Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What makes us happy

Cool interviews on what makes us happy from TED.

Here is a video from Martin Seligman on positive psychology. He also wrote a great book called Authentic Happiness.

Monday, September 22, 2008


One of my favorite programs is ScreenshotCaptor. Basically it is a little tool for taking screenshots of your desktop.

Normally you can press 'prtsc' or 'print screen' on your keyboard and it will snap your entire desktop. But, if you just want a part of your screen, by turning on ScreenshotCaptor and pressing shift+prtsc, a little cross shaped icon will show up and you can select just part of the screen you want.

It will then give you the option to put the image into your clipboard or other places. It is great, convenient, easy to use and free! : )

I've been using this program for 3+ years now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Review of Flip Video Camera

At work the other day, my coworker showed me his Flip video camera.

That thing is pretty cool. It is very tiny, about a little bit bigger than a cigarette box or similar in size to an ipod classic. He just pressed a button and recorded a video himself pretending to pick his nose. Hehe.

Anyway, there is a little USB mini-connector and you can plug the camera very easily into your computer and transfer the video. Wow. So quick and easy.

I thought it was a pretty cool gadget and really reminds me more of Clayton Christiansen's work on disruption. This little simple gadget is definitely a low end disruptor. It does not have half the features of most video camcorders but it is cheap and functional. I think it is opening the video recording market to a whole new segment of users who were not going to buy an expensive camcorder anyway. I think they are getting the non-consumers. Flip apparently has 13% of the camcorder market and has sold 1 million units.

Video demonstration from MindBites:

You can get a Flip Camera yourself at Amazon for $115.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Posterous is really quite cool

I just discovered posterous. I love it. Posterous is a blogging website that uses email as an input device. This is totally in line with my view that email should be integrated with our lives.


Basically you just send an email to post@posterous.com and they make a blog in your name at http://yourname.posterous.com. The content of your email becomes a blog post? Isn't that awesome?

If you attach images, they upload the image to the blog. If you add video, they transcode it and put it up. If you add a link to a YouTube video, they embed the video. If you attach an mp3 file, they put a player right in the page.

Wow! I think they've got the user experience just right. People want a "duh, it just works" solution. Keep it simple stupid!!

I have been trying to get the 'post by email' function on this blog to work for a while and it is just sort of a pain. I've been reading code, messing around with account settings..

Posterous is also trying to get integration with other cool web 2.0 services working. Basically you can set up other accounts like Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. and if you email to Posterous, they will autopost on the other accounts for you. They make it so easy.

Another interesting feature is they have followers and following ability. So you can see what other posterous users are following a specific blogger and whot they are following.

I am really impressed with them.

I guess in terms of feedback, it would be nice if you could customize your template so that your blog doesn't look like everybody else's. Basically they all look the same.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordpress Upgrade and Some Great Plugins

I did some site upgrades recently with the following tools...

WordPress Upgrading Instructions - Extended Version

Yes, I had to use the extended instructions. Unfortunately for me, the automatic plugin did not work. At all.

I backed up my site first. I had to do this manually since for some reason my old backup plugin just wasn't working. I had to go to myPHPAdmin to backup the database and then I just copied over all the files from my Wordpress install folder.

I used Filezilla, the open source ftp client to do the file transfers

Then I just deleted almost all the files and unzipped the newest Wordpress version of 2.6 into the folder.

I unfortunately forgot to deactivate my plugins, but luckily they are still functioning. Hurray.
(I am sure that is not the right thing to do.)

That is about it. It was actually really simple.

Then, oh, I installed the following plugins:

  • All in One SEO Pack. This plugin is supposed to automate a lot of the simple things you should do to make your site more search engine friendly. It is kind obvious stuff like putting the topic of your site inbetween the title tags. Or filling out the description. the nice part is it automates it! Yes!

  • Google XML Sitemaps. Again this is supposed to help search engines figure out what is on your site. Really easy install and no problems so far.

  • Related Posts. I wanted to install this since I want to make sure it is easier to surface similar blog posts. I am just a lazy person and do not want to have to figure out which other posts might interest you manually. I think this is great because it will do a keyword analysis and find similar blog posts. This is all in the vein of content discovery a la Aggregate Knowledge or Choicestream. I am a big fan of content discovery.

