All Episodes Play Ventures Head Of Talent Joe Burridge Joe Burridge

Play Ventures Head Of Talent Joe Burridge


Play Ventures Head Of Talent Joe Burridge Joe Burridge

Venture Capitalists’ Surprising Collaborative Spirit

In this episode, Joe Burridge, Head of Talent at Play Ventures, shares insights on the collaborative nature of venture capitalists, which inspired him to join his current firm. Joe discusses his career progress since 2019, the importance of upskilling through podcasts, and the pros and cons of freelancing and working in startups. He emphasizes aligning with employer needs, the significance of large talent pools, and making the right hires. Joe concludes by highlighting the need to foster collaborative work environments. Key points include Joe’s career evolution, the impact of layoffs, and recruiting trends.

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:05
Welcome to talk talent to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

Speaker 2 0:12
We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

Rob Stevenson 0:22
No holds barred completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment to VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.

Joe Burridge 0:31
Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

Speaker 2 0:39
Talent Acquisition. It’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

Rob Stevenson 0:52
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk down to me. Okay, hello to all of you wonderful recruiters out there in podcast, land, recruiters, sorcerers, hiring managers, directors of TA heads of talent, whoever you are, however, you are coming to the show. I’m so glad you’re here with me. Because I have an extra special guest. I know I say that a lot. This time I mean it. This guest if you are a longtime listener of the show, you may remember him because some five years ago, six years ago, several jobs ago for this guest he appeared on this podcast and we had a great conversation. He’s had a lot happened to him and his career since then. And so we’re gonna hear all about it today. He is the head of talent at play ventures. He is a dungeon master. He is a recruiting Munchkin turned recruiting guests on his podcast, Joe Burrage. Welcome back to the show. How are you doing, man?

Joe Burridge 1:45
I am so so good. I was so hoping you’d give me an intro like that. You deserve it warms my heart. And yeah, it is great to be back to be honest it after seeing that last episode was 2019.

Rob Stevenson 1:59
Yes, we’ve been doing this a long time. We’re all bro.

Joe Burridge 2:03
Yeah, I’ve definitely got more gray hairs since last time. So there you go.

Rob Stevenson 2:06
Luckily, it’s audio no one will see that nobody will know. Well, except for now you told them. But five years ago, we podcasted together 40 minutes ago, we got on to record this call and just has spent the last 40 minutes talking about Dungeons and Dragons and video games and all kinds of other nerdy things. Which you know, maybe that’s for a separate podcast. But just to paint a picture for the listener here. We were supposed to record a long time ago, but we’ve been having too much fun chopping it up. But since we recorded last you were recruiting for Electronic Arts, you have stuck around in in the video game industry. And so I would just love to know a little bit about your career in the meanwhile, Joe, since we last spoke, what’s happened to you? And how did you wind up in your current position?

Joe Burridge 2:47
Yeah, sure. I to be honest, I love that first half an hour to 40 minutes of us just talking away about podcasting, video games, Dungeons and Dragons. So that makes me very happy. We can also talk about my career, and recruiting and talent and all of that stuff right now. So that’s, that’s totally fine. That’s why I’m here. So all good. So what I’ve been doing in my personal life, when we record that episode, last, I had one kid, and I was a senior recruiter at Electronic Arts after leaving EA. And by the way, that role at EA was focused on hiring for their game studios in Europe, studios, like dice with Star Wars, Battlefront and Battlefield and criteria on the Need for Speed franchise, and also a lot with the Frostbite team there. So that’s the game engine that powers games like FIFA, what’s now called EFC, and plenty of the EA Sports games, Dragon Age, and a whole bunch of others. So that was amazing. And seeing how a company like that at that scale functions was fantastic. That was also my first ever job of the games industry. I had some friends move on to Epic Games and Epic Games. Were growing fast that when I joined and there are still 2000. So there’s still a large company, but I saw them triple in size while I was there, and it felt like a rocket ship. And Epic Games. Were one of my all time favorite studios. I remember being at university playing far too much Gears of War Three. And actually, I met my wife at university I remember jokingly saying to her, she was saying like, Joe, you’re graduating in like a month, but what are you going to do with your life? And I just flippantly said, Well, I could just go look at Epic Games can I because I look. I’ve got like 1000 hours and Gears of War

