How I got fired from my dream job — and what I learned

Tucker Max fired me, two days before Christmas.

I was the first full-time employee at his new startup, Book In A Box. I quit my corporate job, and moved to Austin, Texas, at the start of 2015. I lived there for three months and then came back to the UK and worked remotely from home.

The role was everything I’d wanted in a job for years. I escaped the prison of dull, unfulfilling corporate life and leapt into a fast-paced startup, working in a niche that I loved, not having to be at the office at any given time, free to work when and where I wanted. And I was working for someone that I had followed and looked up to for nearly a decade.

In the 12 months I was at Book In A Box, I helped grow the company from 3 people to 9 people, and from $50k per month to $400k per month in revenue. I worked with authors from all over the world, helping them to publish their books and share their wisdom with the world. I met some fantastic people, and had some amazing experiences.

And then I was fired.

And it was all my fault.

I want to preface this by saying that Tucker and his co-founder Zach are great people, and I have no bad feelings towards them at all. We’re still on good terms, and they were 100% right to fire me. In fact, their biggest mistake was not doing it sooner.

So why was I fired?

The easy answer is to say that I was fired for performance — or, rather, lack of it. I wasn’t doing a good enough job, so I was fired.

But that’s not a complete answer. WHY wasn’t I doing a good enough job? What caused me to fail so badly, when I should have wanted to succeed more than anything?

I’ve thought about it a lot, and now I need to write about it. I need to unpack all of my issues, assumptions, biases and irrational behaviour. I’ll warn you now — this post is long, and quite self-indulgent, but I hope it will help me deal with these issues, and stop others from falling into the same traps.

It’s painful to write about it, because it’s painful to document all the different ways in which I screwed up. To write, in detail, about how I failed. But I need to do it anyway.

What it boils down to is this:

I was working remotely, in a job I didn’t like doing. Combined, these two things led to chronic, debilitating procrastination, and I would put off work for hours (or even days), and as a result, didn’t get enough done.

That’s the crux of the matter — but again, we need to go a layer deeper than this. Why didn’t I like the job I was doing, and why did I choose to procrastinate so much?

To start with, let’s look at exactly what my job was.

My role: Publishing Manager

Book In A Box helps people write and publish their own book. Our clients were typically CEOs, entrepreneurs, speakers and consultants, who were publishing their book to establish their authority in their niche, build their personal brand, and act as a lead gen tool for their business.

As Publishing Manager, I managed their whole project from start to finish. I was the client’s main point of contact throughout the whole process, and talk them through every step of the way.

That sounds straightforward — but in that description are the seeds of my downfall, namely:

  1. I was the main point of contact for all our clients — so I spent a large part of my day answering emails and on the phone, in responsive mode rather than actively creating things.
  2. I was the main point of contact for all our clients — so if they had problems, they came to me, and I had to deal with them and solve them.
  3. I was the main point of contact for ALL our clients — I was the only one doing this job, and the only person at Book In A Box that our clients would interact with for long periods of time.

These attributes of the job, by themselves, aren’t bad. In fact, for some people, this job description sounds amazing. But not for me. They combined with some of my own personal issues to create real issues in my job. Issues like:


1. I don’t like working remotely, especially with a big time difference.

This is actually a fairly simple issue. I’ve often struggled to create routines and structure for myself — I’ve failed when I’ve tried to pick up habits like exercising regularly, meditating, dieting, and the like. So for me, the structure that comes with a 9-5 office job is actually a good thing, as it forces me to get up at a reasonable hour, go to an office with other people, sit down at a desk, and work for a good number of hours. It forces me to be accountable.

When I started working remotely, I loved it at first — I could go to the gym at 11am when it was quiet, or go to the driving range mid-afternoon and hit some balls — but I quickly realised I wasn’t actually getting much work done.

To try and impose some discipline on myself, I rented some office space, and would go there every day. But with the rest of my company, and most of my clients, asleep until about 1pm UK time, I would usually sleep in. I might go to the gym first thing, and get to the office around 10am, where I’d basically browse Reddit and listen to podcasts until about 1pm, when everyone would wake up and start posting on Slack, which is when I’d get to work. I would also finish working around 6pm, when my girlfriend got home from work. I was basically working 5 hours a day.

In many jobs, this would be enough to get everything done. But in a fast-growing startup. I was struggling to keep up, because it just  wasn’t enough time to get all my work done.

