Enthusiasm is a shockingly rare resource, anywhere. The reason enthusiasm is a rare resource is because it’s fragile; I’ve seen potentially-great ideas abandoned because the initial response was a liturgy of reasons why it won’t work. It’s not the criticism which kills, it’s the scorn.
So when someone emails or approaches you with something they’re excited about, please reply thinking “What can I do to help?. Often I limit my commitment to an encouraging and thoughtful response: a perfectly acceptable minimum. You might want to go further and offer pointers or advice, but take care to fan that delicate flutter of enthusiasm without extinguishing it. Other forces will usually take care of that soon enough, but let it not be you.
-- Rusty Russell
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