  • Post Ratings. This feature lets users rate the postings. Unfortunately since I sadly do not have many readers right now, there are few, if any ratings. However, I am hoping that will change one day and then I can put the top rated posts in the side bar!

My favorite plugins Top 10 and Clean Archives remain. Although I think there is something wrong with the numbers in the parentheses in the archives after each post.. what the heck are those numbers??

Oh well, a problem to deal with another day.

(And BTW some kind of spam bot like inserted all this crap into the footer of my page. It was so shocking!! I had to delete everything.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Opinion on Better Place

I met a woman the other day who is working at Project Better Place. Actually the company is just called Better Place now.

Ex-SAP bigwig Shai Agassi launched the company and the goal is promote widespread adoption of electric cars using EXISTING technologies. Basically he wants to reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil.

He has already got Israel and Denmark signed up.

I guess, props to him for having a big hairy audacious goal. Although, I sort of think he is insane. There are huge huge infrastructure costs to what he is proposing. It is not clear to me that he is going to make a return on the investment required and is just going to spend massive amounts of capex before he even starts making any kind of money. That sort of makes me nervous, since projects like that tend to explode. (Remember Iridium?) He has raised $200 million, much of it from a wealthy Israeli businessperson.

He is trying to create a whole ecosystem himself and is partnering with lots of players to do so. He has partnered with Nissan to develop an electric car. They are going to put in a "smart" dashboard that will calculate how far you are going and whether or not you need more energy.

Then within the car, the electric battery is going to be swappable. Basically consumers can charge at home or if you are on the go and need more energy, there will be recharging stations located everywhere for you to swap out your battery quickly. This is supposed to overcome the current problem of short distance for most electric cars (sub 60 miles) and time typically required to recharge the battery (several hours.)

Consumers will pay a subscription fee similar to a phone bill or something for energy usage. I am not sure what the monthly fee will be, but let's say it is something comparable to gas today. If you spend $50 per week today to fill up your tank to get around, then maybe it will cost like $200/month subscription. But consumers will not need to own the batteries, deal with battery purchasing/storage/discarding and instead are getting a service.

I am a big proponent of products turned into services, since I think that creates better accountability for whole life cycles of products and provides an incentive to use better technologies as they emerge. Plus there is a nice recurring revenue source for the service provider. :) Customers just specify the end usage they are looking for (e.g. energy for their car) and the service provider figures out the best way to give that service. Maybe today the best source is gasoline, however, if things change and suddenly bio-ethanol or whatever becomes cost effective, the service provider will transition over to that. The consumer will not have to make that decision. Plus today, when you are done with your electronic gadgets or products, oftentimes consumers just toss them out creating an incredible amount of waste. One thing I see a lot of is used computers. I imagine they could be useful in a recycle capacity for other electronic goods or even for people in developing countries. I just think there must be a better way to get used/discarded goods to people who need them.

Anyway, sorry, I just went on a tangent there.

So Shai wants to basically build this entire ecosystem from SCRATCH. I think there is a chicken and egg problem and he is just getting around it by spending big bucks. Kind of like if you build it they will come.

Some issues I see:

1. Replacement cycle of cars. Consumers are not going to upgrade to electric cars immediately because most households already own 1 or 2 cars. Probably if consumers buy a new car every 5 years, then only a fifth of cars will turnover each year. (I think this is sort of an aggressive assumption BTW.)

2. Catch-22 with charging stations. And when making their purchase decision, consumers will want to see the charging infrastructure already in place, otherwise, they will not buy the electric car. That infrastructure is going to be incredibly EXPENSIVE. And it will not pay off without consumers with cars utilizing the charging stations. So either you just spend all the money to put in this infrastructure or you don't put it in, but then consumers will not buy the cars.

3. Danger of technology obsolescence. Researchers in many labs are working to come up with better battery technologies, better fuel technologies, etc. What happens when one of these comes out and totally obliterates the expensive infrastructure you've built based on today's technology? If/when batteries can carry a charge supporting a car capable of travelling 350 miles and/or can be charged quickly - say in 5 minutes, what will you do with this car charging/swapping ecosystem?

