commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
Found this great post on Hacker News last night and have been thinking about it ever since: http://bijan.tumblr.com/post/44870687156/who-took-a-chance-on-you
Who took a chance on you? The kind of chance that -- had they not taken it -- would mean that you wouldn't be here right now, reading this post? The kind of chance that led to greater and greater opportunities like a snowball rolling downhill and gaining mass to become an avalanche?
The kind of chance that elevated you beyond what you were to become who you are?
Maybe it's not to the size and scale of "changed your whole entire life", but my boss did. I came out of University with an entrepreneurship degree, something that doesn't exactly scream "brand loyalty". I had no programming skill - still don't. I knew very little HTML. I had no idea what SEO meant or that search engine rankings could even be manipulated (because back then it wasn't a horribly dirty concept to talk about rankings as part of SEO, my how far we've come). But I had a keen business sense and I could see the big picture. So he rolled the dice on somebody who might leave the next month or two down the line and had zero experience. It paid off - for both of us. I've been here just shy of 4 years now.
Wow, how cool is that? There's something really meaningful about risk that builds loyalty. I love how you ended up being a great fit for each other even though you didn't have any evidence to prove it when your boss initially hired you. That's the kind of serendipity that makes the world go 'round.
All the people who never gave up on me even though I failed them, mistreated them, let them down, and broke promises. The list is too long to publish. It's one thing for somebody to take a chance on you before you F something up, but it's an entirely different thing when they give you another chance after you F'd something up. I'd be nowhere without those people and I'd be nothing without their kindness and forgiveness.
Great article and it was Patrick Gavin who took a chance on me, gave me my first job, funded my first serious venture. Awesome reminder to give thanks to the folks who gave us some help and confidence when we were getting started.
First *"career job" that is. First actual job was at the car dealership, then Kroger, then Burger King!
Goodness- there are so many possible answers to this question- and it's hard to answer in only a professional context. My parents adopted me, so that right there is probably the biggest chance anyone could have taken. I try not to think too long about what would have happened to me otherwise. In school, my 3rd/4th grade teacher allowed me to start with a clean slate - according to my parents, I was a bully (though I think now it was probably just "I was an only child"), but anyhow, by the time I was in 1st grade, the teachers at school had already made up their minds about me - and in 5th grade my teacher flat out told me that my earlier teachers had warned her about me. But my 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Thompson, did not act as if I was a bad kid - and that made a huge difference - it was then that the tide turned in terms of getting ahead in school.
Professionally, my friend and mentor Heather Zydek wound up suggesting me for her position as Community Editor of our local weekly when she moved out of town - and that was exactly the kind of break that I needed to get my foot in the door of journalism, content production, managing other people, etc. Later, she also asked me to contribute a few pieces to a book she was working on - the idea of being a published author by 25 would have been completely out of my reach without her taking a chance on me. I owe her a ton! Back home, I had a fair amount of credibility based on my knowledge of the community and journalism experience with pretty much all the major papers in town, but when you uproot your life and move it halfway across the U.S., you start fresh with new chances - I feel like every job I've gotten out here since has been the result of someone believing that I could do the things the position entailed even though I was no longer the big fish in a small pond and instead, one of a bajillion little fish in a big Seattle.
I was laid off on my first SEO job (that only lasted 2 months, back in early 2010), but Simon Slade of Affilorama, Traffic Travis and Salehoo took the chance (instantly, like 2 days after I got fired) for me to become a part of their marketing team. I wouldn't be here without that chance that he gave me. He has taught me a lot, indirectly, just by analyzing almost everything he asked me to do back then, and eventually, allowing me to explore SEO more on my own, which led to starting my own blog (Kaiserthesage).
I love my job there, and even though I'm not working with them in-house anymore, I still enjoy working on their sites and definitely love working with their entire team (as one of our biggest clients).
