NEW BOOK: Finding a job in a start-up is not the same process as finding a job in an established business. Title? Who needs titles? Jeffrey Bussgang’s new book, Entering StartUpLand, is an important guide to finding a job and being productive in a new business. Contains a book excerpt.
Interview with Sean Silverthorne
Many books offer advice on how to start a business, interview or develop a career, but the new work of Jeffrey Bussgang offers something else: a specific methodological approach to finding work in a startup.
Entering StartUpLand: An essential guide to finding the right job explains the unique opportunities and challenges that a new business can face. Are you ready to make an effective contribution in a chaotic and pressurized atmosphere? How is a career developing in a fast-growing business? How do you like the right job? What are startup owners looking for in candidates?
Bussgang is a good person to hear about this topic. In addition to his experience as an entrepreneur and consultant, he is Senior Lecturer in the Business Management Unit of Harvard Business School and General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, a start-up venture capital firm. He studies lean start-ups and the founders’ strategic and management challenges. Bussgang also teaches the Launching Technology Ventures course.
Sean Silverthorne: How did you come up with the idea of writing a book for startups?
Jeffrey Bussgang Over the years, students from my HBS course have asked me the same questions as navigating the startups. I began to realize that while there was more and more quality information and resources for the founders, there was little for carpenters.
Silverthorne: What’s the difference in finding a job with a start-up compared to an established business? What is different?
Unlike established companies, start-ups have less structured recruitment procedures, but are more likely to take risks with younger, less experienced executives. What is it: Your personal account of why you are well suited to the role and the company must be convincing?
Silverthorne: What are the first two or three reservations you would give start-up jobseekers?
Bussgang First, do not come in the cold. Continue with a warm introduction, even if it takes a little more time. Second, do not show yourself empty-handed. Wear “gifts”, ideas to your business, so that you can articulate their challenges and opportunities.
Silverthorne: Can you generalize who is guilty of a startup and who does not?
Bussgang I am looking for three attributes: a) comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity; b) the attitude of a homeowner, always thinking of the big picture, is attentive and ready to invest in the overall success of the business; and c) test the limits – always make the assumptions and think about how something can be improved.
Silverthorne: Entering Startupland includes a methodology for identifying and evaluating launch opportunities. What is the best advice you can give here?
Bussgang Have a strategy in your approach. Match the best companies that match your criteria: City, Real Estate and Stadium. Then search for the few winners who meet these criteria.
Silverthorne: You had a varied and successful career: VC, twice entrepreneur, consultant and now teacher. What is the best career advice you have for your readers?
Bussgang Follow your passion. Do not do anything because others think you should or because you think people like you should do that. Do what you love and everything else will work.