Articles I enjoyed in the last five (!) months: Switching jobs, the risk of VC investment & Parisian etiquette


paris etiquetteThe last blog post I wrote about my favorite articles dates 5 months back. It feels like an eternity.

These have been pretty eventful: I switched from one tech company to another, have taken time for myself between both jobs, picked up running quite seriously again, spent a lot of time reading, and – now – we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Crazy. Let me share 10 tweets from the last five months… which may or may not be related to the above events.

After almost a decade working in marketing, I have mostly worked in B2B tech companies, thus becoming a B2B marketer. Always curious to learn about other paths, including client vs. agency, I enjoyed this B2BMarketing.net article in which a senior marketer shares his experience about working over 30 years in various roles: “I can’t say I’ve planned it at all but it seems to have worked itself out.” This was before I was let go from Ogury.

This was after. While I have not been fired per se, I still feel that when you’re forced to go – whatever the reason – it’s a failure. I was told not to see it this way, but I just couldn’t get it off my mind. So when my brilliant brother shared this HBR piece with me, it came very handily.

What we found is that being fired or laid off doesn’t necessarily have catastrophic effects on leaders’ prospects. [They] can do some specific things to make sure that a major setback doesn’t become a career-killer” the authors say. Read on yourself.

Here’s another testimonial about being fired / laid off / made redundant. In this case, he quit: “I set myself a hard 6-month goal. […] I had a vision, and I had self-set hard number goals. I did not reach them, neither the vision nor the goal. […] Hard goals, hard decisions. I failed; I quit.” A brutally honest post about goal-setting, dashboarding, training, hiring, ambition… very useful for growth marketers.

This one is also about changing career paths, but from a totally different perspective! This is about the long road to recovery after serious injuries, the lack of motivation, the desire for new perspectives in life, taking tough decisions. This article about Ian Boswell‘s path to leave “the myopic drive toward athletic perfection” behind him is enlightening. “Ahead? Balance, and a few thousand miles of gravel.

Another article I found useful top reflect on the situation between my stints at Ogury and Didomi. When you look out for a job, you sometimes often feel underqualified for some positions, either because you have too little experience, or you have worked in the wrong industries, or you have not proven a particular point. It is very important to remain focused on what you desire, and be confident in your strengths – even as an “outsider” (which you will always be when interviewing, in one sense or another).

Totally different subject. The New Yorker’s Nathan Heller has published this excellent, lengthy article about venture capital investing i.e. investing in early-stage, uncertain (and therefore) risky companies. He hooked me not only with the historical introduction about whaling, but also with the social and macro-economic view that he proposes about this industry. He says that VC has become “entrenched at the higher echelons [and] vulnerable to [disruption].” Well, the crisis may precipitate his prognosis.

I love Simon Kuper’s article: he’s witty, smart and Parisian (see the last article below). This one is about a very pre-covid concern: climate change and rising sea levels.

Kuper went to the Netherlands to see how they protect themselves from the sea and how they look at the future, pragmatically (“Dutch water experts who have visited the US tend to marvel [the] notion that protection against the water is an individual duty. In Miami, there are buildings that have their own private sea walls — no matter that these will divert floods on to the neighbours“).

The result is a very thoroughly researched paper, full of common-sense (“Broadly, the conundrum facing the Dutch [is] a binary choice: should we stay or should we go?“) and sprinkles of humor (“I began my research thinking that the Dutch could save the world, but finished it doubting whether they could even save the Netherlands.“).

Sorry, this one is in German (the title means something like “Finally, nothing will be as it used to be“). It bears a similar message than this MIT Tech Review article (We’re not going back to normal) that I tweeted the same day. The reason why I include this German article in my favorites is that the author retweeted it it underlines the deeply transformational effects that the coronavirus will have on our societies.

It will force us to think our priorities through (more focus on people, less strain on the planet, more time to think about what really makes us happy, and what the world needs) and I agree with everything a lot of what he writes. Hopefully the virus will disappear quickly, but our newfound mindfulness will stay longer…

I have just started as Head of Marketing at Didomi, a startup that is aggressively growing in the consent & preference management space. Had I started just 3 weeks later, I would not have worked much with the team, because we were all sent home. But everything has started well… and we are fortunate not to be impacted by the crisis too much. Looking forward to get back together 💪

Last, an article that popped up as a promoted FT tweet on my timeline. The targeting worked, because I read it and enjoyed it very much: “What follows is a user manual for visitors and new residents. It’s based on my 18 years living in Paris, supplemented by much reading and many interviews with Parisian insiders.” I didn’t agree with everything, but everyone has his own way of living Paris!

See you in 5 months? 😛

Stay safe.

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