Once upon a time I forgot to go to an interview. This interview was for an SEO role (no I didn't know what it was). I got the days mixed up and forgot to go. #DUH
My girlfriend's mum told me that I should call up, apologise and rearrange the interview. So I did.
I went the next day and got the job.
God I hate that woman.
I had a similar experience many many years ago in another life. I mixed up interview days and ended up missing it entirely. When I realized it, I shrugged and said, "Oh well." I got a call later that afternoon asking to reschedule it for the next day. At the interview, my answers were completely moronic. My answer to "What do you want to be doing in five years?" was that I wanted to be a published poet. The job was in the banking industry. To this day I have no idea why they hired me, but I ended up staying (miserably) in banking until the recession, when I made the jump to SEO (which is much, much cooler.)
Sometimes it's just meant to be! :)
Is it too weird to say my dog?
I grew up with a rottweiler puppy, we'd literally shared beds as kids. One day, we're at the beach doing beach stuff - stuffing sand down sleeping parents' pants, making shell necklaces etc.
Parents are still sleeping and I look out to the sea and think "I've got this", so run in and start swimming around. Tide picks up and things get a bit choppy and before I know it I'm pretty far out. Parents are still asleep.
Anyway, Cassie, the now fully grown adorable rottweiler dog, seems to spot my distress and starts bundling in a not so graceful way out to me. She's swimming towards me and catching up, but things go a bit dark after that.
Next thing I know I'm being carted off into an ambulance (or coast guard mobile?). Turns out I'd started to drown. Cassie the dog and caught up with me and dragged me half way back to the shore before my parents finally stirred from their alcohol induced slumber to realise what was going on.
Coastguard did the whole CPR bit - I then proceeded to have the biggest and longest crush on her for many years as a result - and later told me that Cassie kept on bumping into me to try and rouse me.
Been terrified of water and a huge dog fan ever since.
I bloody loved that dog.
Dogs > Cats (and here's the proof)
Wow. Thank you for sharing that. Incredible story and an amazing pup! My dog's a rottie mix and we love her dearly. Any photos to share?
I'll have to dig some up - so glad to hear you've got a rottie mix! Such loving big dogs.
Love reading folks' comments on this thread!
For me, it was Julie Wagemakers, who ran the communications department at a small nonprofit in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She gave me my first job when I returned back to the States from Peace Corps back in 2001.
She hired me to be their webmaster/publications designer even though I had no formal experience in either discipline. I was self-taught in both areas, had no idea how to use their software (something called "InDesign 1.0" - my experience was in PageMaker), and never had much talent as a designer, where I'm a hack at best.
I wouldn't be typing this right now if it weren't for Julie and the chance she took on me. It was a decent amount of risk, esp. for a small nonprofit right after the tech crash. But she did it anyway and I'll be forever grateful for her choice.
An SEO at WordStream took a chance on me. I was two weeks in as an intern, and then filled in his shoes soon after instead of taking another offer at a consulting firm with an extremely bureaucratic company culture, after being chosen over a friend who is now at iProspect doing PPC. As someone who's now looking for SEO interns, I realized that I wasn't a chance. I've gone through over 30 applications and people are either over-qualified, unmotivated, but mostly clueless on what they're getting into.
This thread wins for most inspirational discussion on Inbound to date.For me it was a quick-talking, innovative, and more than anything, hungry broker at Morgan Stanley named Jim Wiley. I was a sophomore in college working my first internship in finance for a long-time asset broker named Ned Saxman, when Jim asked if I'd like to help him figure out 'this email thing.' I had no technical chops, having only dabbled in Frontpage and MS paint, and was tasked with figuring out how to build a prospect database and create what would become the first HTML email to bare Morgan Stanley's logo. He stuck with me through countless failures (read receipts were the hot new email technology circa 2004), and I don't even know how many denials from the compliance department.
This chance gave me the experience and the confidence to pursue a career in finance and real estate, from which the frustration of dealing with red tape landed me in a position to start my first company in 2008. All thanks to Jim.
