Dinner with Scott Belsky- Co-Founder of Behance, an online platform that helps connect artists and designers to companies while showcasing their work effectively and efficiently.
As we bombard Scott with question after question- rendering him unable to bring his fork to his face more than a handful of times- he delivers what this fellow believes to be some of the most practical knowledge we’ve been given by a guest speaker thus far.
I’ve broken down our night into a five main points from Scott followed by how they relate back to concepts we’ve been learning at E[nstitute].
*One thing to note, I’m a huge fan of witty/inspirational quotes. I believe if someone said it right the first time, then you should use it. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel…and you can totally quote me on that .
1. Hire based on initiative, not solely their experience.
Your resume doesn’t need to state “this is my GPA”. It needs to show “This is what the hell I’ve done with my life. These are my accomplishments”. Acing a multiple- choice test vs. executing a product launch. You tell me which is more impressive to a potential employer.
2. Networking has now been replaced by a new, improved idea: sharing.
You scratch my back, I scratch your back. We’ve been told countless times in this program to make it a habit of getting on LinkedIn to see if we can help make useful connections for others in our network. People like people who help them out, and will be more willing to return the favor.
3. The best indicator of future initiative is past initiative.
Ties in perfectly with a concept I was taught in Psych 101: The single best predictor of future behavior is…you guessed it- past behavior. A person who is proactive now will mostly likely be so once hired, and vice-versa.
4. “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. – Thomas Jefferson
A decent idea with perfect execution will beat a brilliant idea with average execution, every time.
5. Don’t raise money until you’re in love with what you’re doing.
“It’s like getting all your wedding gifts right after your first day. Suddenly, you have to make it work”. We’ve also been told time and time again about how getting money early on to fund your idea is awesome… About as awesome as having a ticking time bomb strapped to your chest. Investors expect results, and if you don’t deliver in a timely fashion, you’re more likely to do something you don’t necessarily want to do in order to maintain that funding. Bootstrap, bootstrap, bootstrap.
He also gave us some insight around the key components of the Behance organization, as well as a key feature behind the scenes- the “appreciation” system.
- Promotes Meritocracy -opportunity & rewards based on contributions, not seniority
- Create an environment where people can challenge the status quo. Question things that don’t make sense- sometimes things are done a certain way simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done. The majority of systems in the world are in need of a renaissance.
- Speak up! Everyone in an organization has an opinion that should be valued. Scott is not a fan of having “leaders” in groups, except to make final decisions.
Behance Artist rating system
- Creative meritocracy- pairing the best talent w/ the best opportunity through an weighted appreciation system. Foursquare doesn’t focus solely on how high or low you rate a place, but instead how many times you go back. Things often get rated highly or low for the wrong reasons. Your art may have received 100 likes on Facebook. Awesome! But what does that really mean? Behance has a way to quantify their data.
- Behance also uses specific metrics to balance quality as well as quantity of appreciations to help undiscovered artists and talent rise to the top alongside the design giants from top companies like Google, Twitter, etc.
As the evening came to a close, Scott signed off with the following message:
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
Don’t be afraid to take chances, try something new and not follow a “traditional pathway”. So what are you waiting for?