A lot of advice on Twitter is of the ‘Linkedin agree’ variety rather than something that teaches you anything new. They draw likes, but lack nuance.

Let’s take internships.

If you are a CS undergrad student and can pick up solidity or rust, you can make a full time dev’s salary in India working on smart contracts for some web3 company in parallel to college.

But what if you are non CS, don’t want to learn coding, but want exposure to web3?

If I was Manas from 2010, I would do whatever it takes to get in. Remember proximity is power. You can’t do anything if you are not in the arena. So get into it.If I could get a paid internship, and had any skill to get paid for, I would obviously fight for a good stipend. But if I did not get one, I would still want in. It is a marketplace after all.I still remember Shaan Puri being mercilessly mocked on Twitter for offering some 500$/ month to create memes for him;’Hahahaha why are you paying so low, Who will do this for you, This is less than minimum wage’. The point that people missed is that if you get access to Shaan Puri, you get access to his entire portfolio of projects. And his network. It is far more valuable than the actual wage you would get for an internship making memes. If I was a smart college student with hustle, but without any skill other than making memes, I would definitely have applied. And yes, I understand that if you could make a cool 100k working as a college intern starting out in web3, you would not do this. But not everyone is a topwit like you.

Forget college students, if I could learn the art of venture capital from Bill Gurley, I would drop everything and become an unpaid intern under him. His time and teachings will be more valuable than anything I bring to the table. And if I was a smart dev in the valley who wanted to get access to Elad Gil I would 100% help him move his site away from blogger, create a newsletter for him, and get him his SSL certificate. Do this for free. If that would get me access to him.

Why? Proximity. That’s why.

But most people won’t grasp this idea because we are too indoctrined with dumb Linkedin style gyaan about what internships mean. I took a pay of 8K/ month from Redbus and worked as their Sales, Marketing, BD person in the north east as a 3rd year intern. I knew that in the long run I would not be a dev, so I tried to learn everything that was complimentary.

Redbus intern sales message (Proof of work above.)

My other CS batchmates were making at least triple the amount. I was underpaid. Maybe. But why would anyone give a 3rd year student the responsibilities that I got? I had no prior experience in these domains. And other interns who worked on the same things were IIM interns. I outworked everyone. As an intern. Slogged my ass off in the summer heat and doubled the number of partnerships that Redbus had in the region. In just 2.5 months. I think they had 5 agencies they worked with, I added another 5 by the end of it. The screenshot is the GM for East zone sending an email to the CEO of Redbus. I knew I was good at something. After getting C/Ds in my Computer Science undergrad courses, I got a chance to redeem myself. If I wanted I could have got a full time job. If I wanted funding for my startup, I could have mailed the CEO Phani. I had access to his email now. And got access to other people through his network. (I never built a relationship with Phani though. That mail was my only interaction. Think he sold Redbus soon after.)

Jack Dorsey talks about a startup having multiple founding moments. I think it is the same for our personal and professional lives. There is no one big moment that helps us get where we are (for me middle management lol), but there are many. Interning at Redbus was one for me. I don’t regret getting underpaid. Maybe I would have done it for free. Same with my first job as a PM where I knew I was not getting paid the industry standard PM salary. But in 2013, dumbass 6 pointers without an MBA and with just 1.5 years of developer experience, did not become a PM too.

The CEO was taking a bet on me. I was no one. Arguing about salary would have been dumb without proof of work. What did I do? Proved my worth and doubled my salary in 6 months. The CEO did it happily knowing my value. The full story is for another day.

The world is a marketplace. We trade our skills for something. That something can be money, access or knowledge. So think deeply on this topic and not just ‘Agree’.

Caveat: My views will ofcourse be biased. How I view the world is based on my own personal experiences. Take this as my view on the topic of internships.You don’t have to agree to it.