Distilled. Turning a naive enquiry into "can you build a website for me" into "ummm... I'm 16, can I spend some time with you guys in the summer". Got to work on real big clients and make a difference. Thank you Tom Critchlow in particular.Distilled, again. Producing one giant content piece with the linkbait guide and attaching their name to it was a big deal. For them to have the faith to attach their name to my work was huge leverage.
Rand and Dharmesh. And you guys. The chance to run a community like this. Insane...
University admissions (Fiddling around with businesses detracts from school work. Bristol definitely took a change on me given my predicted and actual grades. Whilst A grade, they're not the A* grade stuff they were looking for in the prospectus/offer. Having the time of my life :)
Mum. 'nuff said.
HubSpot took a chance on me. I had some inbound marketing experience, but I really wanted a job that didn't exist yet at HubSpot and wasn't a revenue-related position, which is a tough sell at a young startup like HubSpot in early 2009.
In the job interview I tried to convince them that they really should hire me as their first Community Manager instead of being a support rep on the phones (which is what the interview was supposed to be for), and that my diverse skillset would be a lot more applicable to a broad position with a lot of responsibility.
I must have sold it well in that support tech interview, because soon enough I was a 24 year old community manager at one of Boston's hottest startups. I wound up staying at HubSpot for three years in a wide variety of roles, but it all started because Brian Halligan and Jonah Lopin were willing to take a risk on me.
Incidentally, Brian's main advice to me after I was hired was just, "Don't fuck it up."
great thread! Nathan Safran took a chance on me as a research intern almost 2 years ago now, and he has the head of grey hair to prove it.
(Also have to include a shoutout to Seth Besmertnik, who personally followed up with me on LinkedIn even as a measly intern candidate.)
Coming from a public policy background with everything I knew about SEO learned in about a 3-day cram session, I wasn't exactly an ideal candidate on paper. Nathan saw past that to the point where I was hungry to learn and eager to take feedback, and the rest is history :)
I was about 20 years old, and was an unemployed concreter's labourer.
My brother talked me into going to interview for a job as a junior computer technician, at a store where he knew the manager. The pay would be lousy, the conditions worse etc, but I might learn a few things, you know?
I rock up for this interview, but completely by coincidence, the newly appointed general manager for this particular chain of computer stores turned up at the same time. When he realised that they were about to conduct a job interview, his desire to demonstrate to his staff that he was a decisive man of action got the better of him, and he began to conduct this job interview with me, straight off the cuff.
He asked me a bunch of questions about myself, and we kind of hit it off right away. After 20 minutes of chatting, he asked if I could start on Monday. Woot! I had the job. I found it odd he had not asked about my experience or skill levels of repairing computers, which was precisely none at all. But I figured he knew best, they'd give me the training I needed, and figured there wasn't much point volunteering this information. :)
Just as we were getting up and shaking hands, and I'm about to walk out the door, it occurs to him that he should ask what my experience is with repairing computers. I looked him in the eye, and said something pretty much like "I don't know anything about computers, Nic, but I learn very quickly!"
The look on his face was priceless!
In front of his staff he now looked like a complete wally, because he'd just hired some kid to repair computers who didn't know a hard disk from a floppy disk (yes, this was quite some years ago).
After a bit of stuttering, and looking very sheepish, he admitted that he couldn't just hire someone as a computer tech who didn't know anything about computers. But a flash of inspiration crossed his face, and then asked me if I was interested in working in sales.
I started working as a retail computer salesman the following week.
It's been a long journey with many twists and turns, but if it wasn't for my brother suggesting I show up for that interview, and for Nic's misplaced eagerness to show of in front of his staff, I might still be pouring concrete.
I went too long-winded for a comment, and actually wrote up my answer as a blog post. Jonathon - thank you so much for the opportunity to reflect and give thanks... this is a real treat both to read, and to think about, personally.
