Here is my latest Forbes piece: http://onforb.es/1ixL7LR.
Let me know your thoughts!
It is not always easy taking the next step in your career. Sometimes the next move is not clear. Other times going sideways can mean going up (ie former CEO of Burberry joining Apple). A lot of people struggle with career moves and how to handle them. It’s probably the thing I get asked about the most.
From my limited experience, if you are going to make a move, you always want to do it in a position of strength. This means that you are either in a good role (and for one reason or another you want to leave) or something good or big just happened. If you don’t need to move than you should wait for the terms you want to come before deciding you want to make the jump.
The other type of jump in your career is one within your organization. This could be getting a promotion or taking initiative and doing more than expected of you (which will probably lead to a promotion). I’ve gone through this when I was working at Aviary. We were a month away from a big product launch and my boss got sick so I led a lot of the pitching to line up launch partners. The launch ended up going very well and from then on I led most deals for the company.
Bottom line: Making the jump in your career is tough thing to do and there is usually no clear path. Try your best to put yourself in a position to get lucky (and have a good career) by doing the best you can at your current job. Whatever you are doing, do it at 110%.
Today’s post will be on Medium. It’s a pretty good one, so please head over there and check it out (link here).
I don’t always post on Medium, but when I do, it is usually a doozy :)
Two weeks ago a 13 year old 8th grader from New Jersey emailed me to find a time to talk about startups. Impressed with the kid’s email, we set up a time to chat.
The kid is years ahead of his peers and I told him some things he could do to put himself in a really good position to be successful in the future.
The thing that I tried to hammer home though was the fact that he’s at a stage where he could take tons of risks and fail silently. He has absolutely zero expectations right now, no one is depending on him to put food on their table, and this is an opportune time to take the biggest risks.
This got me thinking about the amazing opportunities today’s youth have, especially while in college. For many young people (obviously not all) college is a place to party and waste time. But for a select few, college is a great opportunity to experiment and take risks (safe ones!). Starting a company has never been easier and during the four years of college is a great time to go for it.
Let me tell you, with what I now know, I wish I had my four years of college back.
Before last night, the article of the week was very clearly going to be Most People Won’t by Bryce Roberts . But now he has to share the article of the week spot with Jordan Cooper, of Wildcard, as he put out a seriously awesome read titled Understanding Snapchat.
Both are great posts and worth a few minutes to read.
You can tell a lot about companies by how their employees respond on Twitter to competitors’ announcements. I’ve seen everything from jealousy and nervousness all the way to battle cries from top management down to junior employees. This post isn’t to say what is right or wrong, just an observation (my personal opinion is to ignore commenting publicly about such things- however, it is okay and even necessary, to defend yourself to naysayers).
One of the most notable competitor call outs was a few months ago when Yelp’s board member Keith Rabois made a swipe at Foursquare. Dennis, Foursquare’s CEO, jumped in to defend his company and sort of mustered up a battle cry for his team (telling Rabois that he is going to make his tweets look foolish). Rabois probably thought his tweets were amusing, the problem was that everyone who commented on them could see clear as day a Yelp board member nervous about Foursquare. It makes sense. Foursquare is mobile first, social, lots of developers using their API. If I were Yelp, I would be scared too.
Bottom line: I recommend shying away from publicly commenting about moves competitors make. There is never anything good that can come from it. You will probably come off as some variation of jealous and nervous (even if you are not). Always and I mean always, defend yourself if a competitor calls you out.
"So you wanna be a rock superstar?
And live large, a big house, 5 cars, you’re in charge
Comin’ up in the world don’t trust no body
Gotta look over your shoulder constantly”
- (Rock) Superstar by Cypress Hill
At startups, the worst thing you can do is get too comfortable after a big announcement. Case in point, yesterday’s big Dwolla announcement. There is no room for complacency and your team needs to continue to work towards the next milestone, whatever that may be.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the win or you should jump to the next thing (sometimes the next thing is just continuing to make the present thing better and better). It just means you should continue to sleep with one eye open. Remember, the actual blood, sweat, and tears at startups happens behind the scenes and are not part of the splashy press announcement.
Bottom line: Don’t get too comfortable. Keep striving for better.
Today is a big day for Dwolla.
For me, it all started 10/31/2012 when Ben introduced Michael and me to Brian Billingsley, the director of Strategic Business Development at Alliance Data Systems (with the email subject: “My Favorite Email Introduction Ever”) to figure out the best way to team up and issue credit to the Dwolla network.
Almost one year later, we are releasing Dwolla Credit to the public.
We’re actually announcing 4 things today.
The first is Dwolla Credit, the product. Select users will be able to get access today (you can apply here).
The second is the partnership with Alliance Data Systems. You can read about it in countless other public press.