4. Small geographic footprint limitation. I think this sort of idea works best also in small geographic spaces. In the bay area or in many parts of the United States, things are too spread out to justify such an investment. I think it may work in Israel or say Hawaii, but if you are in Texas and the closest town is 100 miles away, what will you do?

Although I sound like a grouchy, negative pessimist, I do applaud Shai for having a big vision and doing his best to change the world in a positive way. I think we need big thinkers like him who are able to mobilize and inspire a large group of talented people towards an important goal.

Unfortunately, I just feel as though this particular initiative is fraught with problems.

For more information, check out this Wired article about Better Place and Shai Agassi. A writer followed Shai around for an extended period of time and chronicled the going-ons.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good Books to Read

Some recent additions to my Amazon reading list. These are things that I sort of want to buy/read but feel like I need to save money or something before I do.

1. The Bootstrapper's Bible: How to Start and Build a Business With a Great Idea and (Almost) No Money by Seth Godin
I'm interested in reading this because I'm contemplating starting my own business and I think it would be great to bootstrap it, or fund it through customer sales versus raising equity from external sources.

2. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
I sort of find his blog annoying sometimes, but, whatever, he has written a lot of interesting things about starting a business and even created one with very little money and sold it.

3. The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us by Robert Frank and Philip Cook
I am really interested in content type businesses and marketplaces, and I've found that certain markets are totally winner take all. For example, auction sites like ebay or classifieds like Craig's List are sort of winner take all markets. It is more beneficial to users on both sides of the platform if everyone goes to one place.

4. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Black swans are not supposed to exist. So when you see one, you think, impossible. Totally rare, unlikely. Unfortunately, in today's world black swans happen more often than you think. The events of September 11th, the bailout of Fannie Mae, how should we think about seeingly rare events? He takes a psychological approach, and I'd really like to get through this book - someday! I picked the audio version because it is great for long car rides and or lazing around and learning at the same time.

5. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
I was just in LA and experienced horrible traffic. It is so weird how places are only 20 miles or so apart, so not actually geographically distant. BUT, it will still take an hour to get anyplace. I think our existing modes of traffic are totally due for an overhaul and I'm interested in reading this book to figure out the psychology of our driving patterns.

6. The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen
The author discusses the rise of "non-professional" content, like user-generated content and how it's hurting our society. I am not sure if I agree with him, but given cheaper and cheaper methods for creating and distributing content, I think this topic is totallly worth thinking about.

7. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
I feel like this would be a useful book to read since health and diet are very important. The author goes through our industrialized diets and assesses the lack of nourishment.

8. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson
This book discusses how a standardized container ship resulted in the flattening of the world. I think it makes sense. If you create standards and make it easy to ship stuff, no matter WHAT it is, then transport should become a lot more efficient. I think it would be interesting to learn about how this all came about.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lead Generation

I really like this blog post on lead generation and sales:
"1. Try what’s worked before. Look for patterns of success, ask your clients for advice and ideas on how they have been approached by other professionals (even your competition) to find out what worked and what didn’t.
2. Experiment and adapt. Some trial and error learning is inevitable as you try to master lead generation. Develop a plan and use multiple tactics.
3. Don’t let up. Be consistent. Try to do at least one lead generation thing every day, even if it is something small, that will help you get into a conversation with a prospective client. If you use calling, resolve to make an extra call a day before you leave. If you do networking, resolve to meet one more person at an event."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Review of Earth: The Sequel by Frank Krupp and Miriam Horn

I've been doing research on CleanTech lately and read Earth: The Sequel. If you are a newbie to this area like me, I think it is actually quite a good read.

I have been contemplating going into green tech, and given all the media buzz and hype around the topic, wanted to see what the hell was going on and determine whether or not it is just hype and BS, or if there is actually something interesting going on.

Well, I do think there is something interesting happening, but I don't know if I believe that a lot of the exciting new venture-backed cleantech companies are going to make any money. A lot of these companies need significant amounts of capital just to prove out their technology and unfortunately they will NOT be signing up customers until they have a product to sell. And even though a lot of these technologies are cool and interesting, they are just not cost competitive as compared to "dirty" sources such as coal and oil.