Looks like I can't make a hyperlink, but I put my answer online here: http://saralingafelter.com/who-took-a-chance-on-me/
Wow, what a great post, Sara -- thanks for sharing that with us!
I use to run many websites in my early days, that is how I got into SEO and I made a full time living doing that. The thing was running websites buying fancy cars and what not was fun but I decided to go and get a full time job in an SEO agency to put something on my Resume and also because my parents kind of pushed me to go and do that. Needless to say when I sent my resume to a few recruiters back in 2007 possibly like 5, no one really took a chance on me, people see a resume where some one has been running websites and doing affiliate marketing for 4 years and they do not give them a chance. Also back in 2007 in Australia the market was like some stone age style area where you have people with no idea at all. I was treated very rudely by a few recruiters who said I was quote "never going to get a job in a big agency" and another said "You are too much of an entrepreneur for any company to take on" I was thinking WTF do people even understand SEO?So I decided to bypass the recruiters and they were a complete waste of time and send my resume to 2 companies, first company said come in for an interview and they made me do a test ect ect, yet then they said I was too much of an entrepreneur. So I then went for an interview with another company, originally I have never heard of this company by after some background checks it was actually the biggest media buyer in Australia so they naturally had the biggest clients in Australia. I dealt with "Marcio" I went in for the interview and the company was really cool, this guy actually built his own sites in the past and could kind of relate to me as a person.
His questions were actually related to the job things like what SEO tools are you using? back in 2007 WEBCEO was pretty hot haha, also things like what link building strategy are you using, back in 2007 "like wheel strategies" were pretty decent too along with "social bookmarking" lol. So I showed him some results from personal sites traffic/ranks and pretty much after 30 minutes I was offered a job on the spot.So yeah I went on to start an SEO department in another section of the company (this company owned like 28+ other advertising companies in a massive holing company with billions) which now has 3 different offices and brings in millions in $$$.
For whatever reason, when I think about this from a career perspective, the first thing that comes to mind are the people who *didn't* take a chance on me, and how it either (A) motivated me to do it anyways or (B) saved my butt from a career path that would have made me miserable. Nothing motivates me like someone telling me I can't do it - I'm stubborn like that I guess.
The people that did take a chance on me:
My buddy in college who gave me a free hosting account through his hosting company so I could move my blog off of Blogspot. Within a 12 hour frenzy I had my first experience with hosting & servers, cPanel, Wordpress 1.5, WP theme development, and PHP. I think I finished up version 1.0 of my theme around 3 or 4am and skipped a couple classes the next day. Without that I'm not sure if I ever would have dropped the $8 a month to bother launching that first website. Keep in mind that $8 was an entire week's worth of beer in college...
My first in-house marketing gig that took me on after I showed them the traffic I was getting to my awful niche websites.
Every client that started working with me early on, even when I admitted I had no experience doing client work, and all of my experience was in-house at a small business and working on my own niche sites. My obnoxiously low rates at the time probably didn't hurt, either...
Every client who stuck through a slow month or two with us or a failed link building campaign because they were in it for the long-term, and gave us the time we needed to produce good results.
Many people in this industry who have become good friends in the past couple years simply because we geek out on the same stupid website and marketing topics.
Great things have small beginnings. Those early relationships with the guy who gave you access can cause huge ripples with gigantic impact downstream. And those early clients who pay for your services when you don't have a huge portfolio? Golden - that's so much trust. Do well by them and hopefully they'll stay with you forever. :)
I'm envious of people who have positive stories. Not wanting to bring the mood down, but the person who took a chance on me is a family member who I'm no longer on speaking terms with. Moral of the story: if yours was a positive experience, appreciate and be grateful for it (which is sounds like many of you do anyway)! :-)
For me, it was my boss who took a chance upon me. Though, I went to his company for ppc interview but he was not providing ppc services & asked me to enroll into SEO as a fresher. Well, first I was reluctant but thought that it would be awesome to grasp knowledge of both SEO & PPC. So, I started my SEO career from there on. Really, want to thanks that employer for giving me SEO.
