you, for everything!
Avinash Raghava, our Chief Giver, has recorded our journey so far and our plans for the road ahead in this heartfelt blog post. Hope you like it.
Here’s to many more years of giving unconditionally and getting to the top together.
~ Sadhana, on behalf of Team SaaSBoomi