Fintech · Startups

Passion Vs Expertise?

Bernard Ang

August 30th, 2016

I have been in the financial world for the past decade and have a good understanding of how things work there. Not perfect but good enough to go around. 

Along the way, I've gained interest and started building startups that focus on travel and Mental Health, nothing to do with my background.

There's been some call-outs by folks to partner up for fintech projects and it's strange, though I'm aware of the problems that can be solved in this space, I find myself gravitating away. I consider finance as part of my day job which I'm relatively solid at, but not something I'm completely passionate about.

So far, I've not been that successful with the travel and Health projects but it might be due to a journey of learning, adjustment and pivoting. 

At this soul searching junction, I find myself asking if I should really move into fintech instead. 

Michael Lipson Executive Coach & Strategic Consultant

August 30th, 2016

One more notion - the sweet spot are opportunities where these 3 intersect: 
  • Zone of Genius (expertise, mastery, etc)
  • Zone of Passion (what lights you up)
  • Zone of Market (what the market needs and values)

Tom Cunniff Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy

August 30th, 2016

Passion is almost always overrated; expertise is generally underrated.

IMO you should work where you can add the most value.

Ideally, unite your expertise with passion. Find an ugly problem in FinTech that is super PAINFUL for everybody who encounters it, and then get passionate about fixing it.

Maybe you're not passionate about FinTech because you're focused on problems that aren't that exciting. Pick a dragon worth slaying :-)

Michael Lipson Executive Coach & Strategic Consultant

August 30th, 2016

Bernard, I love this convo! I believe the path for many, assuming our most basic needs are met, is to stair step from seeking pleasure to passion to purpose. He’s my story, to illustrate: When I was younger I worked my way into investment banking, focused on making a bunch of $$, and generated a lot of pleasure - and it was GREAT. For a while… Then I saw that the job didn’t totally feed me. It didn’t align w/me at a deeper level including my values - such creativity, adventure, human connection and more. (Maybe this is what’s going on for you presently? Now back to me..) I wanted to be more passionate at work and in my life, so followed this desire which led me to doing start-ups. this was a bit like jumping off a cliff - leaving my high paid, seemingly secure world for a very speculative yet more exciting one. I did find more passion and was happier working harder, even though I was initially making less money, though the possibility of making more fueled me too. I did this work for quite some time (literally a few hundred start-ups in some capacity.) Over time, building start-ups for the sake of equity value creation and exits became less energizing. Once again, I discovered it wasn’t as aligned w/what deeply mattered to me as it once did. In reflection, I see I was grappling w/“purpose” - aka “what am I here for?” I’ve come to see what lights me up most is helping people become more and more inspired and ALIVE in their lives, including in their work worlds. That's led me to the next chapter - focusing on helping people (vs businesses) succeed and making each client’s work a place for them and their colleagues to really come ALIVE (which I’ve come to discover generally rates profits too.) We all get to choose how we navigate our lives, and what a life well lived looks like. Change invites risk. And opportunity. I took the risk and it worked out. Others have and it hasn’t. And others have not taken the risk and sit wondering if they should have, and/or should they still. The path isn’t always easy nor obvious - but it is vitally important - cuz all we have this this life of ours to live out the best we can. I think it’s fantastic your re-evaluating and being curious about what lay ahead. Good luck!

Mark Beliczky The Carlyle Group

August 30th, 2016

From my experience -- follow your new-discovered passion and with a passion. Similar to entrepreneurs, it is the passion that distinguishes and takes one into uncharted waters where others would typically not explore. I am not suggesting sailing headlong into a typhoon, but do consider darker, stormy waters... You can always go back to finance. Much of the decision-making in changing careers/direction is a function of your risk tolerance, intellectual curiosity and the quest for new challenges. At least you are considering something of interest and likely the fact that you have an opportunity to consider -- many do not... Regards, Mark Mark Beliczky U.S. Real Estate THE CARLYLE GROUP 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20004 410-988-2151 Office 571-228-2341 Mobile 299 Park Avenue 35th Floor New York, NY 10017 410-988-2151 Office 571-228-2341 Mobile

Paul Garcia President at TABLE

August 31st, 2016

Passion is not a reason to be in business. The word is overused and doesn't inspire others or generate respect for you. There are only four criteria to meet in choosing a career. If you meet all four criteria in the work that you do, you will never need to search for a job again. Meet three and you'll last a decade in your job. Meet fewer than three and you won't last at all.
1) location: where do you want to work geographically
2) industry: what type of product/service do you want to represent
3) title and responsibilities: who are you and what duties will you have
4) definition of goals and success: how do you like to be rewarded, what do you wish to accomplish in your career)

These aren't trivial questions. But I can guarantee if you are first able to define them precisely and second seek to fulfill all of these requirements, you will be in the career you will want to keep for life and you won't think of it as "work." Passion for work is simply an emotional response to being able to meet these important criteria, but it doesn't define any kind of business success on its own.

Not everyone has the goal of being an expert. Not everyone has the goal of being excited about the results of their labor. So it's possible that neither passion or expertise are criteria you need to pursue. You can have an extremely satisfying career with neither of those things if they are not your goals.

Markus Siebeneick Helping Dev & QA Teams Achieve CI/CD Through Test Automation at Sauce Labs

August 30th, 2016

Passion does have its place. You are more likely to do better work when you are passionate about what you are doing. 

Many people will say to follow your dreams and what you are passionate about. However, it may not be possible for you based on responsibilities you have in your personal life.  IE. Would working in FinTech be a means to an end while you try to grow a passion project so that it can support you. 

Interestingly enough, not all passions make for good careers.  I love to travel, but if travel was my career, I would lose my love of travel as what makes it special would be lost in many ways. 

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

August 31st, 2016

Great discussion! I've always felt blessed to have work I love--but in the past few years, I've turned my activism into a work passion. I've spent the last three years and especially the past 18 months putting pieces into place to be able to make all or most of my living helping other companies turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance. For instance, I wrote and found a publisher for my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World…got videos of all the presentations I did around the book launch and used them to update my speaker demo video…just last night, invested 1K in a system that will save many hours of my time and many dollars in legal fees to obtain sponsors for this work (allowing me to speak for free at social change conferences that don't pay). By thinking long-term, I'm also able to keep my passion for the more mundane pieces of my business that are still paying the bills--because I know I'm moving forward toward the work I was put on the planet to do. Thus, I didn't resent the two ghostwriting and one book editing projects I've had this summer, because I see that work as a way station on the road to changing the world.

Andy Collen Producer, Director,Owner, Happy Trails Animation

August 31st, 2016

Very great question... might this help to answer...  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140502192408-16723824-winning-the-race-with-true-grit?trk=mp-reader-card

or this might be a good way to look at it as well.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140428172539-16723824-the-rocket-fuel-for-vision-is-passion?trk=mp-reader-card

Laura Oliphant Business Development and Venture Capital Professional

August 30th, 2016

Follow your passion...

Paul Garcia President at TABLE

August 31st, 2016

Duckworth's book is not at odds with the earlier posts. Her book defines passion as interest and enjoyment, which are not the same as the passion described above. Passion is an emotional reaction, but she says in her book that interest and enjoyment are what drive perseverance, the grit required. It's not uncommon for most people to use imprecise language, which leads to confusion such as Duckworth creates. Passion is a strong emotion like love or hate. You can enjoy and take interest in something without loving or hating it.