My mentor from a previous job took a chance on me in a big way. She saw potential where no one else did and also recognized that I wasn't in the right position to do the best I could for the company. Thanks Candy! And thanks Jonathon for starting this conversation.
D'ohhh! I should have pointed out in the intro that Chris runs an awesome series called Mentor Stories that contains similar content: http://marketingchris.com/mentor-stories/
Thanks for the plug and thanks for being a part of that series of SEO superheroes :)
I graduated last May and like the many others in the huge pool of applicants for jobs, was looking for someone to take a chance on me. I came close every time and then was passed up for another candidate. It was such a hard process, until I emailed Blaire, who worked at a startup in DC about a Community Manager position. Unfortunately, the timing was off and she told me to email her a few months later again. The timing was then off again, but she still took an even bigger chance on me and passed along my interest to another startup, TrackMaven. We only corresponded through email and finally met after I got the job at TrackMaven, where she referred me to. The door wouldn't have opened without Blaire and I'm incredibly thankful that she took a chance on this recent grad who eagerly emailed her.
Mark Kennedy of SEOM Interactive in Philly took a chance on me. I had no clue what SEO was, didn't know what link building was, and I'm not even sure why he took a shot on me. I'm forever grateful as I wouldn't be where I am now without his guidance, support, and many hours teaching and investing in me. He and his team are very talented and produce results every month for their clients. He doesn't seek out much attention either but he is truly someone everyone here should get to know. I'm glad I did. Since then there's been others for sure, including Mike King who brought me on board at iAcquire. Very grateful to all of you.
This is awkward considering he just commented above me but Tom Harari took a chance on someone with little more than an ability to write, coming straight out of school.
Having majored in being semi-well educated and professionally poor (History/Poli Sci) I came out of college with no real prospects of what to do next. Law school was no longer a choice I wanted to explore and my Outward Bound days weren't paying back my college loans any faster.
I was lucky enough to have friends that were developing a web project that needed a copywriter. Tom happened to be the SEO helping our mutual friend so naturally we talked, a lot. And then some more. He took the time to explain this "SEO" thing and never doubted my abilities -- only offering words of encouragement. Most often this came in the form of, "you're a smart kid, you'll figure it out. I read, read, read some more and eventually landed an internship at a small company in Philly where I could test the things that I've read. From there I moved on to a bigger agency, again, thanks to Tom's continuous encouragement and him taking a chance by vouching for me at the agency. He took a chance on a kid fresh out of college with no prospects; whose life completely changed gears after discovering SEO. For that I am forever grateful. Not quite a fairy tale but I feel like I'm living the dream. Thanks Tom.
Quite a few people but I've hopefully repaid them all. And now I'm looking to do the same and give someone else a chance, giving them the chance they deserve.
Awesome - pay it forward!
Lindsay Wassell (@lindzie) took a chance on me when I was a grouchy (that part hasn't changed) developer who thought she was crazy asking for all these URL redirect and rewrites. She helped me to understand and eventually fall in love with SEO. She eventually left that job and became the Consulting Manager for SEOmoz, and helped me to get a job here as an SEO Consultant soon after.
Rand and Sarah Bird took huge chances on me when we decided to stop doing consulting at SEOmoz and focus on tools. I had lunch with Sarah and she asked what I wanted to do (my role was going away so I had to figure out my next steps) and I said I wanted to focus on and build up the community. Hot damn! I never imagined I would love it so much and be at a point where we have 4 full time people on the community team and several part time folks.
Thanks for starting this thread Jon, it's wonderful!
Wow, that's awesome. Thanks for adding to the discussion, Jen! And yes, Lindsay is great. I remember meeting with her waaaaaay back in the day re: consulting when I first started at REI. I biked up to the old office above the Elysian to learn more about these weird "link-building" and "content marketing" ideas. Lindsay was so TAGFEE, pointing out that our needs weren't a great match for what Moz provided for consulting at that time. I was blown away.
