Career Planning With pmarca, Seth Godin, & Steve Blank (and Ben Horowitz)

I was asked about career advice the other day. As usual it was a very interesting conversation. But it is such a tough decision. I’m never sure if I said the right things. In case I get asked again here are the three best Career Planning writings that I’ve found over the years.

What is not so intuitive is that the person who follows Marc Andreesen’s advice on “how to become a hardcore nerd” is very likely to fit the mold described by Seth Godin and Steve Blank on “HowTo work in a small company or startup”.

The Three Best Career Planning Posts

The first is by Marc Andreesen (pmarca) who wrote a series of posts back in 2009. I’d summarize it as “the path to becoming a hard-core nerd.” In a nutshell I love his advice. It’s pretty much what I ended up trying to do with my life.

Here is the opening paragraph to the series. It is so true …

In real life — as opposed to blogging — one of my least favorite things to do is give career planning advice. Most people who say they want career planning advice aren’t actually looking for advice — they just want validation of the path they have already chosen. Because of that, giving someone career planning advice is one of the surest ways to end up feeling like an a******

Marc’s first rule is awesome

The first rule of career planning: Do not plan your career.
The second rule of career planning: Instead of planning your career, focus on developing skills and pursuing opportunities.

The second is a recent Seth Godin post “How to get a job with a small company” I really liked this because it talks about taking personal initiative and the risks involved. It’s hard to “just do it”, especially when you come from a “do what your told background”.

The third post is from Steve Blank Entrepreneurship is an Art not a Job. Steve does a good job of talking about what life in a startup is like.

Added Sept 6, 2012 — For MBA’s and Aspiring MBA’s

Many MBAs don’t understand how the “entrepreneurial” world thinks of them. Ben Horowitz gets straight to the point Is Now the Time to Hire MBAs? // ben’s blog. Here is the opening paragraph.

Conventional wisdom among smart technology entrepreneurs says not to hire people with Masters in Business Administration (MBAs) into startups. Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint, expressed the sentiment well when he said: “When valuing a startup, add $500k for every engineer, and subtract $250k for every MBA.” My friend Peter Thiel once warned a young entrepreneur: “Never ever hire an MBA; they will ruin your company.” I chimed in myself with this Quora answer. At Andreessen Horowitz, we believe that once everyone thinks that something is true, that might be a good time to do the opposite. So, with everyone convinced that MBAs are useless, I wonder: Is now the time to hire MBAs?

Added Dec 17, 2012 — You Need Plan A, B, and Z by Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman does a nice job explaining that you’re working on plan A, but you need to pay attention because there is likely a superior Plan B that you’ll discover along the way. Also you need a plan Z in case everything falls apart. Look here.

Added April 1, 2013 — Should I Get an MBA? « Steve Blank

Steve Blank: My students ask, “Should I Get an MBA” at least once a month. Here’s what I tell them

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