- Friends first: Respect the friendship. Don't try to misuse any relationship for information, or put the person in an uncomfortable position, and be comfortable enough saying "Hey man, I can't say anything about that."
- Its stupid to ignore reality: The Internet industry has so many frenemy-esque relationships, its impossible not to recognize there's always a bit of a conflict brewing. Always have that at the back of your mind.
- Be genuinely appreciative: If a competitor does something impressive, be impressed... and happy. Learn from it, congratulate your friends at the company on it, challenge yourself to do something better, and don't waste time being envious or annoyed. If something made the world a better place, its a good thing.
- Its fine to talk shop, just not about your merchandise: I can't imagine not talking about the industries I think about or the companies that are part of it. You share the things you care about most with your friends, and with many of these relationships our passion for these spaces is what we hold most in common. These conversations have to be slightly more guarded, but don't stop having them. There's still a lot you learn even if both of you can't share a 100% of what you know.
My first reactions as I heard both of these conversations was annoyance at the protagonist in one and admiration for the other. Both conversations stayed with me for a while, but it took me some time to realize that was unfair on my part to be annoyed at the person that I was annoyed at.
So about these conversations:
The first was between someone working there and a friend. She was sympathizing with her friend who'd be starting a new job leaving this place. "Oh, it's minimum wage again?", she said with concern in her voice. "Yes, but it's fine", said her friend. The job was closer to where she lived so she thought she'd make about the same and she might get home a little earlier to her daughter some evenings though the hours…