The other issue is that working remotely is lonely, especially when most of your company isn’t awake until halfway through your working day. There’s a lot less banter and talk between colleagues, even with tools like Slack. Some people don’t need that interaction, and like the peace and quiet that comes from working at home. I’m not one of those people. I’m naturally an extrovert, and I need the daily interaction and the energy it gives me. There’s no substitute for having people sat next to you that you can talk to, or having your colleagues sat next to you working hard, and making you feel like you should be doing the same.

And when you’re working remotely, it’s a lot easier to ignore a problem. I didn’t take ownership for the issues that I noticed or that were under my control. In fact, I didn’t take ownership for myself: for my own productivity and work habits. I let myself be a victim to my circumstances, instead of doing the hard work to fix it.


2. I am too eager to please people, and I don’t like confrontation.

I said that a big part of my job was solving issues for our clients. Unfortunately, these problems were sometimes partly out of my control — for example, if we were waiting on some book cover designers from a freelance designer. I was usually too eager to please the client, so I’d give them unrealistically short timeframes for when we’d have the designs back. That date would come and go, and the client would follow up with me, annoyed.

Rather than deal with that issue, I’d just ignore it, and not answer their email. This happened multiple times, and as you can imagine, this is really bad customer service. But seeing as though I was the client’s only point of contact, there was no-one for them to complain to–so I could get away with it. At least for awhile.

I was struggling to keep up, because the company was growing so fast, and I was the only one dealing with all of our clients. We could have hired more people to help me. But I didn’t say anything to Tucker or Zach about it for a long time, for a couple of reasons:

  1. I felt guilty about not working hard enough, because I knew the problem was partly my fault; and
  2. I didn’t want to complain and make it sound like I was causing problems. I was too eager to keep them happy, and just decided to suffer in silence, rather than raise the issue and have a difficult conversation (for me) about how to solve the problem.

This actually had a really harmful effect: I kept expecting to be “found out”, so I would put off opening up my emails or Slack in the morning, because I was always convinced that today would be the day someone would realise I suck at my job, and there’d be an angry message waiting for me, telling me how bad I was.

And this anxiety meant that I dreaded opening up my laptop every day. I buried my head in the sand, and refused to face the issue. Which, of course, only made things worse.


3. I am sometimes humble — to a fault.

I’m a smart guy, but I’m well aware that I don’t have the answer to everything. And having followed Tucker’s career and looked up to him for a long time, I knew he was extremely smart, and a good entrepreneur. But I looked up to him too much, and often substituted his judgement for my own.

I remember one occasion where we were talking about when we’d need to hire someone else to do the same thing as me — how many clients we’d need to get before I would reach breaking point. I thought the answer would be about 50. Tucker thought it was more like 100.

What I should have said was:

“Tucker, I think you’re wrong — here are the issues with what your estimate, and here’s why my answer is more likely to be right — and if I do need to be able to handle 100 clients, here are the problems we need to solve to get there.”

What I actually said was…nothing.

Instead, I thought to myself, “OK, Tucker’s smarter than me, so he must be right about this — even though I’m the only one doing this job and have a lot more information about it than he does, and he has a habit of anchoring to high expectations. He’s probably right.”

I doubted myself too much, and looked up to Tucker too much to question his judgement. So I didn’t step up to the plate and deal with the issue.

Again, I also felt guilty about not working enough, and thought, “Well, if I just work harder, I’ll be able to solve this problem.” And I didn’t want to face the issue, and couldn’t deal with the confrontation.


4. I liked the status of what I was doing more than I actually liked doing it

So with all of these issues, why didn’t I just quit? Why not just say “You know what? Good luck in the future, and I hope you all do really well, but this job just isn’t for me.”?

Well, partly because that means admitting the problem and dealing with it, rather than ignoring it.  But there were two other reasons that stopped me.

First, I liked the status of the job. It’s fun to be able to have conversations like this:

Me: “I work for a startup founded by a NYT best-selling author. I was employee #1 and flew out to Austin for a few months to help them get the company off the ground. I’m going to our next quarterly meeting in Las Vegas next week — we went to New York in the summer, but there’s a couple of conferences in Vegas that we want to go to this time round. I used to work a corporate job, but it was just too dull, I had to go and do something exciting!”

Friend: “Wow, that’s so cool! I wish I could do that!”

Me: “Well, I had to work hard and hustle to get this job, but I’m so glad I did, I could never go back to being a corporate drone again.”

