This is a summary of “A Tale of Two Companies” – a live Google Hangout between Sanjeev Agrawal, Founder/CEO of Collegefeed and Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management for at Google. Sanjeev was formerly Head of Product Marketing at Google, and CEO of Aloqa (acquired by Motorola). Rajen is widely known as “The Father of Google Apps” for pioneering the use of Gmail in the Enterprise, which eventually lead to Google Apps. Started by Google / Stanford / MIT Alums, Collegefeed helps college students find their dream job or internship by connecting them to employers that fit their interests and skills.
Rajen’s List of “7 things I Know Now That I Wish I Knew In College”:
Write your own definition of success.
Define success in your own terms based on your values and how you want to live your life. Any definition of success is valid. Do not let society or media influence your definition of success. If you think in terms of football, it is as valid to say, “I’m going to run towards the sideline” as much as it is to say, “I’m going to run towards the end zone.” Think about the question “What is success for me?” and then actively work towards it. As your values and beliefs in life change, your definition of success will also change.
Each definition, even the “traditional” ones have tradeoffs.
No matter what you do there will be some trade-offs that you will need to make and understanding these trade-offs early on is important. Some people go into political activism or non-profit or technology and all these are valid roles, but every single one has trade-offs. In college, a trade-off for working really hard means having less fun and fewer parties, and at work it might mean less family time. When making a decision, always be aware of the trade-offs you’re going to have to make to achieve your goal.
Take risks early and often–a career is a progression.
In college, the common belief is that you need more experience before you can start your own company, but in fact it is a lot easier to take risks when you are young. You have more room to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes early on in life. As Rajen mentioned, “I wish I had just dived into starting my own company as soon as I graduated.”
Passion is more important than perception.
As much as resumes and jobs are important, the bigger question is–how is your work making the world a better place? Always keep that in perspective when making key decisions such as What company should I work for? What role should I take? Should I start my own company? Think about what kind of problems you will be solving and how that will impact the world around you.
Search beyond your college career center when looking for jobs.
Career center is an incredible resource to use, but looking beyond it and understanding what else is happening around the world is important. There might be smaller ventures out there that simply don’t have the resources to reach to all career centers. Do your research–use all the resources you have beyond the college career center.
Build and leverage your network.
This is often the hardest, but most important thing to do. Companies don’t hire people, people do. So it’s very important to be aware of what’s happening around you, meet new people, and make connections. Always be curious to know what people are up to and how you can help out. It doesn’t cost a thing and you never know how it (and when it) can pay off. Building a network is the single most important thing you can do while you’re in college.
Keep learning and refining as you go along.
Most people don’t have the vision for what they would like to be 20 years from now. As Steve Jobs once said, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backward,” don’t worry too much about the future–figure out your next step and focus on that. As long as it’s something you love, are passionate about, and you understand the trade-offs, you’re good. Keep learning as you go through the journey!
Repost from College Cures