Rob Stevenson 4:30
and the modules are paying me. Yeah,

Joe Burridge 4:33
I actually said that to reality, which is quite funny. It was research all along all of those hours. That’s right, it playing video games. Yeah. So joined Epic Games. I was the second hire in talent recruiting outside of the US. And yeah, like I said, that grew really fast. My role was focused initially on hiring for the Unreal Engine team ahead of the Unreal Engine five launch. If listeners aren’t sure what Unreal Engine is, that is a piece of software Where that helps game makers, filmmakers, and anyone that wants to make anything 3d or 2d Do you guys, that’s what a game engine is an sp software that does that. So launched Unreal Engine five and then focused a lot on fortnight hiring as well, epic makes other games like Rocket League, and also for guys. And so I touched a lot on the games in the engine hiring also became a manager was leading the team. And that was great. So they got up to close to 6000. Unfortunately, they made around the layoffs. And that’s quite up in that last year. But there is plenty of silver linings to all of that, I actually moved straight into a contracting role. After that, for a smaller game studio based in London. They’re called spacey, they do mobile games. Like I said, That was a short contract. And then I found a permanent role here at play ventures. So really different now working at a VC working really closely with founders to help them grow and help them scale. And yeah, just seeing how finance works and VC work. That is a really great learning curve that I’m on at the moment. I also mentioned at the start of this explanation, personal life, I had one kid, I now have three, I have three daughters now, and I work remotely, I’ve moved to the countryside, my life looks like really different from working. When we were talking last I was in the office five days a week. And now I’ve been fully remote for like four years now. So there you go. Something called the pandemic happened. I don’t know if you remember that. But yeah, shifted things up a bit,

Rob Stevenson 6:31
though. The thing with the masks and the shots and the fake Facebook posts. Yeah, I remember. Yeah. Congratulations on your family growing and being dead to three. And all of your your career growth in the meantime, as well. I’m curious, that period of time post layoff pre full time role? Did you always intend for the contracting work to be temporary? Or did you think oh, maybe that’s gonna work out for a little bit?

Joe Burridge 6:31
Yeah, that’s a great question. So as you just clarify something because you’re American, and there’s a lot of American listeners, and they may not be aware of how layoffs work in the UK. In North America, for the most part you get laid off is fairly immediate thing. Thankfully, in the UK, layoffs take a number of weeks, sometimes months. So you’ve got quite a bit of breathing room to figure out what you want to do next. And one of the Epic Games and EA I was very much driven on the climbing as far as I could up the corporate ladder. So great. I’m a manager now, I’ve got a team. And that means growing more reports and going up with the numbers. But at the start of my career on the agency side, and then also in house with a company called huddle works with startups a lot. And also small companies that were scaling fast. But they both are so focused on getting into the industry that I love, which is video games. And so when you get told that it’s like, Hey, you’re going to be leaving this job in two months time. That’s how long that whole process of redundancy took. I thought you know what, maybe I don’t want to keep climbing this ladder upwards, at least for now. I would actually love to bring that combination of working with small companies and startups in games. So the two things I really love doing. So I lit the beacons, so to speak, lit those social media beacons, I was like, right, I’ve been laid off. Here’s how you can help me out. You can like this post, you can rent me a LinkedIn recommendation. And you can also send me job ads that you see. And so that post got like 1000s of likes, and I got flooded with job ads. But one of the really cool things from that was like the space a team saw that they’re like, hey, we need some help recruiting. I was like, great. So I immediately jumped into that. And also one of the other messages, which came weeks later, was that role at play ventures? So to answer your question, the original answer was I set up my own company, I was like, I’m going to be a consultant, I’m going to specifically work with smaller game studios that can really take massive advantage of all my experience. And that’s going to be me, I started setting up like CV or resume editing, service, and coaching, and all these things going on. I set up a company, I was consoling. And then like a month into that contract. The role to play ventures comes along and I was like, Wait, that’s exactly what I want to do. And it’s permanent. I was like, Oh, my goodness, I’ve just gone through all of this effort, setting up my own company and everything. So I you know, I told this basic team, this is like the dream job for me. I’m so sorry, they need to cut this a bit shorter than planned. They were totally fine with it. Like I told them that if something great permanent came along, then then I’d let them know. So that’s where I landed with this role. And I love it because we have close to 100 companies in the portfolio here. And it’s just one of me. So I need to do work that scales and and a lot of that is consulting and helping founders build hiring machines and understanding how to hire for culture and a whole load of stuff that we’re probably about to get into in the next few minutes. And it’s great.

