Within an hour of buzzing myself into the B7 office for the first time, I managed to get myself fired. B7 Inc. is a venture capitalist firm whose mission is to find, vett, build, and market emerging technologies, and I was to be their new summer intern. I walked in a nervous wreck and made a series of awkward mistakes from the get-go. For one, I wasn’t sure how to greet people when I first met them and suffered several failed attempts at handshakes and arm-pattings. Then, after meeting everyone, I instantly forgot all of their names. When things looked like they couldn’t get any worse, I realized that I had forgotten to explore the link to the B7 CRM Peter had emailed me days before. When asked about the B7 CRM, I had to reveal that I hadn’t looked at it, he patted me on the back and told me to “go home.” Devastated and shocked, I didn’t know what to say. I really thought it was all over. Ashamed, my hand inched slowly towards my phone so I could call my parents and tell them to come pick me up. But then, Peter asked me to have a private word with him.
Because of my lack of experience in the workforce, he decided to give me a second chance - one that I will eternally be grateful for. However, that didn’t stop him from being harsh as he talked to me about the importance of a firm handshake and of always coming into work prepared -- and not just on a first day, but everyday. None of his words were malicious, only constructive, and I hung on every one of them. He taught me a critical lesson for the business world and for my entire life, and that is to be vigilant in whatever I do.
The next day, and each day after, I was a vigilant intern. My mission was to help find emerging technologies in the Washington D.C. Metro Area and the Silicon Valley, and I took my mission seriously. As I thoroughly researched these start-up tech companies, I was greatly inspired by their innovativeness, and I was challenged by how to properly evaluate a company’s potential for growth and disruption in the market.
At first I was puzzled, and I would constantly question myself as to what makes a startup have “potential”. I realized that a startup is a complex machine with many functioning parts - and for that machine to run smoothly and be successful, all parts have to be strong and efficient. If even one piece of the machinery isn’t working, it can compromise the whole thing. In today’s market there are so many more factors that affect a start up’s potential. These factors include the leadership, the market trends, competition, relevance, and innovativeness. This world is constantly innovating and “6 months has become new 4 years”.
This amazing opportunity has helped me to emerge as a critical thinker and, hopefully, a future leader in the business world
Giancarlo Estrada is a rising senior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, MD. He is a member of the Varsity Soccer team and the Wind Ensemble. In his free time he enjoys playing soccer and traveling. He hopes to pursue a double major in finance and computer science in college.