Friday, June 26, 2009

job search notes: key to success - people with passion

The What's Next in Tech event held Thursday evening at the Boston University School of Management opened with a networking reception followed by two panel discussions.

The panel discussions were moderated by Scott Kirsner, Innovation Economy columnist for the Boston Globe.

Venture Capital Panelists
These were very respectable folks. They have money and are trying to put it to good use. They were asked, "What do they look for in a company?"

It was interesting to hear that the consensus answer was not the business plan (so they have Excel and perhaps thought about expenses, so what!) or the product (if they have a prototype, I definitely want to see and play with it) but the people. The people that comprise the start up team is all critical. I think it was Neil who said that the where a funded start-up failed it was due to an flaw in the team that was not revealed during the discovery or in the operations in time to correct it.

So hold that thought, people matter.

We move on to the second panel of entrepreneurs, rather successful folks who in some cases were long-brewing overnight sensations. Yes, they had the patience and persistence to stick it out, change their direction as necessary along the way, and ultimately be successful.

Entrepreneur Panelists
One of the several questions asked got around to the important topic of jobs. All have positions open. All are actively looking, so what are they looking for in the people that they would hire?

4 of the 5 specifically stated in the first words of their answer, passion. The fifth got to passion along the way. Depending upon the stage of the start-up, they may be looking for specific skill sets or they may be looking for a jack-of-all-trades type person but in either case, passion was the most significant factor.

On the venture side, it was the people.
On the entrepreneur side, it was the passion.

How do we translate that to our job search?
Should we spend less time on our resume and more time out in the social world connecting with people?

If your skill and passion can be presented in words on a page successfully, I would say go for it.
Otherwise, it seems like getting face to face with someone to share your passion and skill set would be the best thing to do.



  1. Steve, This is a really helpful and critical reminder of the importance of PASSION in making oneself valuable as an employee, and I am extending this to--as a learner. I also really like the way you structure this post "Hold that thought" as you move through your observations.

    So how have you acted on this in your life? HOw are you thinking about passion enacted?

  2. I found it a reinforcement of what I already had underway and an added incentive to take the next step. To that end, I have formed a team to plan and run a LaidOff Camp in Providence and Boston (at least).

    The LaidOff Camp utilizes the unconference model. Hence, the event should utilize the "power of we" to empower folks on their job search effort, armed with new knowledge and new connections.