Beyond the Pitch
Startup Grind: From Resource’s Kelly Mooney to Upcoming Fundable’s Wil Schroter, Content Guaranteed to Educate and Excite
“I never want to be the sort of person who stops learning.”
I didn’t graduate from college too long ago, so I hear things like that often enough—usually from former classmates who have already grown wary of “climbing the corporate ladder” and long for the days of sitting in a classroom. It’s an admirable enough sentiment, but I’ve never really felt inspired when I’ve heard it before.
Then, Kelly Mooney said the same thing at last month’s Startup Grind. Hearing about an appreciation for learning—about everything, from everyone—carries new weight when it comes from the CEO of the nation’s largest digital advertising company.
When Mooney talked about learning, she wasn’t talking about gaining knowledge for the sake of knowledge. She was talking about learning from people, especially the young, inexperienced employees under her care at Resource Interactive.
Mooney calls this “reverse mentoring,” and she talks about it like it’s nothing out of the ordinary. But when I talk with my friends—recent college grads who are now entry-level employees in banks, NGOs, consulting firms—I remember that this isn’t the norm. When we swap work stories, my friends never talk about reverse mentorship. They talk about hierarchies and paying dues and doing the grunt work their superiors don’t feel like doing. They never talk about being asked for their input or their opinions.
I think that’s the thing that differentiates the startup community from much of the rest of the working world: the fact that everyone is looking to grow, to learn something new from anyone and everyone. I see it play out in TechColumbus’ halls every day, and it’s one of the things that makes me so excited to go to work every morning.
I saw it that night at Startup Grind, too. I was surrounded by a group of people who gave up their Monday evenings and drove to TechColumbus to learn something new from Kelly Mooney and the other attendees. And even though I’ve gone to plenty of Monday-evening lectures over the years, I’ve never gone to one where I knew that every person was there because they wanted to be there.
Mooney offered up countless words of wisdom that night, but when I look back, the thing I remember most is being in a room full of people eager to learn something new.
That’s why I’ll be at the next Startup Grind, which is next Monday at TechColumbus. Just like last month, I’ll be going in blind. I know very little about the keynote speaker or the topics that he will discuss, but I know that I’ll get something out of it—from the speaker, from the audience, and from being surrounded by people who have already taken Mooney’s words to heart.
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