Actually, it makes me recall something Vinod Khosla said at a talk I attended. Basically, with energy you have three tradeoffs - cost, reliability, clean. His view is you can have 2 out of the 3, but not all 3. I think that observation is just spot on.

I feel as though a lot of the things discussed in the book will only work once there is a carbon cap trading system in place. And yes, that is likely, I guess, but I don't know if you can assume that. I think I have those sorts of feelings with a lot of non-fiction books. Especially if they are written more by laypeople versus PhDs or researchers. One of the authors, Fred Krupp, is the president of the Environmental Defense Fund. So yes, he does have some biases and asumptions. I think he spent a lot of time talking to Kleiner Perkins about what's going on, since a lot of the companies he describes are Kleiner portfolio companies.

Some of the areas he discusses in the book are:

  • Solar power including solar voltaics and solar thermal

  • Power from the ocean and center of the earth

  • Biodiesel players including algae and ethanol energy sources

  • Energy efficiency

For more information, check out Amazon's page on Earth:The Sequel

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Post Office Visit

I went to the post office on Market Street kind of by Civic Center in San Francisco. It was weird, since there was this lady who must have been some kind of customer service representative.

Her only job was to walk around and ask people if they need help. Gosh, is that a cost-effective usage of post office funds? How much could a person get paid to do that?

She would just sort of grab people from line and ask them, "Do you need help? Do you need help?"
It was kind of annoying, to be honest.

I waited until I was halfway to the front of the line, then she grabbed me and directed me to the APC. Then she hovered over me to make sure I knew how to use it, which, I do! I just forgot about it...

How to do a networked job search

I've had to do a networked job search several times in my life... and honestly, I had no idea what I was doing when I first started. Hopefully this will help you if you find yourself jobless and jobhunting.

1. Be patient. Finding a job takes time.
Expect to spend about 6 months (on average) before you land the job of your dreams.

2. Write down your goal/dream job.
I think it is helpful you write down a vision of what your perfect job is going to be. Be as specific as you can. That way, when the right opportunity presents itself, you are able to recognize it immediately and respond appropriately.

If you don't know what you are looking for, write that down too. Basically, come up with a goal. Maybe you are wondering whether a career in advertising is right for you. Or whether you should go into screenwriting. Whatever, just know what your goal is.

Be sure to go back and refine your goal as you continue meeting people and networking.

3. Make a list of companies and people you are interested in.
I created an Excel spreadsheet and put down every single company in the space I wanted to work in. I then tried to locate a person within the company that would be relevant for me to speak to. I found people by several sources.

  • Company website. Go to the company's website and see if there are employee names. Usually companies will list their top management or other professionals.

  • LinkedIn. Search your connections on LinkedIn to see if there are people in your network that work at the target company.

  • Alumni database. Go through your school or former employer's alumni database and search for people that work at the company of interest. You might also search by industry or by city/state.
    I usually like to target recent graduates first, because they are closer to your situation and often just went through a job search themselves. However, talking to older graduates works as well. Actually I tend to like going very young or more senior. Younger people because they are more similar to you. More senior people because they might have more free time (especially if they are nearing retirement) and because they might be interested in mentoring a eager young person. Do what you are most comfortable with.

  • Trade associations. A lot of people are members of trade groups. Find the trade group for your target industry or profession and see if you can find people to talk to that way.

  • Your friends. Tell people about your job search. Tell them what you are looking for. Most of the time they will give you some ideas of places and companies to look. Or good people to talk to. You will be surprised at how even the most random people might have good suggestions. Seriously!

4. Make initial contact with your target.
Set some sort of goal for yourself in terms of the number of outbounds you want to do per week or per day. I usually try to send out one or two emails a day. If you do too many, you will have too many meetings and not enough time to research properly. If you do too few, you will not have enough new conversations.

I usually do this through an email. I will send an email to the prospect with something very specific in my subject line and usually trying to reference something we have in common.

For example, I will put "From [school name] Graduate". Or I will put "Referred by [person name]". Basically you want to entice your target into opening the email from you.

Read the biography of your target and try to come up with a way that you are connected to the person. Maybe they have a hobby similar to yours or they have experiences similar to yours. Other areas of commonality might be school, former employer, mutual contact, etc. The more you have in common with your target, the better. You can Google their name, look on LinkedIn or read their website biograpihes.

