What a read – I don’t agree with it all but a lot of it.
Pretty much all of what I know today is from making mistakes – lots of them.
I have done a bunch of different careers – so I speak from experience more than anything else.
I always get asked should I do this gig or that gig, should I start a startup, should I do VC or should I go work for google.
I think the advice I would give to my kids is similar to the advice I would give someone asking me these same questions.
The first bit of advice I have is gain experience in your chosen field. I knew early on I wanted to be in tech and I like to travel. So my first gigs were in tech – they were not great gigs but they were in the trenches of tech and I learned. With each thing that I learned I started to come to grips with what I wanted to do and what I didn’t.
I loved tech but I did not want to be an engineer. Too lonely for me. Then I get into sales engineering and learned how to sell and traveled a lot.
Looking back though I have done some gigs I regret and there was moments when I think I wasted a lot of time doing stuff I didn’t like or realizing the gig was going nowhere but I stayed anyway.
So I have a few rules that might be of use and these I will most likely share with my kids:
– Nothing wrong at all with working for a big company – it will pay well and you can see how things work but you may not get a varying sense of experience across different disciplines.
– For the varying experience try a startup but either work to becomes a C level where the equity counts or just do it for a period of time to get the experience you need. More than likely if you are being underpaid due to equity, chances are the equity will be nothing and you will work many years below average pay. Not a bad trade-off for a short term goal of learning a lot but don’t camp too long.
– If you want to do your own startup just wait till the time is right. That time to me is when you have some cash to rely on so you don’t have to raise money too early and when you have a great idea. Don’t force either one of these things – you will either not be convicted enough to follow through on the idea or you will give away too much of the company in order to raise funds.
– For VC – I won’t go into it much but my view is you also want to have some money prior to going in and you want carry – otherwise it’s like the startup scene in that you are not paid well and don’t have the upside.
And remember – the grass isn’t always as green as you may think it is.