Building Skills for Startup Part II

Hi Reddit,

I've just graduated from an undergraduate business school, which means I graduated without a HARD skill per se. I now have 6 months of free time before I start work and am trying to decide on how to spend them. I'll be working in consulting for two years, but then my goal is to join early-stage startups and eventually start my own down the line.

With that in mind, I'd like to work on something that will help me down the line. I've considered learning photoshop/design but figured this is something that can be outsourced for cheap and could be not the best use of my time as there are so many photoshop-skilled people out there. I am interested in learning more about coding and have previously taken intro courses, but I am unsure about whether 6 months would give me sufficient proficiency to even be useful? I've also considered working remotely unpaid for an interesting start-up, but felt like I could find more valuable things to spend the summer on given remote/corona work may not be the best learning environment. Lastly, I've considered taking the CFA to get a deeper understanding of the financial end of the stick. I think I'm trying to work on building hard skills but I'm not sure where to go.

Those are the ideas I've had for now and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or better ideas on what I could do for the next 6 months. Thank you!

Quote Mark

Best Answer

Sales is the only skill you can get decent at in 6 months. Go sell cars if you can get a job doing it now. If not and depending on where you live start selling lawn care. .

Learn how to be told no and it bounce off you.

Learn how to read people.

Learn how to negotiate.

Also you have lots of time for reading. Tons of good books to chose from that would help if implemented. Here’s what I would choose:

The first book is just one of the best self improvement methods you can use, the next couple are for sales, then after that is general startup books. Ended up in about the order I would suggest you read in anyways

Atomic habits by James Clear

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Pitch Anything by Oran Klaff (the first 1/3 of the book isn’t even worth skimming while he talks about the “science” of his system. He isn’t right about why it works, but he is still right about how to do it).

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

The Lean Startup Eric Ries

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (yea that one, read it, read it again, then read it one more time. It doesn’t get more boiled down and applicable in business.)

The four hour workweek by Tim Ferris (there is controversy about this one. Don’t take the idea of a 4 hour week literal but instead to be able to do more in the same time)

Other points

Don't think about your passion or your offerings. Questions like "If you have 6 months of free time go build a product. Sell it. Market it. Get feedback. Rinse and repeat." and "What’s your passion? What does make you feel alive when you do it?" are probably from people who is not even more qualified than you.

The world is made of fantasies and post-fantasy folks. Veterans know that shinny things are lures and that pleasing words are attempts to turn you into a paying customer. I was a professor for 20 years turned entrepreneur with six startups and really really scar-ed. I can tell you two facts. One is 90% of business is marketing. Marketing is a nice way to say "gimmicks" but that is how a lot of people on earth feed their family. Two is that making code making product making something new is very very far away from becoming a business (not everyone can be Jordan or musk). The Lean Startup book author is trying to sell you a book by appearing to sincerely wanting you to succeed. Well, he really wants to sell you a book. His teaching will result in ennuumrable regrets down the road. The "lean startup' typically turn into "lean life" even if you succeed in crowdsourcing.

I remember Mark Cuban has an old interview answering "what should I do if I lose everything" and "what is I start a side hustle today". Both are illuminating.

Cuban said he would just do two jobs. Bar tending at night and selling stuff in the day. In the recent interview, he would just be doing AI Alexa coding and peddling the benefits to small businesses. Well we may not all like Cuban but he is a smart cookie when it comes to nonsense smell sensor.

As for the book suggestions u/thatdude391 gave. Reading is great, but never a substitute of learning through direct experience. The writer's number one job is not to alienating you and make you pay. So it say things that you like to hear. Also, a lot of books do not induce understanding and internalization. The only way to really learn is direct experience. You want to have some skills so you can participate in direct experience such as a good job - then hear what Cuban had to say about what he would do.

Question asked by


May 8, 2020, 10:56:32 AM

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