So glad that you stayed on with them and transitioned to the new role. You're a natural! And what a great community you've built. I love how small events and decisions have such big downstream effects. :)
Interesting conversation. Hollis Thomases @hollisthomases would be he person who gave me a chance. My first online marketing boss, back in 1998 !!
Hollis hired me as an intern in 1998 when she started Web Ad.vantage (as a digital ad company). We later blossomed WebAdvantage.net into a cutting edge SEO and paid SEM company, cutting my teeth on Yahoo, Altavista and Goto.com !
Wow! I was still a tech writer then and hadn't even heard of SEO. Good to you being ahead of the curve. And good to Hollis for taking a chance!
This might sound super cheesy, but the one person who took a giant leap of faith in me, was my wife. Let me explain...
We met in September 2005, and have been together ever since. But just a couple of weeks after we met, I started to have conversations with eBay International Marketing team to take on a new role in San Jose. Working in Amsterdam was great, but I always had the feeling there was more out there for me. Obviously I discussed this with my then girlfriend, who I was just with for a couple of weeks. She encouraged me to explore the opportunity more, and before I knew it, I got an offer to move to the US.
After a couple of conversations, she said she would join me for a couple of weeks if I would go, to see if everything would work out. later she explained me she just told me that to make sure I would follow my dream.
Long story short, I moved to the US in Feb 2006, just 4.5 months after we met. My wife came to visit me for a couple of weeks. The year 2006 became a real game changer, I moved countries, got a new job within eBay, with a double promotion, got married and got my daughter, all in one year.
You could say that she really gave me a chance, not only to explore new career opportunities, but also in our relationship!
That's not cheesy at all. Relationships are much more meaningful than just "work". And look at what a life you've built together since that initial choice. Congratulations on your newborn, BTW! :)
Tom Critchlow took a chance on me (second time he's listed here) along with Geraldine, Sarah, Rand, Aaron, Crissy, Jamie and my wife Dawn, who continues to take a chance on me daily.
My wife, too. The people who support us, care for us, and live with us take the biggest chances of all because there's no love without risk. :)
Professionally, Loren Baker and Greg Boser both took a chance on me at some point in my career. Loren took a chance in the beginning many, many years ago, before the whole BlueGlass thing and back when he was running a small boutique agency. I was doing my own marketing stuff on the side while in school, but didn't come from an agency or any kind of company. Just me, myself, and what I learned and experimented with. After much stalking because I really wanted the job, he decided to hire me and put me right in the ring, hands on, from day 1. He gave me the opportunity to build my team and wear many hats on the execution side while taking on as much as I could handle (which was a lot).
Greg took a chance on me a little ways into my career as well. When working with Loren, I had worked across many disciplines: link building, social media marketing, growing and building a traditional blogger and social media outreach team. I was ready to take the jump head first into the full strategic and technical side of things, which is where Greg took a chance and decided to spend his time teaching me.
Neither of them had any reason to, but they did. The examples from them both could go on for days, but taking those chances made the biggest impact on me personally and professionally.
After all of that stalking, how could I not? You were the first person I ever interviewed who brought in a Macbook and ran through your own sites analytics with me ... without even being asked.
Personally, my fiance has taken a chance on me. I pretty much uprooted our lives after buying a place in Florida to come out to Los Angeles and follow my dreams, and he fully trusted my instincts and judgement, even in the face of uncertainty. Jonathon was right, that the people who support, care and live with us take the biggest chance, because love is a very intangible thing with very real sacrifices and trust.
Did Shane @world_famous just hijack your computer?
My husband- Paul met a young girl that had not had a happy childhood and had not a lot to live for and decided someone should take care of me and make me happy. He has given me everything. 25 years of safety, love, 2 sons and happiness. He appreciates my geekiness and spoils me rotten. I am totally in love with the guy; so happy he took a chance.