For example, one time I contacted a person who also is passionate about the paperless office. He had purchased a Fujitsu SnapScan, and I had one too. So in my email to him, I mentioned my scanner.

My favorite is to have a friend make the connection. If a friend can introduce you over email, your prospect is more likely to respond. Again, LinkedIn works great for surfacing unknown connections. If you can even just get the name of a person who you mutually know, that will also increase their likelihood of responding.

(If your friend makes an introduction, respond IMMEDIATELY. Your friend is doing a favor by making an introduction. Be responsive! Write back right away and thank your friend for the introduction. Propose a next step or meeting.)

Figure out their email address. If you don't know it, try different combinations. Usually email addresses are something like the below for a theoretical Jane Smith:

  • format example

  • first.last@company.com jane.smith@company.com

  • FirstInitialLastName@company.com JSmith@company.com

  • LastNameFirstInitial@company.com SmithJ@company.com

  • firstname@company.com jane@company.com

  • lastname@company.com smith@company.com

  • last.first@company.com smith.jane@company.com

  • firstlast@company.com janesmith@company.com

  • first_last@company.com jane_smith@company.com

  • lastfirst@company.com smithjane@company.com

  • last_first@company.com smith_jane@company.com

I would try sending one email at a time to each of the above. (I am sure you can come up with more variations to the ones I've listed.) If the email doesn't go through, you will usually get some kind of bounce error or something from their email server. Then you can try the next email variation on your list.

What do put in your email:
Keep your initial contact email brief. I try to limit it to 3 paragraphs.

In my first paragaph, I introduce myself and explain why I am contacting them. Always have a reason why. Maybe you want to ask them about their career and their company. Also mention in the first paragraph what you have in common - again that might be school, former employer, interesting hobby, anything! Tell them what you are looking for. I tend not to be as blunt as saying "I am looking for a job from you" but instead will say "I am looking for a job in xyz and am interested in asking for your advice on how to approach a job search in this area." Flatter them. You want to talk to them since you think they are will have interesting and helpful information.

In my second paragraph, I will put some background on myself. This will be a few sentences on where I went to school, my prior work experience, some relevant skills. This should be sort of a mini-pitch for you.

In my third paragaph, I outline next steps. I say I'd like to get coffee with them for 20 minutes and ask them for career advice. I provide my contact information and thank them for their time.

5. Wait for them to respond.
Sometimes they take a while. This can be discouraging. If you don't hear from them in 2 weeks, you could try re-sending your email with a "I know you must be extremely busy, but..."

Or you can try to find another way in. Look for another person you know in common and see if they will introduce you. Lurk around where they might be (of course, do not stalk your target.) Create situations where you will run into them, say at a conference or networking event.

Don't give up! Most people are nice and they want to help others. If you are persistent and sincere in your efforts, they are willing to help.

You can also try calling them. I usually do not do this, but it depends on the situation. Call them early in the morning before their assistant has arrived. Or call them later in the evening, after their assistant has left. I would recommend only leaving a message 1 time. From then on, just call and try to reach them but don't leave a message.

6. Schedule a meeting.

Basically they respond to your email or other efforts and agree to chat with you. Usually I try to as quickly as possible transition the scheduling to their assistant. I find that going back and forth with your target on a time can quickly be annoying/tedious for them and it is better if you can work with their PA to find a time. Assuming you are actually contacting multiple people a day, your schedule is busy and you might not be able to make the first time suggested, although I try to be as accommodating as possible. (That means I have done early morning breakfast meetings, which is painful, but necessary.)

Also, I think an in person meeting is best. But, phone is okay if that is the only thing possible. Be flexible.

7. Prepare for your meeting or phone call.
Do your homework! This step is really important.

Know why you want to talk to this person. Have a goal.
Don't just talk to them and be unfocused and all over the place. What do you want to know from this person? How can they help you in your search? Figure this out AHEAD of time.

Look on Google News or Factiva for information on the person, their company and the industry. Know what is going on.

You do not want to waste their time OR your time.

8. Go to your meeting prepared with questions.
This is how I usually proceed.

I start with a short pitch on my background and what I am looking for. You want to give the person context and you also want to begin to "sell yourself."