Those conversations, and the looks of envy that they generate, are addictive. It feels great to say things like that about yourself, and have people think more of you. Even if it’s just a facade, and the reality is that you’re anxious, miserable, and don’t ever wake up actually WANTING to work.

The second reason was that I really like Tucker. I really like Zach. And I really like Book In A Box. They are great guys, running a great company, with fantastic people, and it will be a huge success. And even if it’s not, I had a blast with them and the rest of the Book In A Box team, hanging out at our quarterly meetings in Austin, NYC and Las Vegas, drinking amazing wine and eating incredible food, having great conversations, and all helping each other improve personally and professionally. I LOVED all that.

I just hated the work I had to do for the actual job.

But admitting that might mean jeopardising my place in the team — and it’s a hard problem to face, and I don’t like confrontation, and I just wanted to please them, and it’s always easier to avoid issues when your co-workers are thousands of miles away.

So I ignored it.


The Culmination

You see how these all add up? There’s a lollapalooza effect of multiple issues here, creating a perfect storm that led to chronic procrastination, and a general inability to actually do work beyond that which is immediately necessary to prevent getting fired (in the short-term at least).

But it wasn’t enough.

I actually recognised and started to face a lot of these issues in mid-December, when I started having daily and weekly check-in calls with one of my co-workers, Kevin. I started to tackle them and make progress, but it was too little, too late.

By that point, I’d been underperforming for months, and Tucker and Zach had to take the decision to let me go, to protect the rest of the company. That was 100% the right decision — and like I said, they probably should have done it 2-3 months sooner than that.

I don’t begrudge them at all. I still had a lot of fun times working for Book In A Box, and learned a ton about writing, publishing, marketing, running a small business, customer service, project management, process improvement and about 6 other things. But here are the main lessons I take from this experience.


What I learned from my time at Book In A Box


1. I need to take extreme ownership

Ironically I got this from a book that Tucker recommended to me, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. You can listen to a podcast he did with Tim Ferriss here too.

The idea is this: everything, absolutely everything, is down to you. Willink uses the example of a platoon commander. Obviously things like his orders to his men, and the tactics he uses on the battlefield, are the responsibility of the platoon commander. But if his CO doesn’t give him the equipment he needs, then what can he do? That’s outside of his control, right?

Wrong. It’s the platoon commander’s responsibility to effectively communicate to his CO what he needs, why he needs it, and what the consequences are if he doesn’t get it. And if he still doesn’t get it, then that’s his fault, because he didn’t sufficiently communicate that need.

It was my job to do my job — but it was also my job to tell everyone else what I needed, how I was doing, what problems I was having, and ask for help to solve them. So if I was struggling to keep up, I needed to own it and make that clear. If I thought a process needed to be changed, even if I couldn’t do it myself, I needed to speak up. That was all my responsibility, and I didn’t do it. And that’s especially true in a startup, where you need to be able to operate under uncertainty, and iterate your way towards solving problems. Ignoring it and hoping that someone else will tell you what to do is a recipe for failure.


2. I need to be around people who will challenge me

I actually spent the first three months of my time at Book In A Box living with Zach in Austin, on the same street as Tucker. We spent a lot of time together, and I drastically improved professionally and personally — I picked up the job quickly, I became a lot more effective, and I also lost 20 lbs and got in great shape.

It’s not a coincidence that all that happened at once (while NOT working remotely). That’s the power of being around people who challenge you. Not just associating with them, or talking to them via email, Skype, or Slack, but PHYSICALLY being around them. Eating dinner with them. Going to meetings. Sat at a desk across from them.

I know I should not work remotely (at least not full-time). I know for a fact that my next job needs to be in an environment where I am around other great people: role models, mentors, friends, and people who will challenge me and push me to be better. Not that they’ll do the hard work for me, but they’ll a) support me and motivate me and b) call me on my bullshit and make me realise when I’m not facing up to issues.


3. I am actually pretty smart, but that’s nothing without action

I actually recognised a lot of these issues in myself as they were happening. I knew what I needed to do to fix them. But I knew that it would be hard. And I didn’t think I needed to do it immediately.

So I put it off, and didn’t do it. Which is why I got fired.

This also happened with business issues. I would spot a problem, and think through a solution. I would think up the 5-6 steps I’d need to take to implement that solution, and solve the problem. Then I would congratulate myself on being smart enough to recognise a problem and think up a solution.

The missing piece, of course, was actually taking any action.

