Navigating Your Startup Career Path with Charlie O'Donnell

We were really pumped to host Charlie O'Donnell (@ceonyc)of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures this week at our NYC campus as he aimed to guide those curious about breaking into the startup scene for 'Find Your Startup Career Path'. Charlie hailed from two of the most venerated venture firms-- Union Square Ventures and First Round-- before breaking out to run his own fund out of Brooklyn. He was a pioneer in the New York tech startup landscape, being active in it for over a decade, and really has a passion for people who are looking to make an impact in the innovation ecosphere  Interested in how you can fit into this scene? Charlie has two creative strategies for prospecting to future startup employers:

  • Have a 100 Day Plan-- Essentially, see yourself a consultant and make it easy for the hiring manager to see the value of someone in your respective role will perform, and how your skills are transferable. For example, if you have expertise in campaign management from your years with various political platforms and you're pursuing a marketing role at an early stage startup, write a 'campaign' for what success might look like in three-months time. You may or may not hit all of the goals you set, but chances are good that they will give you the opportunity to try if it is thoughtful, and makes sense for their larger goals.
  • The Conference-- The second method is to pretend to set up a conference for whatever industry you want to learn more about.  Let's just say you are fascinated by the food & technology industry, or web design in general. Who is making a lot of noise in that space that you would want on your panel? Perhaps Alex Lorton, co-founder of Cater2.Me, or Matt Pestritto, CTO of Plated, would be great to add to the conversation for your 'Yum Tech' two-day event, or getting a journalist for Fast Co.Design who looks at beautiful design all day would be super-knowledgeable on the topic for your web design conference. Then, follow these people on social media, and tweet/ reach out to them with smart questions to get an industry insider's perspective on how to best break in.

Charlie (right) at NYC Innovation Friday

Check out Charlie's blog on ThisIsGoingtoBeBig.com and sign up for his newsletters giving you the best of NYC Tech Innovation in your inbox every week before heading out to pound the Silicon Alley pavement. If you missed the class and want to learn more about how you fit into the NYC innovation economy, check out our Eventbrite page for all the up-and-coming things we have happening. I'll leave you with a tweet from one of our alumna:

Photo credit: Kirt Edblom via Flickr cc