Career Advice

Personal Lessons

  • Avoid arguments in email chains, even if one on one. Have the chat in person / on a call.
  • “Never write in an email something you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of the New York Times”.
  • Say you want someone to do something – use priming to get them to realise that it is worth doing first, eg asking questions which are likely to lead to your suggestion as an outcome.
  • Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn when you change jobs, it will be awkward to do it after and will not be fresh in their minds.
  • Conferences/talks/meetups are not the best places to learn – the odds are there is better content for free online, which you can take in at your pace. Favour the events where there are people you want to meet.
  • When doing a slidedeck presentation, make sure the content is slowly added to the slide. If you have too much on there to read as soon as you switch to a slide, people won’t be able to both listen to what you’re saying and read everything.
  • If anxious before a big public presentation, chew some gum, it will chill you out (it’s an evolutionary thing 🙂
  • Don’t go more than a quarter without taking a full week off, without checking work email / Slack. Long weekends don’t count, you can’t switch off enough in 3-4 days
  • “a ‘bad’ process executed consistency and with real buy-in will outperform any ‘good’ process with only lip service commitment.” – I’ve found this quote (from a random hacker news commenter) – to be very true.

How to Pick a Career, from Wait but Why

The inimitable Tim Urban has an amazing, in depth post and framework on how to pick a career. What I particularly love is how considered Tim is about the work-life balance of different careers and really getting you to think about what you want from life (a wisdom that is lacking from most career advice which is comparatively rat-racey.)

Bill Gurley on Chasing your Dreams

An amazing talk, tracing the stories of Bobby Knight, Bob Dylan, Danny Meyer, Sam Hinkie, and Katrina Lake, who all became masters of their own crafts through similar patterns of behaviour:

  • Choose the industry you’re passionate about
  • Study its history, know its pioneers
  • Be the most knowledgeable about it – if you can, go to its epicentre
  • Develop mentors
  • Document what you hear, share with others (<– this is partly why I’m doing this site 🙂

Founder Mentality

This is something I’ve really experienced first hand – it’s so much easier and interesting to work with people with this mindset, and I’ve found people either have it or don’t – it’s something that’s very hard to teach or instill.

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