Fifth in the series letters to my kids…
Zillow is a great example of a local startup that is doing well. This interview though has one phrase that goes well beyond building a great startup and has more to do with evaluating your future. The statement was directed at the students at Seattle University and I wish someone had given me this advice when I was younger. Instead I hear from my teachers “hey your pretty good at computers, you know you can make a lot of money in computers”… at the time the only thing I was interested in was business law but no one said “hey your pretty good at business law, you know you can make a lot of money as a lawyer”. Looking back, I think I got crappy advice from my teachers and my parents never really chimed in on the topic. I love that I got into computers and am definitely satisfied with how my life turned out. It would have been interesting to look at the same decision with this insight from Spencer though…
On advice for students looking to find their path: “Wherever you are working, whether summer job or full-time job, look at the people 10 to 15 years senior to you and think to yourself: ‘Do I want that person’s life….’ I mean the whole package. Are they happy? Would you be happy if you were they? Everything from their compensation to their responsibility to the way they are perceived in the community…. When I was investment banking, I asked myself that and looked to people 10 to 15 years senior, and I said: ‘Wow, they are really, really wealthy, but they seem really unhappy.’ And I thought I’d be unhappy in that role.”
It is important to look at where a career path will take you and if you are ok with the end result. Think about the life of a computer programmer in the gaming industry, an investment banker, or a whatever other career interests you and see if that is really the type of life you want to live. I know a lot of people in nearly every industry that you might want to explore a career in – just say the words and we can setup time to talk to someone in the field that you are interested in. You really should plan your life around being happy and loving what you are doing every day. This is a good way to think about that future happiness.