Rob Stevenson 9:47
Yeah, I really enjoy speaking with people in your position the head of talent in a venture capital firm because it’s such a unique way to bring the skill set to market but it does combine all of your previous skills in a way So, I would love to know like for someone who has done both and done both, like kind of recently, what was the shift like going from working in house leading a team, and now you’re more consultative speaking with portfolio companies and setting up their processes? How have things changed for you?

Joe Burridge 10:16
Yeah. And also, at this very point in time, I’m about four and a half months into this role. So the first two or three months, I had to figure out what the job is, during the interview process, I laid out what I thought it was, this is the first time this company has ever had anyone in a talent role. So I gave my best take possible, but I could only really figure it out once I was in the job, actually started speaking to founders, and a lot of it was reaching out to other people, at VCs doing this job, which a whole bunch of them had been on this podcast before. So thanks to all of those people.

Rob Stevenson 10:50
Who did you speak with?

Joe Burridge 10:51
Oh, my goodness. So you’re gonna have to help me with the names here. But, Alison,

Rob Stevenson 10:56
Alison Kaiser. Yes. Thank you. She’s one of the best. Yeah, yeah, it’s great. Also, Kelly, Kelly, canard, battery ventures, I

Joe Burridge 11:04
think at the time, that’s a now she’s at New VC that also begins with the K. And also, and also some, I’ve reached out to all of them, basically, I went through your podcasts, listen to every episode of all of the VC people, I reached out to them all. And if we didn’t have a video call, we had a really good chat on LinkedIn, just bouncing ideas off each other. I also reached out to the other people who do this role within gaming VC, and was like, What is this job? Because it could be a number of things. I think the scale here is you’ve got at one end enablement, right, is purely consulting, I’m not your recruiter, I’m not hiring for you at all. I’m purely helping you learn how to create, let’s call it our hiring machine, like implementing hiring processes, and helping you establish values and hiring against those knowing how to scale hoping for talent planning, even compensation benefits, and all of these bleeding into HR type topics as well. But by no means do you get involved in any way hands on any recruiting activities. There’s one, and there’s plenty of people in that camp. And then on the other end, you’ve got these VCs that are effectively building in house recruitment agencies or in house recruiting teams. And they are that service for their founders, which obviously provides a ton of value because their ROI on their KPIs is like how many hires did the VC make for its portfolio this year. And it’s all in on that. And as I heard all of these different opinions, I was like, I feel like I’m gonna go right down the middle with this, I’ve got all of this sourcing ability that I’ve been doing for like 12 years, I know how to hire every type of role you’d need within a video game studio. So I’ll help with that. I’m not going to do outreach. But I can definitely help with introductions and sourcing and setting up a job board and building a talent network and all this stuff. And then at the same time, I’m consulting, as well. So I’ve been trying to find that balance. So that’s the big difference going from, yeah, recruiting for one company, to now enabling 100, to do good work. And by the way, the reality is out of the 100, maybe somewhere between 20 to 40 have some sort of hiring need at one time. And even in that group, some will have in house recruiting teams already. And they need minimal support some of the way more support. So that’s how it’s good. I’m not working with 100 companies at the same time, all at once. So figuring out what the job was was definitely task number one when I got hired.

Rob Stevenson 13:27
Yeah, of course, I’m really pleased to hear that you were able to connect with some previous guests on the show people who I really, really respect and I’m impressed by by the way, that is the risk of coming on this podcast to as you might get job or edge and your DMS. But just like I I encourage people to reach out to previous guests of the show, because this is not the first time I’ve heard that listeners are able to really network with the guests. And you know, the guests seem to really appreciate it. They really appreciate getting to speak with recruiters. And there’s sort of a selection bias here that happens if you spend your free time listening to a recruiting podcast, I think you’re probably a pretty good recruiter. Right? Like it signals to me that you really care about getting better at your job. And those are the kinds of people that the people I feature on the show. Want to know. So anyway, I just wanted to call that out because I love it. It’s good karma. It’s good Juju. So anyway, I’m pleased by that tickled even

Joe Burridge 14:20
just quick point of that. Totally agree. Also, you’ve been doing this podcast for almost six years now. There is this huge bank of completely free content, that if someone went through and listened to every single episode you’ve ever done by nature of just osmosis through the years, they would just become better recruiters better talent professionals this like you obviously you should be listening to that.

Rob Stevenson 14:42
Yeah, I hope so. If not, what the hell am I doing? What about this job? What if I took every transcript and then I trained my own LLM? And then I had like a chat GPT and it was basically like, if you ask this chat GPT a question. You are asking it Like that is trained on the knowledge shared by guests on this podcast, oh my goodness, anything with that. And then I charge $6 a month for

Joe Burridge 15:07
that sticker even further, like so it’s like we’ve got 1000s of hours of your voice, we could just easily duplicate that as well put that on top. And then you’ve just got this, Rob talent, the system.