Tucker or Zach would often come to me later and say, “Hey — I’ve noticed this problem. Here’s a good solution though. Can you get that done?” It was often the same problem and solution I’d spotted myself, but hadn’t done anything about. Which meant that I started to get a reputation at someone who couldn’t really see things through, and get things done.

At the time I thought that was a bit unfair, but it’s 100% correct. Thinking through a problem is great, but the perfect solution you don’t implement is exactly the same as no solution at all.


4. All of these issues stem from a deep, deep fear of success

These other problems — failure to take ownership, the need to be around other people who will push me, and my failure to take action and solve problems — reflect one underlying condition: my deep, deep fear of success.

On the surface, fear of success sounds ridiculous. Think of the words that you associate with success: wealth, prestige, power, fame, accomplishments, satisfaction. All those words sound pretty great, right? Who on earth is afraid of success?

I am. I’m terrified of it.

I’m scared that I’ll get to the top of the mountain and all of a sudden, people won’t like me.

My parents won’t like me because I’ll have more money than they do. My girlfriend won’t like me because success will somehow change me. My friends won’t like me because they won’t be able to relate to me any more. Strangers won’t like me because they’ll resent my accomplishments.

I’m also scared that everyone I know and love won’t understand me any more.

When you’re talking to family or friends about your work, how many people say things like this:

  • “Can’t complain!”
  • “Same old, same old — boring, but I’m getting paid well.”
  • “It’s pretty easy, I honestly don’t know how I haven’t been fired yet!”

I’d guess it’s greater than 90% (at least for me). This is especially true in middle-class England, where we’re all humble, quiet, understated, and generally don’t like to make too much of a fuss.

Which means that if I succeed — if I even START to do the work I need to do to get to where I want to be — I know that I’ll be an outlier. Some people will judge me for that. Some people will criticise me. And some people won’t ever understand me.

That’s terrifying. And it’s exhausting, too. At first, it’s fun to be unconventional and get those envious looks, but when you’re faced with the difficult reality of the work it takes to be different, and the energy you need to keep going with it, it’s so much easier just to give up.

I remember when I first quit my old job to go work for Book In A Box, and someone very close to me said, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to being an accountant.”

That was one of the first things they said to me. Of course they were supportive as well, but that support was diluted by the constant reminder that it would be easier to fail, and go back to my rightful place.

Of course, it’s much better to fail now, early on, than it is to get to the top, and then fail.

Because that’s the other big fear. That I’ll achieve success, but won’t be able to cope with it, so I’ll fall back down to Earth. I don’t have faith in my ability to stay at the top once I get there. I’m afraid that I’d get everything I ever wanted — and then I’d lose it all again, and there’d be no-one to blame but me.

Then I’d have suffered the hard work, odd looks, and the long periods of not being understood, and it would all be for nothing.

I wouldn’t even have my comforting self-image of being destined for great things. If I try and fail, then I have to discard that. Then I’ll have nothing left but the voices in my head that say “I told you you would fail”, and dreams of what might have been.

Honestly, as much as it sucks to be fired, I’m still more afraid of what it takes to succeed.


The Aftermath

When I got fired, at first I was relieved. No more stress. No more anxiety.

Then I was angry, at myself. I had an incredible opportunity, and I wasted it.

Finally, over time, I accepted what had happened.

On reflection, I’m glad for the whole experience. I realised some deep issues about myself that I need to solve if I’m going to achieve what I want to achieve. It’s been 3 months since I got fired, and I haven’t solved all of these issues yet. But now I’m aware of them, I’ve accepted them, and I’m dealing with them — and I’m a better man for that.

Thanks to Kevin Espiritu, Zach Obront and Tucker Max for their feedback on early drafts of this post.

How to instantly make your writing better

There’s one trick to great writing that you’re almost certainly not using. And it’s really, really simple.

You ready for it?

Read everything you write, out loud.

You’ll feel stupid and self-conscious at first. Do it anyway. Push through. Don’t just read it under your breath. You have to literally verbalise every single word, from start to finish.

If you do that, you will instantly notice:

  • awkwardly-worded phrases
  • unnecessary repetition
  • spelling and grammar mistakes
  • boring, run-on sentences that never seem to end, even when you think they should, but instead you just keep using comma, after comma, after comma, until you fall asleep

I know multiple best-selling authors that use this trick. It’s why, if you’re writing a book, you should always produce an audiobook as well — not because the audiobook will sell a ton of copies, but because being forced to sit down and read your book out loud will make it at least 10% better, and often 40-50% better.