Loren Baker pulled me out of the full-time client world (thank you) and let me be the editor at Search Engine Journal. That was an awesome experience and has paid off in an amazing amount of ways.
Bruce Clay: I've written about this before [voiceinterrupted.com/moments-of-consequence] but Bruce Clay took a huge chance on me. Hiring me despite disability and then trusting me to become the unofficial voice of the brand through the blog. He had absolutely no reason to hire an unknown and let them loose on the company blog, but he did. He trusted my voice, gave me a platform and ultimately changed my life. Without his guidance, I never would have found this industry or fallen in love with it.
Michael Gray: Without Michael's pushing, I wouldn't have taken many of the chances I did in my career or seen the opportunities available for my voice to shine. Behind the scenes, and in front of them, he was my biggest advocate early on in my career. He saw something in my voice and dared me to use it.
I owe my career to both.
A long ago manager. I'd been working at a company for a long time, and I was bored out of my mind. Doing an average job and making an average salary with an occasional average bonus. Mostly just staying for the stability, but I was really just in a rut. The company CEO didn't like me, made it clear he didn't like me, but I bought and sold too much computer equipment to justify firing me. Bleah. Anyway, he hired a new guy to come in and run the place, and I figured it was like all the other managers I'd outlasted, but after about a month the new guy (Daryl) plopped down in my office and said I was really smart, and I could really do good things, but I wasn't failing enough or making any mistakes. Which means I wasn't taking enough risks. Which means I'd never do a bad deal, but I'd also never do a really good one.
Basically he gave me permission to fail, saying he'd never fire someone for making an honest mistake, but he'd have my head on a platter if I ever made the same mistake twice. Because after studying me for a while, he was pretty sure I'd do okay.
It was like chains falling off. I never made so much money in my life as I did that first year (in fact, the company had to restructure the bonus program because I made so much more money than they ever anticipated having to give out to a mere employee) It also made my job a ton more interesting, and gave me a swift kick in the pants. Probably the single more significant moment in my working life, definitely gave me the confidence to do a lot of what I've done since - some of which hasn't worked out, and some of which has worked spectacularly.
This is awesome. Having challenges and the audacity to go after them with "permission" to fial reminds me of Brad Feld's post about becoming the CEO of your job: http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2010/02/be-the-ceo-of-your-job.html
Yep I had the same kind of deal, when I asked one day what my Job title was, I was told "grenade thrower" I was left to run with any Idea and allowed to make mistakes.
After the real estate bubble burst, my one time aspirations to be a real estate attorney were dashed and I was looking to get into a different industry with much more potential for success. I happened to get an interview with Arnie & Andi Kuenn at Vertical Measures (as well as Patty Adams). With 0 experience in marketing, but a quick wit and affinity for detail-oriented tasks, all three decided to hire me as employee #4 or #5 (can't remember exactly) at Vertical Measures. I've been working in SEO since then, roughly 5 years ago, and have come into my own. Not only has this industry helped me to find my true passion and calling, but I've met amazing people and have grown both professional and personally through the tutelage of my colleagues at Vertical Measures. They certainly took a chance on this Montana native and I'm very thankful to Arnie, Andi and Patty.
Great thread guys...wish I wasn't on my phone but I wanted to share my thank you blog post I wrote about 5 years ago to my old bosses - http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/thank-someone-who-gave-you-a-hand-up-day sometimes I think holy crap my life would be on completely different trajectory if it wasn't for them. Forever grateful.
Bas van den Beld, when he let me blog on Searchcowboys way back in 2007. I was a total unknown with almost no proven blogging experience. He took a chance on me, and I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him.
Two men named Bryan Fikes and Eric Van Cleave at Zenergy Works. I had been unemployed for probably a year and a half. I'd quit so many jobs because they didn't sit well with me. I had been doing IM for about a year and Panda hit, wiping all my thin sites and taking my monthly net to unsustainable--The kind of "SEO" I was doing was very basic. I needed another source of income.
