I recently started a new job at BNY Mellon in Global Product Management working in Foreign Exchange and Asset Servicing as a Financial Analyst... I still don't know exactly what all that means, but it's been a heckuva first two weeks. I'm also finishing my MBA, at night, at Villanova University with a concentration in Finance. My world, professionally, has completely changed, up-side down, the past month. I'm keeping my head above water, treading heavily, not because the work is overly difficult but rather because everyday I'm tackling new issues that are unique to my past experiences.
After most recently spending my time in the technology start-up space, I cannot help but relate my current situation to that of a start-up (I know, how on Earth is the worlds largest Asset Management firm similar to a start-up?). Rather than bla you to death writing about myself, I'd rather highlight the successes of two friends and professional colleagues of mine, who are in fact running a start-up, and then briefly compare the similarities.
Austin Evarts and Josh Emert risked everything. They had an idea, the idea changed, and changed, and changed some more. The two moved to New York, then Seattle (for TechStars), and then back to New York. They put the rest of their lives on hold, successfully raised capital, and are now working with some of the biggest brands in the world. Their company, Go Chime, is a social advertising platform, which mines social media for expressions of commercial intent, matching people talking about products and services they need or want with relevant offers.
They lived on couches, shared rooms (their 1st hire / co-founder even slept in a closet for a couple of months), and worked out of coffee shops, on buses, and trains - barely getting by, with nothing to fall back on if they failed. Go Chime is their life, it's not their job, it's what they do. And, it's because of people such as Austin and Josh that when I am working long hours and then taking the train at night out to class and then the train back in to the city late at night that I'm reminded. I'm reminded that this is what it takes in life, to get to where you want to get to, and to live the life you've imagined rather than imaging a different life. It takes risking everything, whether that means starting your own company, or taking on $100k in student loan debt to professionally launch yourself. It means that everyday at your startup perhaps you're wearing all sorts of different hats, or if you're working in a new job, then going to class, then a different class the next night that you stay agile and light on your feet. As Steve Jobs said, "Stay Foolish. Stay Hungry."
Austin (pictured above) was recently interviewed by Fast Company, which is awesome by itself, and then again by We Are NY Tech. Both articles, linked above, are great quick Q&A reads, but to see friends, peers, and colleagues continue to push forward, grow their businesses, and charge forward is very, very inspiring. There's a handful of other peers of mine who are also very inspiring, and as I continue this rigorous journey I will continue to highlight many of them. It is their energy, struggle, and success that thus fuels my fire to keep forging ahead.