Early career years are painful.

You feel like an idiot 98% of the time - lost, confused and insecure.

I wish I had a cheat sheet of principles for my first job.

So I put one together.

Here are 20 things about building a career I wish I knew sooner:
Principle #1: You’re not the “Strategy Guy”


To be a big picture thinker, you have to earn the respect, trust and credibility of your team first.

The only way you can do this is through delivering tangible value.

Focus on bringing results, not laying out frameworks.
Principle #2: Stay true to your commitments

If you make a commitment, see it through. Half-assed problem solving creates more work for everyone.

It’s astonishing how quickly you can get ahead if you simply:

(a) Say you’re going to do something
(b) Do it
(c) Repeat
Principle #3: Get on the scoreboard

Identify the low hanging fruit. This can be for your boss, your team or the company.

It’s obvious, everybody knows it’s there, but for whatever reason it hasn’t been fixed.

Fix it.

Why? It shows momentum and creates a rallying point.
Principle #4: Set the tone

When I took over Metasys 2 years ago, we had 0 marketing.

I told the team that within 90 days, we would have a refreshed brand, logo and website.

It energized the team, but more importantly, established we were going to work at a much faster pace.
Principle #5: Figure out what your boss hates and take it off their plate

An exercise I like to do is the “Value Venn Diagram”

- What do I like...
- What am I good at...
- What does the company need..

Figure out what the company needs AND your boss DOESN’T like doing.
Principle #6: Learn just enough to be dangerous

Know a little bit about: (a) how the world works, (b) the industry works and (c) how the business works.

Cross functional knowledge is underrated.

If you bring it to the table, you’ll be an asset in any company from Day 1.
Principle #7: Use the “Challenge Framework” to solve difficult problems

Every situation is a function of:

- Incentives
- Personalities
- Perspectives
- Constraints
- Resources

In most “tough” situations, 2+ are misaligned.

Figure out which and hone in on them.
Principle #8: Make friends

People go to bat for people they like. It’s really as simple as that.

In a positive case - they’ll go the extra mile to support you.

In a negative case - they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Being nice to others pays unplanned dividends.
Principle #9: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

If you get advice from enough people, the advice cancels out. You can find 2 smart people to take opposite sides of the argument on virtually every topic.

Focus on developing your instincts and trusting your own intuition
Principle #10: Train yourself to be open minded vs. close minded

Open Minded:

- Ask genuine questions
- Insatiably curious
- Listen attentively

Close Minded:

- Make statements instead of ask questions
- Focus on being right
- Speak more
Principle #11: Fall in love with messiness

Most people hate messes and avoid them like the plague.

But this is where the opportunity is.

If you execute against the opportunity, you'll find this is also where your fastest levers for advancement live.
Principle #12: Put things on paper

Writing things down brings clarity to the thought process.

It’s easy to talk about something and build castles in the sky.

It’s a lot harder to distill, synthesize, pressure test and then communicate.
Principle #13: The answer is just as important as the process

Nobody likes to work with a “know it all.”

Don’t compromise on the solution - the best answer is key to driving impact.

But getting to the right answer without any buy in or commitment is worthless.
Principle #14: Learn to disagree and commit

Eat your ego.

Regardless of the outcome of the decision, you need to disagree and commit.

Don’t be a sore loser and detractor.

Work as hard on the path forward as if it was your own idea.
Principle #15: Find the tension points

- What is each team working towards in the quarter?
- How is this at odds with what your team is working on?

The overlap of these 2 questions is where friction will come from.

Identify it. Plan around it. Push through it.
Principle #16: Speed is always an advantage

A question I routinely ask myself is:

"What would it take to move 50% faster?"

- Money?
- People?
- Ideas?
- Alignment?

You may not move faster, but it's good to be aware of how you can move faster.

Speed is king.
Principle #17: Over communicate

Building trust takes time. Until you have an implicit trust formed with your team, you need to over communicate.

I've seen so many careers fall apart over communication.

