Networking

Should I do Starting Bloc?

Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

January 31st, 2014

Networking is not a forte for me, but a buddy has pressed me to attend Starting Bloc for a year now.  I got in but they want $1500 clams.  The alumni network seems to be the real strength with a high percentage of ivy league grad school types.

In some respects, my biggest concern is asking for time off since it would eat 3 work days from my schedule.  As a person in their mid-to-late-twenties engineer, I can't say I have a serious network built yet and I have traditionally been anti-academia since I am probably anti-country-club and anti-exclusivity. 

My company also *might* send me to SXSW which would occur the week prior to SB.

I could also put that money and time off toward a sunny 4-day retreat in Cabo.

Thoughts?
A-level teams with B-level ideas succeed. B-level teams with A-level ideas fail. This course provides a comprehensive roadmap for building a standout team, teaching everything from hiring to structure, compensation, and culture.

Shobhit Verma

January 31st, 2014

Nope!
I have noticed that whenever I have pressed friends to take a specific action, they have failed to get the best benefits out of it.
When I have pressed friends to buy a book they were unsure about, they never make it past chapter one.
When I have pressed relatives to study for a particular exam to help them better their career, they don't study enough.
When I have pressed a friend to buy a gym membership, they don't show up after the first week.
In one instance I encouraged a friend to switch her job to something that was full of opportunities, she still works in the suggested job but she didn't make use of the opportunity in the way she could have to get ahead.

It is not about whether Starting Bloc is worth it. It is about whether you are in a position that you know *exactly* what you are looking to get from those 5 days and you have a good reason to believe that Starting Bloc can give you that.


Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

January 31st, 2014

Thanks for the feedback, it all sounds like really good words of advice.

Objectively, I discussed it with my family who had the initial remark that my same friend is "unemployed".  Indeed, he is somehow still working to find himself a job and is under all kinds of stress whereby him repeating over and over I should do this one program he managed to get into might be a possibility.  That said, he also applied for a White House internship among many others that he was unable to get so who knows, it may just be a conversation piece he knows to have with me that sounds productive.

My friend recommended someone else to SB that had some video he put together that sounds almost verbatim like this: "I want to end central banking by having everyone wear bio sensors."  I thought it was totally bizarre.  Given that SB says, "this is where co-conspirators meet each other", SB might just also have the world's largest population of ivy leaguers who escape practicality.

My gut feeling on networking is that I really don't need to do it right now I need to be working and saving money.

Re: taking time off, it's tough right now to make that call that I should be giving myself 4 or 5 days in beautiful Cabo.  I do want to of course.  Sometimes our choices seem to be finite and have lasting ramifications.  Such is life.

Michael Barnathan

January 31st, 2014

I'll take this opportunity to make a cultural statement: there are 365 days in a year and roughly 250 of them are working days. It's pathological that we've built a culture where workers are afraid to ask for 3 of those days to pursue growth opportunities.

The $1.5k is something to consider. If you think it's worth that much to you, do it. I wouldn't let the prospect of taking time off daunt me, though.

Leena MBA Content & Publication Manager at NetApp

January 31st, 2014

You're only losing three days of work and $1500. Keep your mind open and just go. Some benefit will come out of it.

If a good friend of yours has been pressing you to attend for a year, and he knows you fairly well, take him up on his advice.

Peter Morgan CEO at Zepto Ventures

January 31st, 2014

Cabo sounds good.