Baker Institute Team
"My mindset towards the future has changed."
David Pochapin '19 | Start Up
Major | Finance and Marketing
Hometown | New York, NY
As I reflect on the past eight days that have been filled with endless amounts of information and career advice, I honestly feel as though being a part of LehighSiliconValley 2019 has completely changed my mindset on what I want to do in my career and how I am going to go about doing it. I have always seen myself as an entrepreneurial minded person, but I never believed that I could go out and be an entrepreneur until this immersive experience. Part of my mindset change came from the incredible guests we had the privilege of hearing from over the course of this program.
Although there are many quotes to choose from when deciding which quote resonated with me the most, I think I have to choose two different quotes from two different days that get at the exact same overall idea. On Tuesday, January 8th, Craig Connors spoke to us about his unorthodox journey to becoming one of the lead engineers at Velocloud which was acquired by VMware for over $700 million. When leaving us with some closing remarks, he adapted a quote by Eric Schmidt and said, “When you find a rocket ship, take a seat.” Four days later in the Lehigh Silicon Valley 2019 program, Ann Lewnes, CMO of Adobe, told us eerily similar advice when she was talking to our group about her career. She said, “Always go towards growth, do not worry about your position.” Although it may seem odd that these two Silicon Valley rock stars basically gave the same piece of advice, it really resonated with me because it obviously means that what they are saying is true and impactful.
When I first heard these pieces of advice, I was really taken back as it did not align with my vision of being a successful entrepreneur. Before I came on this program, I saw entrepreneurship as being a Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos and that was it. I thought being an entrepreneur meant being the CEO of a company from the ground up. However, after hearing Craig, Ann, and what Tim Gillis kept reiterating about how good people create good products, which create successful companies, I have realized that there is so more than just the CEO of a successful startup. A CEO cannot do it alone, but instead requires a team around him or her that can not only provide expertise, but will also promote a positive culture and strive for success.
Now that I have had time to internalize this advice, I feel as though my mindset towards the future has changed. Rather than thinking about how I must create and start my own company in order to achieve entrepreneurial greatness, I should also be keeping my eyes and ears open for good ideas around me. When those incredible ideas present themselves, I should work to get involved rather than worry about what my exact position is. Being a part of a rocket ship could not only lead to an incredible impact, but it will guarantee a learning experience that I can take with me in my next entrepreneurial endeavor.