Rob Stevenson 15:20
I’ve actually warned people in my life about that. I’m like, Look, there is so much of my voice out there. If someone wanted to spoof me, I bet you it would be not trivial but possible for a dedicated scammer to spoof my voice and like, turn it like you’ve heard the generative conversation between Steve Jobs and Joe Rogan. Right?

Joe Burridge 15:41
Yeah, and the Donald Trump podcast as well.

Rob Stevenson 15:45
Right. And when you know that it’s AI, you can kind of tell like, okay, it’s something’s not quite right. But if you weren’t expecting it, you will probably take you a while to be like, something’s off here. Are the this actually happened? Well, Steve Jobs is dead. So that’s a pretty good giveaway. But so I told him the friends my life I’m like, if I ever call you with a weird need, you know, will ever call you with like, Hey, I’m, I’m stuck in jail. I need Apple Music. Gift cards is the only way for me to get out. Like, if I ever call you with a weird Ask, and it sounds like me like we need a safe word. You need to push back on that because I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being paranoid. But it feels very possible.

Joe Burridge 16:22
definitely possible. And we had talked about before saying that you’ve talked to all of these people. Yeah, the transcript of it. If you could just condense that into the most amazing book ever, or AI? Chatbot? Like, there you go.

Rob Stevenson 16:37
I should read a book. Would anyone buy it? I don’t know. Thanks, Joe. you’d buy it for the chapter title. Joe Burrage. Be honest.

Joe Burridge 16:45
Yeah. Best podcast episode I’ve ever hosted to merge. Yeah. Yeah.

Rob Stevenson 16:51
Okay, we’d have to start the show here at some point. Yeah. So when you joined play ventures, you said you were kind of their first talent, hire they this, this role didn’t exist before. I can see why you wanted to join the company because they’re working as industry and you love videogames, and it was a good fit. But what gave you the signal that you were on the same page in terms of the priority that talent represents?

Joe Burridge 17:14
Okay, so when I was in the interview, one surprising thing that they mentioned to me was, Joe, the reason why we’re hiring this role is because when we ask founders, what support they need, and what advice they want, the number one answer, or the most common answer is, is talent. Either they need help with hiring, or they need help with structure that will help retain talent, you know, identifying, assessing, retaining that whole piece. And they felt like when the VC was smaller than the portfolio size or smaller, they could handle that. But really, once their own referrals ran dry, and was their own limited pool of experience ran dry, they were like, Okay, we need a professional to come in and give some tapes. So the founders of play ventures had both founded their own mobile game studios. And it’s a real USP, for the VC those like, two they’ve individually founded their own studios, one exited to Disney one exited to King, yeah, put their money together, let’s start investing another game studios and put off all of our knowledge of how to do that and really help out rather than in the past, the traditional VC model had been, hey, we’re gonna throw you some cash. And we’re gonna check in every quarter to see if you’re going to return that cash answer, right? It’s purely just, here’s some money, give us more money back as fast as you can. Whereas this is like, Okay, we’re gonna give them some money, but we’re really going to nurture them and work closely with them, given all the support they need, which funnily enough is a much better way to get return on investment. So yeah, that was the first one, like, okay, so there was a real need there. But secondly, I think the reason why I’m in this industry is because I love videogames, obviously, I love playing games by, I think, just love the art form. I love hearing about how they’re made. I love meeting all the people within the industry and how they do that. And the whole company was small, but really lean. And we all have been industry for some time, and we will really understand it. The games industry is just growing and has been growing really fast for years. So it’s a smart area to put your money to invest in for but it’s like, the two founders made the point that we don’t have to do this. We exited our own companies. We could just be on a beach in the Bahamas somewhere right now if we wanted to. But no, we’re here because we want to be in here because we really enjoyed doing this work. And I was like, great. Me too. I want to be a part of this gang. So that was the second thing. I think lastly, there was just I could really tell through the interview process. And that turned out to be true is that everyone that I spoke to were like really keen to hear my ideas and given me the freedom to create it, including the role itself. It’s like Joe As you can define this role, wherever you feel like the most value. And so I feel like someone that has a lot of ideas typically add, I often need to partner with someone who can contain the energy, which is definitely my manager is great for doing that. But there’s a lot of freedom, a lot of like, if you have a cool idea, just do it and evaluate it, which I love the speed of that. I loved working in Epic Games in EA, but naturally, when you work at a large corporate things, need approvals and can move a lot slower. And you just need to be able to navigate that. So it’s incredibly refreshing to remove those shackles and, and work with some like minded folks with that. So if I was going to add one last thing on that, I think it’s just the opportunity to work really closely with founders, again, like the leadership team. And if you’re talking about who’s the most passionate about video games, it’s usually the people that are happy to take massive risks to build their own companies to do that. These are all incredibly smart people, especially from the technical side, they could go and money in a whole bunch of different ways. But they’ve decided to do it by building their own video game studio, which is a creative medium, and comes with a ton of risk. But I really, really enjoy speaking to those types of people and and really helping those types of people I’m in a role where one hire can mean the difference between the company surviving and not like a recent example, I helped hire a CTO at one of our portfolio companies, and they were unable to fundraise with that gap in their leadership team, hiring a CTO meant they could fundraise to secure the capital they need to and obviously, all the technical expertise means they’re going to actually go on to ship their game. And so then it’s just like, Oh, if that game then goes on to be successful, and the team successful, everything else, like I can really, really see that impact. I had there introducing a whole bunch of great candidates for them. And they hired one and that leads on rather than hiring a potentially one of 1000 person team. So