Then I ask them:

  • Tell me about your career path to date. How did you get to where you are?

  • Why did you choose to do [xyz career] instead of other career paths?

  • What do you do on a day to day basis?

  • What do you like best about your job?

  • What do you like least about your job?

  • What is your advice to an aspiring [xyz]?

  • Is there anyone else you would recommend I speak to? [Asking this question is great because one meeting will lead to another meeting.. this is a great way to increase your contact base.]

Also, demonstrate your knowledge. If you did the step above, you did your homework. You know stuff about the person, their company, the industry... demonstrate that you know what is going on!

9. Follow up!
This step is critical. Usually I write a thank you note the day of or the day after the meeting. I reference some of the things we discussed in our meeting and I thank them for their time. I also mention any follow up items. A lot of times, the target will have brainstormed a few ideas in terms of firms that are good, persons to meet, industry associations to join, etc. If they said they would make an introduction, follow up with them to remind them!

I also state that I'd like to keep in touch with them and also ask them if there is any way I can be helpful to them.

10. Stay in touch
This is also very important and difficult to do. Basically you want to remind your new contact of your existence and desire for a job in their field without getting on their nerves. You basically want them to **remember you** if/when they hear about a job opportunity in your area of interest.

Great things to do include:

  • Sending a relevant article if you see one

  • Staying up-to-date on news about them, so you can send them a congratulatory note (assuming the news is good of course!)

  • Pinging them with relevant news on you, especially if your status has changed

  • Introducing them to other people which might be helpful for them to know

  • Sending them links to interesting research

Basically you want to be helpful to them, while reminding them about you.

I think sending an article or note once every month or two is a good timeframe. More than that and you might get annoying. Obviously you will have to figure out what works for you.

11. If you do get a job, update them!
Thank them again for helping you and let them know what you are doing.

Addendum. I know I didn't mention anything about the actual interview and getting a job part. Usually what happens is one of the people you've met over the course of this networked job search comes across a job posting and thinks of you. It might be a job at their company or it might be at another place. They will forward the posting to you and either invite you to interview or they will recommend you somehow.

Then it is showtime. Time for you to go in for a real interview for an actual job... and fingers crossed, you will get hired!!

The sad, hard part about the networked job search is that it is not like an on-campus interviewing process where you get a lot of visibility on your progress. There is no round 1, round 2, etc. Instead, you are slowly talking to lots of (hopefully relevant) people and one day, randomly, a company will decide they need someone - just like you! - and you will find out about it. But, it does feel like random shots in the dark. There is no visible feedback that you are actually getting somewhere. At all.

But don't get discouraged. You can do it!! If you really are passionate about an area, it may be hard in the short term, but eventually you will succeed! Really. I believe it.

Yes, there might be cold days of rejection. And times when you feel like you will never get there. But you totally will! By doing this process, you are learning what it takes to succeed in your field of interest. You are finding out what skills and experiences people in your chosen career have and you hopefully are trying to figure out how to gain those skills/experiences to make yourself a better candidate.

And you are also paying attention to the exceptions to the rule. This is important if you yourself are trying to become an exception. (An example of this is trying to get a job as a private equity professional if you do not have investment banking or consulting experience. Yes 80% of the people in the industry have banking or consulting in their resumes. BUT there are exceptions. Who are they? How did they get there? Can you be like them?)

Another note for career switchers: I would try to find people who are like you in terms of switching their careers. So if you are a marketing person trying to get into finance or vice versa, I would seek out people who made a similar switch to get their advice. How did they make the change? What did they do? (And probably, these people will be more open to hiring someone like you, since, well, you are like them!)

And sometimes unfortunately, you do have to work for free. If you REALLY want something and it is impossible to get in without any experience, it might be worth doing some volunteer work or an internship just to get the right keywords in your background. Just remind yourself this is temporary and all in your long term plan for worldwide domination (or whatever it is your final goal is.)

Or you end up having to do a job (short term) that will give you more relevant experience, contacts or whatever to get into the your career of choice. Yes, that sucks. But.. suck it up. It is okay. Just keep your long term goal in mind. There must be a good reason why everyone thinks you need to do investment banking right? And if there isn't, find the exceptions! Be an exception!