You say, “If the group has already made commitments (loans or other obligations), then any new prospective member must be expected to ‘buy in’ to those obligations as well, yes?” My answer would be, why should he?

Let’s say the original members have bought a building from which to run their business. They’re paying the mortgage and when it’s paid off, it will belong to them. If they take in a new member, why should he be expected to buy into the building? I suppose he might, but why is it necessary? Even though he’s a member of the tribe, the building belongs to the original members.

There are no hard and fast rules for building a tribe. What works for the particular tribe is all that counts. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it. If it works, do it. The question to ask of a tribal newcomer is: Can you make a living by helping us make a living? That’s what Hap and CJ did for us at the East Mountain News. They made a living by helping us make a living. The reverse was also true: we made a living by helping them make a living. All the rest is peripheral.

ID: 540
posted: 06 Feb 2002
updated: 02 Apr 2002

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