Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #136
A special birthday request...
Today — the day I’m publishing this issue of EOH… July 15th — is my birthday. I’m telling you because I’d like to ask all of you for a birthday present, and it has something to do with the subject of this issue’s featured article.
The article, as you’ll soon read, is about how much I hate when the founders of small companies get called “CEO.”
Seriously? CEO? Most startups have teams of what… three people?
My household has four people in it, meaning my wife manages more people every day than most startup “CEOs.”
Uggg — I’m getting annoyed just thinking about it again.
Anyway… please go read the article, and, if you agree, as a birthday present to me, share the article somewhere on social media. Maybe, if enough people share it, we’ll actually be able to make some sort of meaningful change.
Honestly, if my biggest contribution to the world is getting people to stop calling founders “CEOs,” I could live with that…
How many startups are failing simply because their founders are too busy trying to do the wrong job?
I Killed My Company by Being Good at too Many Things
Entrepreneurs tend to be good at lots of things. They have to be... it's how they survive. But, what if being good at too many things actually hurts your company?
Office Hours Q&A
I’ve been thinking about a career change, but I’m struggling. My background is computer science and software, and I’ve been working in startups, but I don’t really like software anymore. I want to do something else.
I would like to stay in startups if I can, but every job I apply to the people seem to want me to write code. What can I do to increase my attractiveness in other areas so I’m not just pigeonholed as a developer?
The good news – and something I always tell my students who ask a similar question in terms of their majors – is that nobody is stuck only learning about the things they studied in school. You’re allowed to learn whatever you want.
With that in mind, step number one is going to be educating yourself about things beyond software. The more you know about whatever other types of jobs you want to have, the better a candidate you’ll be.
Beyond that, if you can, get yourself some real world experience. For example, if you’re interested in marketing, find some way to do marketing work for a different entity/organization. For example, I’m sure there’s no shortage of great charities in the world that would love to have someone helping them with marketing and promotion. You probably won’t get paid, but at least you won’t have a giant hole in your resume related to the kind of work you want to be doing.
Also, while I’m on the subject of resumes, if you don’t want people thinking you’re a software person, you could simply exclude software-related work/jobs from your resume. To be fair, that’s probably a strategy that’s easier said than done (after all, it’ll leave you with a giant resume gap), but there are ways of overcoming that.
The other option – and it’s a bit contradictory to what I wrote at the beginning – is that you could go back to school. Pick up a masters or a certificate or something like that in whatever other fields your interested in. While you may or may not actually learn the skills you’ll need (depending on the quality of the program you attend), having some sort of academic credential is a time-tested way of showing potential employers what you know.
Lastly, you might consider how you can avoid making such a hard pivot and instead focus on doing more of a shift. For example, lots of jobs benefit from having someone who understands code/software without actually requiring much code. Some that come to mind include software product management or any sort of biz or marketing ops work. In other words, just because you’re not interested in coding doesn't mean your skills and knowledge of software couldn’t be immensely valuable in lots of other jobs. Can you find one of those?
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!