RealJobs: Mike Del Ponte

Today I want to discuss 1) my rant about job search, 2) what I did this day, and 3) about my start-up.

1. My rant on Job Search

If you read my first post you know I have a unique background and like to challenge people to think outside the box about how they should spend their lives. I’ll be flying to Boston to give a talk at BC on Monday 2/21 at 8pm in Higgins 300 to talk about this subject. In the mean time, let me clarify three things.

–       Traditional is not bad. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you play by different rules than if you’re going to be an accountant. Not everyone needs to take my approach. The key is always being true to yourself.

–       Focus on experiences, not internships. I mentioned that I have never had an internship. That is not to say I haven’t had a number of informative, valuable, and marketable experiences. You should seek these experiences out, whether they are internships, volunteering, research, etc.

–       Interviews are stupid, but important (for some people). I’ve interviewed a ton of people and think they are pretty worthless because they usually just tell you if you like the person (which can be biased). It’s hard to tell in an interview if someone has good values and works hard. Some people are bad at interviews, but great employees. So what does that mean for you? You’ll probably have to do interviews, so learn how to ace them, but in the long-term you want to focus on the results you produce and your reputation as someone who is smart, hard working, honest, etc.

2. What I did at work today


I finished negotiating a partnership today, then did follow-up work do the partner can execute on our plan. It’s a marketing campaign, so I needed to get them email pitches, social media content, images, etc. Pretty straight forward.

Why PR is interesting. Right not I’m pitching a lot of media sources. Some are small, but relevant for our Ultimate Internship Contest. Others are mainstream and good for our brand recognition and user acquisition (e.g., NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.).

So today I had my pitch rejected from a small blog that probably has a few hundred readers. Then Fast Company magazine and Dow Jones both reached out to do stories on BranchOut. Success and rejection comes in spurts, which is just part of PR.

3. What else is going on at my start-up

One thing we do every Tuesday is what’s called “Sprint Planning.” Basically we release products on our Facebook app in 2-week sprints. Every two weeks we decide what we want to accomplish and who is going to do what. Then, each Wednesday we release our new features – one week is a mini-release, the next is a big release. So our product and engineering teams met for a few hours to plan everything else out.

If you’re a start-up and you have cash, which we do, you’re constantly meeting with people to see if they would be good hires. Our CEO, Director of Product, and Director of Engineering meet with people almost everyday.


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