Failing for the first time in your 40s

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Nov 20, 2018 3:19:25 PM

When I was in my first startup in 2002, I was trying to convince my boss Milan, the VP of engineering, to let me go to India and set up our offshore development team. I was 25 and had never worked outside the North America. Milan asked me if I’d ever failed at anything before. I said “sure, I’ve failed at exams, at getting some promotions, at getting into grad school etc” but he didn’t react and I felt like I didn’t answer his question correctly.



Topics: career advice

Getting an A for Effort - My New Yardstick to Life

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Aug 17, 2013 2:47:00 PM

Like most people I've had periods of time where I've gone through a slump at some jobs in the past.  I'd often reflect on my various efforts and note that they had performed uncharacteristically less well than I normally would.  I would brood far too much and soon find myself dejected and questioning my capabilities.  However, some time later, in at least one case, I learned information that certain environment variables were not aligned with my efforts.  Or, to put it more bluntly, certain folks in the organization were not aligned with my efforts and their counter efforts were at least partly responsible for my lack of success.  This isn't to say these people were against me; only against my efforts.  This could have been for a valid reason but the lack of transparency in these organizations prevented me from ever knowing the real reason. [1]

Topics: career advice

The most important trait to succeed in sales, and perhaps in life

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 22, 2012 1:23:00 PM

Dave Kurlan recently highlighted one of his old posts on what makes for great sales people.  Surprisingly the best sales person doesn't necessarily have the best closing skills, or prospects consistently, or even builds the best relationships.  Rather it's the person who sells consultatively - i.e. asks insightful questions.  Dave's finding, based on thousands of OMG assessments is absolutely profound, but after a while I began to think what makes someone capable of asking these such questions and why doesn't everyone do it.

Sherlock Holmes


Topics: career advice

How I learned I was arrogant and how that impeded my ability to sell

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Oct 13, 2012 5:42:00 AM

I have always thought of myself as a humble person and, indeed, have never been accused of being otherwise at any place of work in my 15 year tenure.  I've even written a blog post on the importance of projecting confidence, implicitly coaching myself to do the same and stop being so docile.  But recently I realized that I was actually quite arrogant and this single weakness was probably most hampering my sales training.

great scene from good will hunting


Topics: career advice, mentoring

When confidence trumps competence in the workplace

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Apr 30, 2012 9:00:00 AM

Ask any individual what they admire about a leader and invariably their description will include “confidence”.  People love to be around those that exude confidence.  Confidence is the trait that appears to trump all else when leaders are evaluated (and conversely, as I learned far too often during my dating years, “nice guys finish last”).  This makes sense – after all, who wants to follow, or date, someone who is unsure of themselves?  I recall a recent quote from a tech CEO where he said that he values most in candidates creativity, cleverness and confidence.

nice guys finish last

Topics: career advice, start-up

Why Sales or Product are the smartest career choices - but only for now

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Mar 31, 2012 5:10:00 AM

Recently our CEO Brian Halligan said during an employee gathering that there are only two jobs worth having at a company – either building the product or selling it.  The blunt statement has seemingly obvious wisdom, particularly in our tumultuous economy where jobs come and go at an alarming speed, but it left some people outside of engineering and sales feeling queasy about their career prospects. 



Topics: career path, first job, career advice

Work hours and the importance of facetime at work

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Mar 1, 2012 7:33:00 AM

In many companies, particularly fast growing internet startups, there is much talk about flexible hours and how face time is not as important as getting your job done.  Results, not effort, people espouse.  Most people sincerely believe this mantra but in my experience I’ve found that it is not completely true at most companies.

work life balance


Topics: first job, career advice

Luck plays a bigger role in careers than most realize

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Feb 12, 2012 7:30:00 AM

One of the most humbling realizations as I’ve progressed through my career is how big a role luck has played in where I am today.  Many of the pivotal events in my career happened more due to a lucky break than my own doing.  When I tell this to colleagues and friends they think I’m being falsely or unduly modest and indeed I have been told that I undersell myself sometimes.  Well I’d like to recount the biggest break I’ve had in my career and you can decide for yourselves.



Topics: career path, career advice

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses: actually the most important interview question

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Jan 8, 2012 6:23:00 PM

One of the most clichéd interview questions is “what are your strengths and weaknesses.”  Most of us have heard it so many times that we’ve prepared for it extensively.  Often we create a bogus weakness that could be seen as a strength by the interviewer such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m very detail oriented.”  However, as pedestrian as this interview question is, and lately is seldom asked in interviews because everyone knows there’s a prepared answer waiting on the other end, the tragedy is answering this very question is crucial for real career advancement.

Everybody has a real weakness


Topics: management, first job, career advice

Why the US will prevail over China for decades to come

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 17, 2011 4:13:00 PM

When I was a kid I remember occasionally hearing my parents say that I could be anything that I wanted and that I could change the world.  I thought that was cool, perhaps something all parents said because it's the thing to say, but never believe it for a second.  I didn’t even know what I wanted to be much less what I wanted to change the world to.

describe the image


Topics: career advice, mentoring, Education

Career Advice I Wish I Knew Earlier 

Hello.  I started this blog to distribute some of the best career advice I have been given over the many jobs I've had.  I've been fortunate to work for and with some great bosses like Brian Halligan, Francis DeSouzaNancy Kamei, and Rick Roberge, and some unique companies, like The Boston Consulting Group, that invest heavily in making each employee a success even after leaving the firm.

The advice and training I received here stands in contrast to my experiences with some not-so-great bosses and companies I've also worked for.  I'm continualy amazed at how valuable good advice has been in my career so I hope to pass on the good advice, and insights from mistakes I've made, via this blog. 

Thanks in advance for your comments, particularly when you can improve upon the ideas posted.

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