The Startup of You

I was fortunate to meet Ben Casnocha yesterday.

Ben is the co-author of The Startup of You together with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and he was visiting Istanbul for vacation. I noticed that he was in Istanbul when seeing his name pop up in the Twitter stream of Cem Sertoglu. Cem kindly introduced us and Ben made himself available for us to chat on short notice. We had a fun and insightful 90 minute talk.

I read the Startup of You back in 2011 and it was a career defining book for me. The book’s key takeaway is that you need to treat your career like a flexible startup. Just like a startup navigates to find product market fit, you’re looking to find something that you’re good at, that you enjoy doing, and that fills a market need. As Ben explained during our chat, it’s tough to find a role that aces each of these dimensions. One or two dimensions will likely be more heavily weighted in any specific role. You’re very lucky if you happen to meet all three.

The book helped me crystallize my desire to pursue a long term career in venture capital because it’s something that I seem to be good at (time will tell how good) and enjoy doing, while also bringing Turkey into the picture of my career as there’s a much greater gap (market need) for VC funding in Turkey than in the US. I’m very lucky.

I strongly recommend the book to anyone thinking about their career and how they can make it rewarding on a personal and societal level. Thanks for writing it Ben.