In fact, one writer I know who has worked on multiple books, screenplays, magazine articles and more — he’s a complete rockstar — told me he never submits anything without reading it out loud first. Not a manuscript, not an article, not even a tweet or an email. He reads literally everything out loud. And it’s a big part of the reason why he’s now a professional.

Sure, it takes time. It’s much easier to skip this step. Which is why doing it is valuable.

On reading and progress

Ilan Bouchard has a great post up at his personal blog called On Reading and Progress.

I never read anymore without a pen and highlighter. I highlight passages that stand out and scribble notes in the margins; when I finish a book, I set it aside for a month or two. Then I return to it and transcribe all the highlighted passages and notes into a word document, marking their page numbers. This allows me to review the book and fixes its main concepts in my mind. If I want to review a quote, I can search within the word document for a few words or phrases from the passage, and jump directly to the quote in question, even if I can’t remember who wrote it or which book it came from.

I can’t stress how much doing exactly this has helped me. I’ve only done this with maybe 15 books since I started doing it a few months ago, but it’s already helped me massively. If you want to do the same, here’s some great resources:

These are more for learning on your own time, and if you want something a little more structured, MIT’s Open Courseware is awesome as well. They have lecture notes and presentations and recommended textbooks for all the courses that MIT offer, for free. It’s fantastic.

My top 3 blogs

On the main page of this site is a list of blogs and websites that I read on a regular basis (in fact I subscribe to them all via RSS and read them in Google Reader). I’d recommend all of them, but thse are the three that I think are the best.

Ryan Holiday

I’ve written about Ryan a couple of times before, but his site is fantastic. Ryan is PR director for Rudius Media and also does work for a big Hollywood management company and the author Robert Greene, among others. Aside from the huge fact that his site is the inspiration for mine, the guy works for Tucker Max, and he reads like his life depends on it. His reading list is packed with great books (I’m working through them now). Ryan is only a year older than me and yet seems so driven, motivated and mature, it’s incredible. If you’re under the age of 25 and aren’t reading his blog, you should be. Here’s some posts of his from my delicious bookmarks:

Seth Godin

Seth’s blog is a fantastic blog on business and marketing. He is one of the most respected business thinkers in the world and, if I remember rightly, his blog is the most read business blog on the internet. His common sense approach to business is great. If and when I start a business in the future, this post will be my manifesto. Some other posts of his that I like:

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell

This is the production blog for Tucker Max’s first film, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, and is written predominantly by Tucker, but with posts from his executive producer and co-writer Nils Parker, and a couple from his assistant Greg and the lead actors. Obviously I’m a big fan of Tucker Max, but I never really appreciated how hard the guy works or how smart he was until he started this blog. The archives stretch right back to pre-production, and Tucker talks about finding a director, casting, making the financing deals and so on, before moving onto the actual shooting of the film. It’s now in the post-production process, with editing and test screenings and so on, and it’s scheduled to be released in 2009. I can’t wait. If you have any interest in filmand want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes, you should definitely check it out. Here are some of my favourite posts from the IHTSBIH production blog:

Of course I’m always looking for new sites to read, more content to devour, so if anyone knows any other good blogs or websites they think I should be reading, fire away in the comments section. I’d love to hear what other people are reading, or what they think of these choices.

More advice on life from friends of Tucker Max

This time it’s his ex-girlfriend and fellow Rudius Media writer Erin Tyler, aka The Bunny. Yet another teenager was asking for advice about his situation at college (he got kicked out of his dorm but was allowed to stay enrolled in college on academic probation). Bunny replied with this gem.

“Hey, homeless dude, why did you get kicked out? All the kids I knew who dropped out of college, or got kicked out of college, didn’t like to go to class because they didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives. Frankly, I don’t think ANY 18 year old knows who they are and what they want to do. In Switzerland, you decide what your career will be at twelve, most people hate their jobs, but they have much higher job security and a lifestyle that is rather incomparable to ours. You won’t get a month of paid vacation around here, and no two hour lunches, so you better be really fucking happy with your chosen career. I think most kids realize this. I think at your age, we see how miserable working environments are, how miserable the people within them are, and we balk at becoming an adult. And then, what if you don’t think your classes are remotely interesting? You slack off and get in trouble.