Get the work done AND keep people in the loop from beginning to end.
Principle #18: Be a team player

You are now at the bottom of the totem pole.

No task is beneath you. All that matters is the team wins.

Sounds easy in theory, but it's pretty hard in practice.

If you can keep this attitude though, you will stand out big time.
Principle #19: Become a master at sales & negotiation

Every opening is a sale - partnerships, recruiting, vision, fundraising

Every close is a negotiation - hiring, alignment, price, terms, value

The faster you can become a sales/negotiation jedi, the better served you'll be
Principle #20: Find "your thing"

Meditating. Sports. Junkie TV. Reading.

Whatever it is.

Have a release that you can go to to recharge.

It'll keep you on track / the journey sustainable.

Otherwise you'll burn out.
And that's it!

I wish I had those 20 principles at my fingertips when I started out.

What else?

What other tips would you give to people early in their career?
If you enjoyed this thread, give me a follow


I tweet about startup lessons, folks I interview on my pod and cool business stories a few times a week!

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More from @RomeenSheth

16 Nov
15 timeless principles on how to deal with adversity 👇
First, some context.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve grown my bootstrapped business by $3M+ in profit.

Sounds awesome right?

Well, yes and no.

There was a lot of misstep, failure and doubt.
You feel a lot of different emotions when going through the journey.

Mega highs on some days and the lowest of lows on others.

I came up with 15 principles that have helped me whenever facing a difficult situation.
Read 22 tweets
12 Nov
The cold hard truth:

Why do companies like Quibi raise billions, while companies like Peloton get nothing?

Because fundraising is a GAME

And most people don’t know the rules.

Here are 8 frameworks packed with 50+ hard earned lessons to help you win the game 👇👇👇
You can’t play the game without nailing the basics.

There are 5 core ingredients to a startup pitch.

- Most have 2.
- Good ones have 4.
- The best have all 5.

Now that you have a grasp of the basics, it’s time to level up.

Good news - most founders make the same mistakes as each other.

Bad news - these mistakes are really easy to make.

Here's what to keep in consideration:

Read 11 tweets
11 Nov
Hot Take:

The metaverse is going to make everything more extreme.

Here’s how the world is about to go on tilt and what it means for you 👇👇👇
My friend @ShaanVP had an awesome thread on the metaverse a few weeks ago.

He set a clear, understandable definition of the metaverse:

The metaverse is a time, not a place.

It’s when our digital life is more important than our physical life.
If you believe in that definition (I do), then it pushes an interesting second order question.

What happens when that shift occurs?

I think everything gets a lot more extreme.

Read 17 tweets
9 Nov
This week I had @chamath on the pod for a hard hitting 80 min discussion.

Man, this was fun.

Here’s 15 unique insights I learned from one of the greatest tech icons of our generation 👇👇👇
Chatting with @chamath was a blast.

He has a special ability to dissect complex topics and articulate them elegantly.

I also found him to be a down to earth guy that was incredibly generous with his time.

Alright...onto the insights:
Insight 1: The world is best understood through the lens of a pendulum

This pendulum swings between 2 poles:

Centralization -- Decentralization

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This necessitates a shift in the role of private enterprise and government
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I love Twitter.

It’s truly the Town Square of the Internet.

But finding the diamond in the rough voices can be tough.

Here are 20 of my favorite people to follow:
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Alex writes extensively about the Founder journey.

The cool part is he’s lived everything he talks about - starting from $0 and selling for $75M with hardly any outside capital raised.

My favorite piece:

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Ryan is a Top 1% founder.

This guy is a machine - he’s built 2 unicorns before the age of 27.

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My favorite piece:

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2 Nov
The ultimate hack to 10x your career:

Enter the Side Door.

Let's break it down 👇👇👇
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It’s been a long week and it’s the party of the year at the local bar.

Awesome - you’re all set to go.

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There’s a massive line outside.

You do what most people do.

You stand in line in the freezing cold for an hour.

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