I was talking to a friend who was worried about pitching to a crypto startup. He told me about feeling imposter syndrome. He was arguing to himself against applying. His point was that most crypto startups hire builders while he is a PM. Why would anyone in web3 hire him. What value can he add? My argument was “How many people have worked at a startup at scale and one that has been invested by Google?” The value he will add as someone who helped a startup scale is unparalleled. The startup he worked at is known by everyone in India. And for web3 startups it is always a positive story if they can hire more builders who have moved from web2; it further validates their hypotheses that what they are working on is actually the future.
I can understand where he is coming from. We are the stories we tell others, and most of all ourselves. For the longest period of time, I was a master of telling failure stories. Then one day I was chatting with my manager here at Gojek and he told me that he hires people who have had a growth trajectory; he was impressed with how I started with CouponDunia and every role and company I joined subsequently was a step up. I was surprised. In my head most of the products I worked at previously did not even have 10% of the scale of Gojek. I actually pitied myself for always choosing the “wrong companies.” If only I had done X vs Y was a constant thought in my head.
So I changed the frame with which how I looked at my past.
All of the things mentioned below are true, but the stories are different.
“I worked for the biggest loyalty startup in India that was acquired by Times Internet; I built a new business line for them that scaled to 25% of their revenue within a year of launch.”
“Aah, No one remember CouponDunia anymore. Who cares what I did.”
“I was the Product Owner of both Android and iOS mobile apps at Craftsvilla, a USD200M e-commerce company funded by global investors such as Sequoia, Lightspeed, and Nexus Venture Partners.”
“Craftsvilla never lived up to its potential.”
“I worked for a bootstrapped unicorn that has run and sold multiple successful product lines; combined sum of a few of them sold exceeds 1B; the product suite that I worked on (has since pivoted) and is now worth multiple hundred millions.”
“Flock did not become as big as Slack, maybe I was better of choosing company X instead of Directi.”
Tell the better story to yourself. It will not just define who you are, but also who you become.