One of our favourite things about Twitter is that if you follow the right people, its conversational nature can feel like you’re hanging out at Starbucks eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. And when those conversations are VCs talking amongst themselves, beautiful, life-affirming things can happen. Like the time you realised that VCs are, in actual fact, just like you — other than the fact they control hundreds of millions of dollars.
Take, for example, this exchange of tweets by a group of London-based VCs, started by Passion Capital VC and ex-Skype Product Manager, Eileen Burbidge, discussing the virtues of having a real job.
best work experience for me: telesales and restaurant waitress/hostess (more real world practical exp than any internship inc Bell Labs etc)
— Eileen Burbidge (@eileentso) January 23, 2014
Burbidge makes a very valid point, of course: entrepreneurs need to know how to sell, while people-facing skills are a crucial, but perhaps under celebrated, skill-set required for startup success. In her case, work experience in telesales and waitressing appears to have beat time spent interning at legendary Bell Labs.
Cue Saul Klein, Partner at Index Ventures, who chimes in reminiscing about when he too had a regular job. He agrees with Burbidge, telesales is good, but perhaps not as good as working as a kitchen hand, dishwasher, and cleaner.
@eileentso totally agree re telesales – also for me was kitchen prep and dish washing in a restaurant plus being a cleaner
— Saul Klein (@cape) January 23, 2014
Next up is Sean Seton-Rogers of PROfounders Capital. He too bestows the virtues of learning to sell. In his case, selling fruit and veg at a farmer’s market, aged 15 — something a tad far removed from his time at Balderton selling Bebo to AOL for $850m. “Good times!,” he tweets. Good times, indeed!
@cape @eileentso I spent a summer selling fruit and veg at a farmer’s market when I was 15. Good times!
— Sean Seton-Rogers (@setonrog) January 23, 2014
Finally, up steps Joe Neale of m8Capital with his own tale of real world experience. In contrast to Burbidge, he describes working in telesales as “soul-destroying” — we’re presuming he wouldn’t describe being a VC like that these days. Although, on a more positive note, the ex MySpacer-turned-VC says it taught him how to hustle. And hustle he has.
@jlopezvalcarcel @cape @eileentso I had a dreadful job in Telesales right after university, soul-destroying but learned to hustle ;)
— Joe Neale (@Joe) January 23, 2014
However, we are disappointed that Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Chief Digital Officer at Pearson International, enthusiastically embraces selling when he really ought to be BUYING STARTUPS. Ok Juan?
The take-away to all of this is: VCs, they’re just like us.
(And, if you land a job in telesales, a career in Venture Capital can ensue.)
Image credit: rgmolpus (Flickr)