I applied for a job that I had to interview for three different times over the span of about 3-4 months. I had been offered a job but it was pending. I had forgotten about it. Then, driving to interview at yet another job I knew I'd probably quit in 3-4 months time, I got a call from Bryan asking if I wanted to come in again and talk, that they needed me to start ASAP, within the next couple of days. I accepted.
They took a chance on a late 20s something that hadn't held any job for more than 4 months, that had only dipped his toes in real SEO, dabbled in HTML and CSS (at least I was able to make it look like I had), and they let me work from home. Because of that opportunity, I have had the chance to work in many successful SEO ventures. I was introduced to whitehat SEO. I was able to learn the inner-workings of agency-side. I was given manager responsibilities. I was given the opportunity to do above and beyond what I was hired for and gained confidence in my SEO knowledge and ability.
Thank you Bryan and Eric!
Glad you posted this, I need to be reminded of things like this. I was hired by a guy called Larry Serlo to liquidate a lot of stuff on eBay that had accumulated over the years from his online stores. Over time I became more and more involved in all other aspects of the business, he allowed me to run with my ideas and invest time in them, something I had never had the luxury of doing till then. Because of this I am were I am today Thanks Larry
Was randomly browsing through this, and what a great thread. Actually, I have a lot in common with Ed (minus the whole child prodigy thing..), but I started at Distilled when Ed was brought on for his internship. So, I'd like to publicly thank Tom Critchlow and Duncan Morris (Distilled) for taking me onboard. Tom had a way of picking everything apart, making you work extra hard but also making you 100x better at your job. If you ever read this Tom & D, thank you.
Wow, I'm late to this but I'll chime in anyway. My bosses, Jon and Zach Ball, definitely took a chance on me. They've taken multiple chances on me. Sean Revell definitely took a chance on my when he let me write a dumb little post for the site with the 0s and 1s, and that opened a few more doors and made me some friends. So in the SEO/internet marketing world, those are the people who first took a chance on me. Other people have too, but those 3 people got the ball rolling.
I was hired as an intern at my local newspaper when I had no job post-high school and no college career in my future. There I was surrounded by a ton of super smart, college-educated folks (odd then in my somewhat rural hometown) who helped me think about my future. I did things that year like learning how to drive, discovering yoga, learning CSS, evading corporate dress codes, and knowing I didn't want to be a journalist. I probably needed therapy for all the things that landed me in the no job, no college path, but instead I wrote obituaries, interviewed politicians, and just got to be.
I love this. You can't spell "become" without "be". And surrounding yourself with people who challenge and teach you sounds like a great environment to become who you are. Would love to see a blog post from you about this period in your life. :)
I've tried to write about it, but it hasn't come out quite right. When I look back, it seems like a simple time as I didn't have a lot of responsibilities or things to do beyond show up for work. But there was actually a lot of emotional complexity. We'll see. I'm sure it will all come out some day. :)
There are three people who instantly come to my mind.
The first is the guy who was my first boss, Tim Peters (Director of Strategic Development at CollegePlus). I applied for an internship when I was 17 - fresh out of high school with very little real job experience. I had lots of interest and drive, but not a lot of experience. It was not the norm for them to hire someone under 18, but he took that chance, and then invested heavily in me throughout my internship. That's what first got me into internet marketing.
The second is my current boss, Tom Bruce (at Conversion Path). It was his first hire in a company that was only months old, and it would've been easy to pick someone who was a little older than 20 (at the time), someone with more startup experience, etc. But he took the chance and gave me the opportunity to dig in, learn, and grow significantly.
The third is David Angotti (Cofounder at SmokyMountains.com). He didn't take a chance by hiring me, but he took a chance with his time - he's been a significant mentor and resource over the past ~4 years and has helped advise me through several career/education choices.
I'm definitely grateful to all of these guys for taking a chance on me and investing in my life. I wouldn't be where I am now without them.