One of my favorite activities is recognizing people who create great works. I truly believe that our economy and society have become far too distracted with “intermediaries” of all types: bankers, lawyers, consultants, etc. As Brad Feld emphasizes, these intermediaries are merely supporting roles – he calls them “Feeders” – and Brad rightfully encourages people to focus on empowerment of the entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and creative talent that are at the core of our innovation economy: people who build things.
One of my favorite movie clips is from Pretty Woman. After realizing the error of his private equity slash-and-burn ways, Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) emerges from a locked conference room where he’s committed to supporting his partner James Morse (Ralph Bellamy) despite the pleading of his lawyer Philip Stuckey (Jason Alexander), who clearly doesn’t care about anything other than the fees associated with getting the deal done. James Morse brilliantly says “Mr. Lewis and I are going to build ships, big ships!” It’s not about collecting fees – it’s about creating and building something of real value: build ships.
Celebrating people who build things is essential. This was my primary motivation in backing a great start-up in San Francisco: We Created It. Founded by two incredibly talented entrepreneurs and designers – Hari Srinivasan and Jim Fell – We Created It has a mission “to help people get credit for what they create – alongside their teammates.” If you’ve ever been part of a team that made something special, I think you should know about this. It’s unnatural for me to back companies that are not in Cambridge, but I make exceptions for exceptional people and companies. We Created It is one of those exceptions.
At its core, We Created It is a beautifully designed and simple way to collect the products you’ve worked on. But it goes way beyond just showcasing your products: it galvanizes teams around the products they make together. Check out our KOA Labs project on We Created It. We love it.
I believe the time is right for We Created It, for several reasons:
- Traditional signals (company, title, school) on resume networks are losing trust, and it’s an expensive problem. We Created It solves this problem with an innovative “attribution platform” approach. We Created It cares more about what people make than where they work. The site is creating a powerful new data set of valuable signals (what you made, how, with who) that matter most to product people and hiring managers.
- Traditional long-tenure jobs have long been on the decline, giving way to shorter company stints and more project-based work. Studies are suggesting that upwards of 35% of millennials have started their own businesses on the side and will have 15 to 20 jobs over the course of their working lives. Imagine trying to make sense of that resume! It’s getting more difficult for an increasingly large segment of the workforce to keep and present a cohesive, linear story.
- Past solutions for attribution have always been time-consuming, cumbersome and unsearchable. We Created It makes it dead simple to get credit for your product, often by just pasting a link. I don’t think the traditional solutions will be able to scale.
- There’s something uniquely special about the culture on the site. It’s honest and collaborative. The tone of makers helping makers is unlike any other network I’ve seen – and amazingly, most of the thousands of users have come through people inviting teammates to take credit with them.
- I believe in the We Created It team. They’re passionate product people (Jim is a former teammate at Goby) and know how to capture the attribution problem. Like so many of us, they’re proud of what they make and they deeply value the teams they work with.
If you’ve made something great and want a beautiful way to get credit for it, check out the site, create a project and give credit to your teammates. They’ll probably thank you for it.