Rob Stevenson 22:01
there you go, that is a great example, Joe, just it’s just such a good reminder that the stakes of not hiring are existential. It’s rarely, like live or die by this one higher as it was in the case of that CTO, but it can happen for sure. And this is probably why play ventures brought you in is because at a high level at the C level. And at the venture level. These people understand that like, Look, if we don’t make the hires, we won’t ship we won’t succeed. And so if you’re out there listening, ever feel like you’re being deprioritize, you need to remember this stuff that the company lives or dives by its people, and the people come and go by your work. Never forget that I want to try and be inspiring here in the middle of the episode. But in the case of the CTO, it’s so interesting that they’re like, Yeah, we are just getting stonewalled by venture like we can’t, we can’t raise because we don’t have this higher. Did you get any more feedback? Like I guess it makes sense, like, Oh, you’re making video games, you’re in a tech sector, you don’t have a CTO? What are you doing?

Joe Burridge 22:59
So they had the CTO, and then they decided to move on the runway for funding. So just go like they were in a period of time where they’re fundraising. And at that point that CTO decided to move on. So then it’s like, Okay, we’re gonna, we’re impossible situation. So that was an interesting challenge of going out there finding someone who is obviously technically capable from just do the leadership skills, do they have the technical skills to be a CTO? And then also convincing people to be like, Hey, do you want to join this company? They could not exist in three to six months time. I have and you have to, obviously, you have to be so blunt with it, you have to be really upfront front with people about that. That happened. And you know, the type of people that are like, Yeah, okay, let’s, let’s do it more that these are the types of people that are obviously made for startups, right. On that note, this is a nice segue into just something that I find quite interesting is that it’s a really obvious point to say not everyone’s right, for a startup, or for a small company, in the same way that not everyone’s right for a large company. But you come across these myths all the time about, oh, this person’s only ever worked in large companies, therefore, they’re not fit for startups, or this person only ever worked in startups. They’re not fit for large companies. Obviously, those absolutes are not true. But with all of the spikes in layoffs across the games industry, in tech industry, in general, you have finding so much more people are open minded to startups because they need a job. And so that’s a little bit of advice I’m giving to founders. It’s like, yes, there’s an abundance of talent available. But you need to be even more honed in to hiring for culture than ever before, when you’ve got such a variety to choose from, which is a tricky thing to say. I mean, I’d love for everyone to be getting jobs, but even still, he might try. I don’t want people joining the startup just to like move on six to 12 months later, because they made a bad choice, but they give

Rob Stevenson 24:55
Yeah, it’s not for everyone and no company is for everyone, but I like how you call doubt, you need to be upfront about something like the runway of the company, when you are hiring the CTO, the more specific you are about, like, you know, warts and all with a company, even if it’s not perfect, that feels like it engenders trust, you know. And so this is just how to make sure someone’s right. This is going beyond Can I get you to say yes? Versus can I find you something that is actually good for you? Right?