Fact is, aside from obeying laws and paying taxes, and dying one day, you don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to–without exception. Furthermore, you can do whatever you believe you can do. The doing isn’t that hard. You believe, and then you decide, and then you go to step one and work real hard. Eventually, you do it. So why don’t you go out into the world, get a place, get a job that pays the bills, but doesn’t require a huge commitment of time, energy, emotion, etc., and read lots of books. Figure out what excites you the most. That is your passion. That is your signpost. Follow that like people follow God, because that is the path to true, sustainable happiness and the life you want to live. You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction, when going to class, or learning your craft, is the highlight of your day.”

Read the whole thread here.

I love the RMMB sometimes. It must be the only place on the internet where you can amazing advice like this and then go and talk about what you’re going to do on World Toilet Day.

Why I’m such a huge Tucker Max fan

Edit: I previously had a series of 3 posts where I went into a lot more depth than I do here. Those posts were terribly rambling and incoherent, and there was no need for them, so I deleted them. This post, and this quote, is a great summary of why I’m a Tucker Max fan.

From the advice board thread entitled Guide to Beginner Game: How to develop game if you have none:

“You know how many times in my life I have gotten something or achieved something because I tried where others begged off, because I threw my hat in the ring when others kept theirs on their head? You know how many hot girls I have gotten because I went up and talked to them, while everyone else was scared of them? Yes I have game, but my game is worthless sitting alone at a table. It takes balls to approach a hot girl or to put your life on the internet, and friends, I have two huge ones, and this is why I am a winner and will always be a winner.”

This shows Tucker’s attitude to life. He started out down a career path he hated, realised it was wrong for him, changed his mind, figured out what he wanted to do with his life. Then he figured out how to get it. And then he went and did it. I admire him for that. Now he’s written a New York Times bestseller, runs a great company and is making a film.

Check out his messageboard, read his book, or follow his movie production blog.

Starting a new blog and creating a new media presence

I’ve decided to start this blog based on the indirect advice of several people, who have hugely influenced me over the past year or so.

Ryan Holiday, PR director for Rudius Media, the media company established and run by Tucker Max, is probably my main influence in this area. He talks about creating a new media presence, and believes that in order to get places, to do the things you want, you need to put yourself out there, educate yourself, make connections, and so on. I started reading Ryan’s blog over a year ago now, and it is fantastic. I can relate to a lot of what he says: Ryan is sort of like a successful, smarter version of how I see myself at the moment (although whether that’s just wishful thinking on my part, I’m not sure). A lot of the stuff he talks about is to do with educating yourself, improving your thinking and setting yourself up to be successful in the future. Probably my main influence at the moment.

Ryan has also posted what he considers to be the 3 best blogs on the internet. His number one is business guru Seth Godin, who’s blog I also subscribe to. He constantly emphasizes the importance of going the extra mile with customers, creating meaningful relationships and doing remarkable things to make you and your company stand out. He wrote this brilliant post on Why bother having a resume?. His main point is here in the latter half of the blog post. Instead of a resume:

“How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?

Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

Some say, “well, that’s fine, but I don’t have those.”

Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you’re sort of ordinary.

Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.”

Honestly speaking, I read that article once or twice, thought it was cool and that he was right, and then ignored his advice and carried on as I had before. But I’ve decided to actually do something about it now. The third and final motivator for my action was another Rudius Media writer Ben Corman, who has written a fantastic piece about this sort of thing, called In the future we’ll all be art students. Ben mentions a great quote from a Wall Street trader he met in the mid-90s, who was frustrated at the lack of quality of graduates applying for jobs at his firm. He said:

“All of these kids tell me that they want to be traders. So why aren’t any of them trading. Why aren’t they taking a few grand and creating a portfolio? Or if they don’t have the money why aren’t they giving themselves an imaginary budget, “buying” a few hundred shares of different companies then tracking that for six months? I’ll hire the first kid who shows me initiative even if he’s lost money. I can teach trading strategies, I can’t teach hunger.”

I’d love to say that his advice really resonated with me, and I had an epiphany and realised that this was the future, the gold-paved road to success. But that’s not true. It took several weeks for the message to really sink in, and I’ve read all of the articles that I’ve linked to several times. But I think I finally understand, or at least am beginning to understand, what all these people are talking about.

Which is where this blog comes in. This will be where I write about what I’m learning, what I’ve discovered, how I think I’ve developed myself personally, and so on. This is my portfolio.

Massive thanks to everyone mentioned in this post: Ben, Seth and Ryan. I have a feeling I’ll be linking to them a lot more in future. And I am undoubtedly indebted to Tucker Max, as without his influence and advice I literally wouldn’t be the same person that I am today. Although I still have a ridiculously long way to go.