I spend a lot of my time engaging with high school and college students. And by far, the number one question I have to answer is "How do I become a VC?". The answer to that question is usually a little long winded, but what I stress is that every person starting their career in the modern economy is already a venture capitalist.
Cultural phenomena like the television shows Shark Tank and Startup have driven home to people that that there is a venture capital world that drives the startup world that didn’t exist ten years ago. Countless people are working on a startup of their own hoping to be successful and someday be a venture capitalist that works on the other side of the table. But all of this mainstream activity fails to realize the key element that should drive everyone’s career: we should all be venture capitalists who are analyzing opportunities and making bets to build wealth.
In the early stages of a person’s career, he or she should focus on making bets with the time, flexibility, and energy he or she has. These bets should be focused on opportunities where knowledge and domain expertise are garnered. Once this domain expertise builds a person needs to start making bets on things that gain financial wealth. Apply the knowledge and expertise so that it can be channeled on wealth building opportunities. Once financial wealth is accumulated, bets need to be made on future generations and high growth chances that will multiply the gains of the first two stages.
All three stages require a person to act and analyze the world the way a venture capitalist looks at investments. Focus on the people, places, and industries that have the greatest chances to yield true wealth. The modern economy is not about finding employment it is about creating mental, emotional, and financial wealth.
Every person needs to understand the value proposition analysis that all VCs have to do when they make cash investments. It is in this due diligence that success can be found and it is in those efforts you should guide all of your professional interactions.