The third is the 40+ merchant partners that will be accepting Dwolla (and Dwolla Credit) for the launch. Most of them are live today, some of them are going live this and next week. There is something for everyone and you can find them all at the Storefront. Maybe next week I’ll write a post about how we went about getting 40+ companies involved in our launch. I think that would be an interesting post.
The fourth thing is the Storefront. We are using the opportunity of the Dwolla Credit launch to release Storefront, a place to find merchants that accept Dwolla. The 40+ merchant partners are just the start, but we will be adding more companies (whether they accept Dwolla Credit or not).
In this launch I’ve taken on multiple roles. Early on it was as project manager, then I did a little Product (before the awesome Brent Baker joined Dwolla to lead Product), and then (since July) I have been leading partnerships and closed the 40+ partners with Brian Kil for the launch. This has been the most exhilarating and stressful time of my life. I’ve never been part of something so big. The next few months are going to be an even wilder ride. By the way, we are hiring :)
Lastly, you probably can help. Here are some ways:
2) Get access. Check out realtime.dwolla.com and see how slick the product is.
3) Know any merchants that might benefit from saving on credit card fees? Of course you do. Send them to realtime.dwolla.com and tell them to reach out to us about accepting Dwolla.
Let me know what you think in the comments or email me at Ataub24@gmail.com
I’ve written before about staying focused and this post is not that different. It’s actually sort of a staying focused cousin which is ignoring the noise. The noise could be anything from mid-day distractions (that aren’t associated with the thing you need to be focused on) to non-important industry events. I’ve also posted recently about tech press noise.
This is one of the reasons I go through my calendar every Sunday and try to cancel, push off, or stack into one block (on one day) any meeting/call/etc. for the upcoming week. This is one method of ignoring the noise and staying focused. I think one of the most difficult professional issues our generation has to overcome is focus and noise. I’m always open to more suggestions of how to do that.
This week’s Article of The Week was written by Fabrice Grinda, an angel investor in NYC. It is about investing in startups and his strategy in doing so.
You can find it here.
Here is my latest Forbes piece: http://onforb.es/16drsk8
Let me know your thoughts!
Pitching in front of teammates can sometimes be more awkward than pitching in front of strangers. I’ve been there. I’m not 100% sure what it is. It could be that after good and bad pitches you have to spend time with them. This especially feels awkward when a pitch doesn’t go as planned.
To make pitching in front of teammates less awkward, I like the idea of asking teammates, pre-pitch, for feedback afterwards. This way, you don’t just feel judged but actually try to get them to tell you one or two things you can improve next time. You may still feel awkward, but at least you will have good communication with your teammates.
How do you go about pitching in front of teammates? Any thoughts?
I use LinkedIn every day. I think it is a good tool, but has potential to be great. Here are three ways LinkedIn can get a little bit better and on its way to “great.”
1) Who Should You Know
LinkedIn has so much data about you, professionally. They should use that data to tell people who they should know. There is a reason why there is a famous saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” If LinkedIn could tell you (or make suggestions about) who you should know it would be a very valuable offering.
2) Business Trips
When I take a business trip, I usually dive into my connections on LinkedIn and filter through the city where I am traveling. It takes some time and is very laborious. It would be great if LinkedIn had a “smart” business trip offering. I enter the city I am going to and the nature of the trip (partnerships, raising money, meetings, etc.) Then it recommends who I should reconnect with or meet by using my contacts. How hard can this be? They should put something together and slap a beta on it.
3) Online to Offline Networking
LinkedIn has a unique opportunity to take digital networking (and staying in touch with business associates) and take it offline. There can be major monetization opportunities as well. I think if they have the cash they should try to buy Meetup or build a competitor to go after monthly, quarterly, and yearly professional events. This is one thing Hashable did well at the beginning. The people you met by going to a Hashable event were pretty amazing and made up for months of networking.
How else would you improve LinkedIn?
Last week I wrote a post called “Someone Needs To Build.” In the post I shared an idea about catching up on news. I also mentioned that I may write a post every once in a while about ideas that people should build. I don’t plan on writing one each week, but I have another one to share now. Also, I’ve changed the name of this “series” to “Steal This Idea”. On to the idea…
During the Jewish Holidays I was eating a meal with my parents at their friends when the hostess mentioned that if her house was burning down she would grab her photo albums. This was odd to me as I don’t have any photo albums anymore. Everything is on my desktop and on Dropbox. This piqued my interest. I ended up asking other people during the holiday if they had photo albums and if they were digitized. To my surprise a large majority had albums that were not digitized.
The Idea: Build a service that allows people to request someone to go to their house and digitize all their photos. You would charge a fee per every 100 photos digitized. In the digitization you would give them a flash drive copy, a desktop copy, and upload it to the website (cloud offering). You can start real slow: just buy a portable scanner and do the first 50 on your own. People might think it is not scaleable and to that I would say that it is just as scaleable as Uber (a $3.5B biz). That’s the idea. If you run with it, let me know!