A very smart MBA (who just graduated) wrote me asking if there was a job opportunity at SoftTech VC. She really wants a job in venture apparently, which I can respect, but I really think that venture (aka "the dark side") is a gig you do after accumulating operational experience. Here is what I wrote her:


"In any case, I don't think that we are going to be able to help: we are building the firm with Partner level investment professionals who have 12+ years of operating experience. We may at some point bring in a principal as well, but once again, we'd look at bringing in someone who has had at least 8 years of relevant operating experience. Why? Because you can't really advise or provide perspective to a young CEO/founding team if you have not been exposed to "real life" yourself.

So what am I saying? That you should take that offer from <redacted> – they seem to see a rockstar in the making in you, and it is a great, promising company. And ask <redacted> to give you some exposure to the different facets of the business, and try to take on different challenges over the next few years.

If you really want to go for a venture role now, only sign up for a top firm. And after two years, cut yourself loose and join the most exciting portfolio company of theirs (or others) you have seen. You can't really have a career in venture, you have to move in and out.

Sorry if it is not what you wanted to hear, but I'd hate you end up in venture too early – when it is not the most fun and rewarding."
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