What I’m doing this summer and why the heck you should care.
This post may not come as a surprise for those that have been following what I’ve been up to the past few months during spring semester of my first year at business school, but I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that today is my first day of my summer internship at Shelby.tv.
For those interested in the story of how this internship happened (not like this), I’ll lay out a quick narrative. My journey to Shelby.tv was far more serendipitous than John Exely’s journey to Hashable, but hopefully the experience/advice outlined here will underscore how to create the kind of luck that got me in front of one of the most awesome startups I’ve seen this year.
Many of my classmates in business school gave me crap for being active on twitter and tech blogs (you’d think I was on MySpace or something), but that has probably been the single largest factor in increasing my chances for meeting influential people in the technology community (in NY and elsewhere). I had a few interactions with Reece (shelby.tv’s co-founder) via twitter, which ultimately led to a conversation over the phone after he posted that they were looking for interns. One thing led to another, and I found myself doing work for the Shelby.tv team during the latter half of their TechStars stint, which in turn gave me the credibility to convert my part time internship into something full time for the summer.
To aspiring future Shelby.tv interns (or anyone interested in a job at a startup), a few quick recommendations:
1) Be active on social media & web services in the vertical you are interested in. I think to many this goes without saying (but a few of my business school brethren could learn from this). The first thing many potential employers do is Google you. If you don’t have some sort of presence or are easy to contact online, chances are you may not fit very well with a tech company’s culture (there are, of course, exceptions to this rule). You should be using all of the services in the space you hope to get into. Also, make sure you aren’t on MySpace.
2) Be authentic & have an opinion. Trying to present some facade of what you want to be over the internet is reasonably easy (especially if you hang out on /b/), but as soon as people meet you in real life they’ll quickly discover whether your presentation is authentic or not. When you show up at a startup for a meeting, know what they do, how you think you can help, and a little bit about their culture and background. Tristan Walker’s story is a great example.
3) Demonstrate enthusiasm but don’t be overzealous. It’s great to be excited about startups (and you definitely need to be persistent), but know why you are excited about the particular startup or the space they are in and be able to talk about it. Don’t just be excited because you’re excitable and think that social game mechanics with location based group buying is going to be the next big thing. If that’s more your cup of tea, try being a Jonas Brothers fan.
Now that I’ve gotten these points out of the way, I just want to reiterate two (of many) things about Shelby.tv that have me really excited to be here for the summer:
1) In just a few short months, Shelby.tv has changed the way I watch and discover video. I’ve gotten to see Shelby.tv as a product evolve since it’s inception in February. It’s a product that scratches an itch I’ve been having for quite some time now and it’s come a LONG way in a few short months. The ultimate vision for the product is really impressive and I’m looking forward to seeing it change the way others watch and discover video over the next few months. If you’re interested in being on the cutting edge of that change, sign up for our alpha at http://shelby.tv!
2) The team is one of the most impressive I’ve had the chance to meet. Sure, they have the technical chops, a few ivy league degrees, a PhD in physics, are ex-pro athletes, and they’re all ridiculously good looking (I’m talking about you, Dan). But what really impresses me about the team is the camaraderie, focus, humility, and passion with which they operate.
So here’s to building something awesome this summer and thanks to the team for having me on board for the ride!