Prefer to be visible

Wow. What an incredible day. Today I finally forced myself to get up and go over to the Philadelphia Tech Breakfast. The traffic gods must have been in my favor because not only did I make it downtown, but I made it early! (If someone from Septa is reading this, I’m still waiting for those credit card ticket machines on the regional rail line……) The event consisted of two demos, SocialRadar (where is my android app!), and RedBerrRy, who presented in front of a panel of three great VC’s in the Philly area:

At the end of the demos, the audience was given the opportunity for a quick lightning pitch. As such, I forced myself to jump at the opportunity. Getting up, caffeine surged through my body, and I discussed ReplyWire for a few minutes. Surprisingly, no one told me to quit my life and become a hobo! Seriously, how could I be afraid of that to be a possibility. Anyways, I gave my pitch, answered a few questions, and have more to think about. Brett made an interesting point during the event, in reference to gaining market traction, “you don’t want to be a player in the market, you want to be THE player in the market.” Basically, aim for a top spot, and figure out how to get there. Also while at the event, I ran into some great folks I haven’t seen in a while. Alex from Zivtech, Everret Reis of Down2theHire, and David Whitaker, one of the original founders with me at BraveGenius. Not only that, I also ran in to fellow 40 under 40 winner Cliff Canan of Nooch, and Ryan Draving of Referable. Quite the day. As always, let’s get to the point! Earlier this week, I talked about the importance of having something to show for your efforts at the end of each week. Today, another important lesson is exemplified, the importance of being out there. Being seen at industry events, meetups, and social gathers, is a key factor towards making yourself known to the world around you. When we build a product, you aren’t building it for yourself, you are building it for your customers, so you go where your customers are. How are people going to know what you’re working on if you’re not interacting with them? That’s why people in LA write out of Starbucks! Patrick McKenzie of Kalzumeus Software has a great article about the topics I’ve written about this week (inspiration!), and his main points are

  • Prefer Working On Things You Can Show

  • Prefer To Work Where People Can See You

  • Prefer To Work On Things You Can Keep

I’ll let you peruse his article, because honestly, it’s very well written, but just to touch on the topics, being visible is one of the most important things you need to do. If no one knows what you have done, how are they going to know what you are capable of? In the argument of Quantity over Quality, the question arises, does either matter if no one sees it? During my time at Claims Compensation Bureau, I created some really, REALLY, cool stuff. In fact, I designed and implemented an entire system that allowed claims analysts to write their own custom code to calculate recoveries (essentially a layer of programming abstraction, think about it like JQuery is to Javascript). But, out of all of this, none of the 3 items Patrick discussed were met, I couldn’t show it, no one outside the small company saw me working on it, and I couldn’t keep any of it. Great job on something very few people can see! The moral of the story is, the things we work on are badges of successful execution. Make sure, at least to some degree, people know you are working on it, people see you in your industry, and you can take something with you.

What would you say, you do here?

Speaking of taking something with you (Not safe for language).


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