This was our fourth speaking engagement with our workshop "How to Turn Your Passion Into a Career", on June 18th 2016 at 5pm--closing out the Saturday panels. There were over 50 people in attendance at this workshop.
Moderated by our podcast host Blaire Knight-Graves, our panel included a group of professional geeks from various and diverse backgrounds. Below you’ll find their names and a highlighted topic by each panelist from the live event.
Carlyn’s career started at a small publication where her content was undervalued because it was off-brand, yet popular enough to often get the some of most hits the site would ever see. Her biggest tip: just because you’re right doesn’t mean you’re right. She may have had some of the most popular content on that website, but ultimately she had to part ways with that publication because what she was writing wasn’t the kind of content that they wanted to be known for. Ultimately her tenacious attitude and brilliant writing landed her at Threadless, but it was a harrowing journey and a big lesson for Carlyn to learn: there is such a thing as the right time and the right place.
Devin’s key piece of advice was that, although he believes in being paid for work being done, you never know when one favor to someone may open a door to something else. Devin does not believe in being paid with "exposure", but he does believe that offering your unique skill set to a project with other equally-passionate and serious individuals can help you get other opportunities. Networking is more than showing up: it's a willingness to help.
James Wylder has a DIY attitude about his career, and has been incredibly successful with all of his independent projects. His biggest career tip is that you should never listen to a "no"--instead of letting a no stop you, think of it as a piece of advice as to what to do next. James thinks every aspiring professional geek needs to know that the only way to be noticed in a dense market is to have professionalism, integrity, and hustle. He's living proof that it is possible to market yourself, but that self-marketing takes a lot of tireless work and dedication.
Matt is the Executive Producer of Nerd's Domain podcasts and a co-host on most of the network's content. He learned the hard way that if you want something to get done right, you might have to put in a little extra effort yourself. Starting a company from the ground up isn't easy, and although it's fun to work with friends, it's also important to evaluate the work ethic of those on your staff. Learning to delegate, knowing what tasks belong to whose strengths, and working to leave your own legacy the way you envision it are Matt's biggest piece of advice. He doesn't think working with friends on projects is necessarily bad, but it is important to know who can do what when, and who's going to be able take on additional tasks where needed.