INTERVIEW   Entrepreneurship Venture Capital

Startups, London, Facebook: Jay Shek on Changing Up the Environment (Part 2)


Continuation of Part 1 of Jay Shek's Interview
Read time: 2 minutes

How were you able to find the people to join your startup and get them motivated to pursue your idea?

I met my cofounders for Locality through a Penn classmate who was a friend of mine. This goes back to selling things and just being personally excited about it yourself.

First you have to convince yourself, and then convincing one other human being is pretty hard. It gets easier every time after that.

The more people are excited about it, the more the next person will be, "Oh this makes sense, since all these smart people are excited about it."

You just have to really believe in yourself and have a very articulate vision of what it could become. What looks a lot better is explaining, if everything goes right, what it could become five years. Focus on that end stage.

Switching to Facebook

After Locality, what made you want to move on to Facebook?

Locality is a slightly profitable small business. I worked on it for five years. I got to the point where I didn't have any good ideas for how I could take it to the next level. My cofounder is running it, and it's still making money. But, I decided that I had done everything I could, and I just had to go. I decided to just get the experience of working at a bigger company and see what it's like. So I'm here.

So how do you like Facebook? Is there anything you didn't expect?

I had never done structured product management in a bigger company, so I really wanted to see if anything I could learn here that would help me to become more rounded, to help me be better the next time I start something or go into another position.

I've learned a ton about how big companies operate. Overall, Facebook is an awesome place to work. Food's great, you get three meals a day, fun benefits, like foosball tables, pool tables. It's basically the nicest college campus ever. As long as you focus on work, they'll take care of everything else.

The reason I wanted to be in a big company like Facebook was that I thought I did a pretty good job in my last job, but how do I really know? I just want to see: does it translate? What can I learn from a different style and in a different environment?

What do you read to increase your knowledge on the tech/entrepreneurial world?

There's an unbelievable amount of great content on the Internet for startups. Everything from Paul Graham, to a bunch of VC blogs — Marc Andreessen's blog is great. You can replicate a lot of startup knowledge now just by reading a ton. There are specific blogs and articles on marketing strategies, product development, how to recruit people. Just Google it and apply it to your own situation.

Reading tech news is good. I read TechCrunch to find out Facebook’s new features actually (laughs). So yeah, TechCrunch, HackerNews, stuff like that. In terms of generating ideas, you want to pick a couple areas of interests and just go deeper, and look at more research papers, essays, books. Pick a couple areas to specialize in and learn more about. Hopefully, there are areas that you want to work in or start a business in, in the future.

Header photo courtesy of The Business of Fashion.


Melinda Hu
Talk to me about anything related to entrepreneurship, figure skating, healthcare, environmental sustainability, and female empowerment. :) Currently abroad in Beijing (follow my blog below).


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