Consumer and Creator
© EM 2024
1. Intro to Freshman Year
In my three years in venture, I’d bucket myself as a “Sophomore” rather than a Freshman. Even though I’m still very uncertain in my ability to mentally grow to a Junior, I’ll consider any of the moments alone in Ubers, awkward sober interactions, awkward drunken interactions with individuals in the ecosystem worth it if I can just write this part right.
“This is a hard job…” is probably the extent of emotional support I got within my first year in venture. Not to say I didn’t get other kinds of support, but there is really very little space to talk about or feel vulnerable about this job and I’m not too sure Seniors are ready, willing, and able to figure this part out in the open.
To start in venture there are three buckets to start thinking about:
- Who you are
- What you care about
- Who you’re around
There are two general buckets to consider: inclusion (”IN”) and exclusion (”OUT”). You’ll flip and flop around these two a lot - even if you think you believe completely in one.
This is a network-driven job. Even if you think you’re in the IN, you will one day be in the OUT (you’ll believe in inclusion that day). If you would have been considered to be in the OUT and you’re now IN, you’re going to say “close the gates for a bit” (you’ll believe in exclusion that day). These two terms are very similar to what you would consider them in high school or college.
And if you’re a Senior, you will absolutely hate to hear this very complex and sophisticated, intellectual-even job boiled down to high school popularity, but you know part of it is true. Tell me it doesn’t feel like this sometimes.
I have three very fundamental things I want for you to know.
1) You need to be comfortable with having an internal and external self. And this is why Freshman Year is in New-Age Consumer. Startups, and especially VC, is an example of an industry that has been guided by online personas and influence. Whether it should or shouldn’t isn’t the point. The point is that as a person - you have do figure out how to adjust it to what feels right to how you want to live your life.
But if we were to zoom out for a second, this can apply offline as well. Everyone is marketing their boss, fund, and themselves in this job.
2) You need to understand that other people do as well. Everyone’s fake. But that’s half because people are uncomfortable with themselves, but also because that’s how to preserve the human part of a person before opting into a super transactional industry.
3) Be nice. Not everyone is going to agree with this boiling down of industry because it’s my experience. But as someone who completely built her entire career from the bottom ground up - this is just my interpretation. You should be open to sharing your own with your own group that you think are open to hearing it. Support others sharing these vulnerable ideas and parts of themselves always.
Regardless - I want for you to feel comfortable to ask me whatever you need. Xoxo.