Now let’s talk about where BD came into the picture.
While I was working on Sfter I got to know Charlie O’Donnell through his softball team which I joined through twitter. I was excited to get back on the diamond, but I have to admit that a strong motivation stemmed from the desire to get to know Charlie. He’s definitely a cornerstone of the New York tech scene and someone I wanted to know. I had a great time that season and enjoyed getting to know Charlie.
It was through Charlie that I found myself in the SinglePlatform office one day. He connected us when Kenny Herman the EVP of Business Development was on the hunt to find a right hand man. I didn’t know much about the company, but had heard through the grapevine that Kenny and Wiley, the CEO, were badasses. I decided it was worth the trip to the SP office to learn more about the opportunity.
I went down to the office and quickly learned about the company, role, and vision from Kenny. I was blown away.
As I left the office I knew that this was an incredible opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. Kenny shot me a note hours later asking where I stood if offered the position. I followed up with an email indicating my interest as well as providing some additional ammunition for my case. Let me explain.
Interviews are not only auditions, but also opportunities for data collection. Spending time with Kenny enabled me to extract what was important to him for this hire. From what I could gather, he seemed to want an aggressive, persistent hustler that fit the company culture. I leverage my response email as an opportunity to point to a collection of blog posts that described instances over the past year which I thought demonstrated these characteristics. This is a perfect example of why everyone should blog.
I was fired up when peering out from my inbox a few hours later was another email from Kenny. He asked if I could come back down to the office that evening to spend some time with Wiley. I journeyed down to the SP office for a second time and grabbed a cold one with the boss. Through the course of an inspiring conversation about Wiley’s life and his vision for SinglePlatform he offered me the job!
I think there is a lot to take from this story away from this BD if you’re looking to get into BD. The biggest thing I’d say is getting a BD gig with a good company doesn’t happen overnight. At times I get the impression from some folks that they think a simple resume drop will do the trick. It doesn’t work like that in this market. At least it didn’t in my case.
For me it took a year of tireless networking. I bought more coffees and lunches than I can remember. I volunteered and did projects for free all the time to ingratiate myself with people I thought could help me some day. I went to countless events that I didn’t want to go to.
Ultimately, it was the relationships and personal growth forged through a collection of these efforts and experiences that I think put me into a position to get the job. These were built at times when I found myself sleeping on couches and not always knowing how I was going pay the bills. These were built during days where I had to eat humble pie and invite all my seemingly flourishing finance friends to support me at my 2nd job. These where built as I was struggling to start my own company.
At a 30,000 ft level, my efforts over the course of a year are how “I got into BD.” The seeds I had sown for a very long period of time like networking and blogging allowed me to capitalize when the opportunity presented itself.
I distinctively remember Kenny commenting during our interview how he noticed we had “18 connections in common on linkedIn.” Finding content for the followup email wasn’t that hard because I had written over 55+ posts at that point. These assets weren’t built overnight.
All this networking, learning, and writing wasn’t instigated by a job posting. It was motivated by the notion that some day all this labor would eventually bare fruit. Hence, my advice would be to those looking to “get into BD” someday is to get moving. Don’t wait for a BD job posting to start putting yourself in a position to capitalize by networking, helping others, writing etc.
So that’s it. That is my story on how I got into BD. If you’re reading this and thinking about where to start stay tuned…I will be writing about that in a future post.