How to Think About Risk When Investing in Your Career

March 7 2013 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

Reid wrote a post on LinkedIn about risk, which has already been shared over 3000 times and received over 900 likes and comments. The opening graf:

Risk tends to get a bad rap. We associate it with things like losing money in the stock market, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. But risk isn’t the enemy–it’s a permanent part of life. In fact, being proactively intelligent about risk is a prerequisite for seizing breakout opportunities. Many more people would enjoy breakout opportunities if it were only a matter of tapping networks, courting serendipity, and being resourceful. The reality is that doing those things is usually necessary but rarely enough. There’s competition for good opportunities. And because of that, if you can intelligently take on risk, you will find opportunities others miss. Where others see a red light, you’ll see green.

Click here to read the full article.

A Visual Summary of The Start-Up of You

February 20 2013 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

In commemoration of a year in print, we created a visual summary of The Start-Up of You. The last year has continued to demonstrate how work and careers need a new entrepreneurial mindset for everyone — not just entrepreneurs. We hope you enjoy this and share it with your network.

A New Way to Map Your Social Network

December 3 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

Our constant engagement with technology has introduced an additional way to map social networks. Instead of relying on what you say, you can now analyze what you do. Consider the following questions:

  • When you call your friends and leave a voicemail, which ones call you back right away and which ones seemingly take forever?
  • Do your friends call and invite you to parties on Friday and Saturday nights?
  • Do you spend more time chatting when you make calls or when you receive calls?

You may not know the answers to these questions – but your mobile phone provider does. Using network analysis software, phone companies study the call records of subscribers. They know who you call (or receive calls from) most frequently, how long you stay on the phone with these people, and who you correspond with the most via text message.

Those who make long calls, receive calls during party-hour weekend times, and who get quick call-backs after leaving voicemails are deemed “influential” within their social networks – and pampered appropriately. Similarly, instead of asking you to list your most important ties, Facebook tracks the profiles you naturally interact with the most and displays those people’s updates to you more often.

Are You in Permanent Beta?

November 26 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

Technology companies sometimes keep the beta test phase label on software for a time after the official launch to stress that the product is not finished so much as ready for the next batch of improvements. Jeff Bezos, founder/CEO of Amazon concludes every annual letter to shareholders by reminding readers, as he did in his first annual letter in 1997, that “It’s still Day 1” of the Internet and of

“Though we are optimistic, we must remain vigilant and maintain a sense of urgency.”

In other words, Amazon is never finished: It’s always Day 1. For entrepreneurs, finished is an F-word. They know that great companies are always evolving.

Finished ought to be an F-word for all of us. We are all works in progress. Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more, grow more in our lives and careers. Keeping your career in permanent beta forces you to acknowledge that you have bugs, that there’s more QA (quality assurance) testing to do on yourself, that you will need to adapt and evolve. But it’s still a mind-set brimming with optimism because it celebrates the fact that you have the power to improve yourself and, more important, improve the world around you.

The Impact of Relationships on Your Health

November 12 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

In Reid’s latest LinkedIn post, he explains why relationships matter to your career. But beyond being good for your career, there is at least one other benefit: friends keep you alive. Several studies have shown that, all else equal, you have a better chance of beating a disease if you enjoy the support of friends.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco looked at the survival rates among women diagnosed with breast cancer. They found that women without ten or more friends were four times as likely to die during the test period than those with the close friends. Another study in Australia showed that those with many friendships live longer and healthier than those without similar social networks.

For those of us not dying from cancer, friends do more than just keep us healthy; they make us happy. In recent years, psychologists and gurus have paraded onto morning talk shows bearing myriad theories of happiness. Their talking points vary, but they agree on one thing: human relationships, especially good friends, are the leading predictor of a happy existence.

They matter so much that you’d be wise to value these relationships over near any level of professional achievement. “[O]ne of the key findings,” David Brooks once concluded in a column summarizing studies of well-being, “is that, just as the old sages predicted, worldly success has shallow roots while interpersonal bonds permeate through and through.”

The Start-Up of You Instructor’s Guide

November 5 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

We’ve been pleased with the strong uptake of The Start-Up of You among students and faculty. Several schools have adopted the book into their First-Year Experience and Common Reading Programs.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and we’re delighted to be able to help shape the way they think about launching their careers. That is why we are creating materials to help educators, such as:

Introducing The Start-Up of You Student Fellows

October 29 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

Last July, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha announced The Start-Up of You Student Fellowship. This exclusive online network was created to recognize and connect the most entrepreneurial student leaders in the world and empower them to do more. Each of them has shown a remarkable dedication to improving themselves, their networks, and their communities. We would like to introduce you to them.

The Three Ways to Introduce Two People Over Email

October 22 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

As we talk about in the chapter “It Takes a Network,” a good way to strengthen your network is to make an introduction between two people who would benefit from knowing each other.

When you introduce two people, you’re in a unique situation:

1. You’re at an informational advantage: You know both parties, and usually you know why the two should get to know each other. Meanwhile, they know nothing about each other.

2. Both people are presumably busy, so you want to make it easy for them to take action and quickly decide if it makes sense to get to know each other.

3. You’ve instantly bestowed social pressure on both the recipients. Because you know each of the recipients, they will feel social pressure to respond (whether you intend this or not). The worst introductory emails make busy people resent having to respond to someone they don’t know, whom they aren’t sure why they’re being introduced.

Read our article that covers three types of email introductions.

The Myth of the Lone Inventor

October 5 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

In The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, he writes about a question the psychologist Carol Dweck asks her students:

When you think of Thomas Edison, she asks them, what do you see?

“He’s standing in a white coat in a lab-type room,” comes the average reply. “He’s leaning over a light bulb. Suddenly, it works!”

“Is he alone?” Dweck asks.
“Yes. He’s kind of a reclusive guy who likes to tinker on his own.”

As Dweck relishes in pointing out, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Edison actually thrived in group settings, and when he invented the light bulb, he did so with the help of 30 assistants. Edison was actually a social creative, not a lone wolf!

In The Start-Up of You, we emphasize the tremendous professional networks of people like JP Morgan, Ben Franklin and Joseph Priestly–each formed critical alliances in their career that allowed them to make groundbreaking innovations. Just as there’s a myth of a lone inventor like Edison, there’s a myth that successful professionals and CEOs today are lone superheroes. Mark Zuckerberg is a talented guy, but his greatest talent might be attracting all-star people to his team. In your career, you need to be similarly devoted to building teams around you to help you get to where you want to go.

Recognizing Disguised Breakout Opportunities

September 15 2012 - posted by The Start-Up of You Team

Awesome career opportunities are not always so obviously awesome.

Nassim Taleb made this point in The Black Swan:

Many people do not realize they are getting a lucky break in life when they get it. If a big publisher (or a big art dealer or a movie executive or a hotshot banker or a big thinker) suggests an appointment, cancel anything you have planned: you may not see such a window open up again.

Marc Andreessen stresses that sometimes opportunities come in more subtle packages:

A senior person at your firm is looking for someone young and hungry to do the legwork on an important project.

A small group of your smartest friends are headed to Denny’s at 11 PM to discuss an idea for a startup — would you like to come along?

Being able to recognize — and act on — disguised or subtle opportunities is a skill of the best entrepreneurial professionals.