Joe Burridge 25:23
Yeah. Because a lot of these small companies and startups it’s, there’s seemingly more risk? Very rarely do you just come across a company where they’re like, Okay, all of the numbers go up into the right, it’s an absolute no brainer, we’re gonna pay you a ridiculous amount of money to do this job. Yeah, there’s no very rare, perfect scenario. So there’s always like, the trade off. Is that okay, do it. Why does this company even get VC funding in the first place? is a good question to ask, like, what did the VCC in this team? And what does it still see in this team? Because there’s still, you know, why are we still supporting this team? Like, Joe, why are you even introducing me to this team anyway, but you must believe in him as in some sense. So there’s a lot of that and explaining just the value add opportunity, and also, obviously being really open about the risk. Because if you’re not open about the risk, and they get there, and they figure it out, then that’s just even more damaging that they just move on, after a short amount of time.

Rob Stevenson 26:15
Yeah, you’ll never be able to put them in another position again. And I’m like that they’ll never trust you

Joe Burridge 26:19
know, exactly. So I do love building out this Talent Network, spend a lot of my time just talking to really talented people and building up a database with the idea that I say to them, I don’t have a role that suitable for you right now. But I can really imagine one coming up soon. So let’s chat. And so I’ve grown our own database from zero to now have about 750 people in that and growing, and then, you know, kind of video call and screen them and share these the best profiles around with all of our founders, but it’s for opportunistic hiring opportunities, or offer live ones as well. So that’s a fun way of bringing in talent and having these conversations as well.

Rob Stevenson 26:59
Yeah, that is this more thoughtful version of this role, right? This getting away from just in time hiring, where, okay, the role is open, I gotta fill it. I’m going to build pipeline, cold pipeline full of people who I’ve never met before. And hopefully I can get one of them in in time, versus that approach you just outlined of like, I don’t have a role for you, but you seem really talented. Can we speak? And I feel like if no one’s answering your LinkedIn, DMS, about a role you have open right now, maybe that version is a little better, that version of like, I have no ask for you. I have no need, I want to get to know you a little bit because maybe something comes up down the line. And I feel like candidates are maybe more receptive to that. Has that been your experience?

Joe Burridge 27:41
Yeah, that’s been a big change. This the type of people that are proactively getting in touch with me, because when you’re looking at hiring for these high risk, early stage, small companies, really the cultural assessment is so so important. So it’s like, okay, yes, you’re looking for a software engineer, or a marketing manager, or whatever it is. But you’re shrinking down that pool to be like, Okay, how many of the people in the world can do that job, and also willing to jump in and be a good fit within a small growing company like this? So I’m constantly just putting the feelers out there to be like, firstly, who wants to join a company like this? Who wants to join an early stage VC backed company? Because it’s not for everyone, not everyone was interested in that. So many more people are interested in joining EA and Epic Games, To be honest, the big brands, Big Reach, people know their products. But then it’s like, hey, what about this company that has no website, and hasn’t shipped a product yet? And all this sort of stuff. So I’m constantly trying to first find the people who would fit the culture and the mission and everything else, find them. And then it’s a case of like, okay, let’s match make when something comes up, because those types of people are also usually not proactively job searching. And they’re like, Hey, I’m happy to wait until something awesome comes along. I’m like, Great, okay, that might be next week, that might be six months from now. And so that’s where a lot the, and that’s where a lot of value comes in. And that’s where a lot of the fun is, I find because I just have an excuse to go around speaking to all these awesome people that will come to fruition at some point in time.

Rob Stevenson 29:17
Yeah, I’m glad you said that. Because that’s why a lot of people are in this space. If you really enjoy getting to speak to people, and learning about their goals, and what they want to do, and if you can put them into that position down the line that feels really, really good. And this by the way, this long term process is relationship building. There’s understanding at a deep level someone’s motivations and career goals. AI can do that, you know, like, AI will not take that job away from you. And even if it could, why would I as a candidate interface with that? Why would I be like, oh, yeah, I’m going to put my career goals in the hands of open AI is LLM, right? Why would you do it? You And if it was really good, why would I do that? And so I’m talking to Joe.

Joe Burridge 30:03
Yeah. And what really surprised me as well, is that how network driven the whole world of VC is, and you’ll always see it in his business books, right. But I’ll give you a really specific example, I didn’t realize that. So many of these VCs are like buddies with each other. And they all help each other out, like, it looks like from the outside, then they’re all competing with each other, like, who’s got the best investments and who’s investing in what, but really, it’s a case of the reality is that a company will receive investment from multiple companies. And they’re all sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other. Because, for example, say you’re a VC, and you feel like you found this incredible team. And you’re like, right, I can only invest X amount, and they need, why. So I need to go out and speak to convince all the other VCs to band together with me and help them out. And so there’s a lot of collaboration. And I really love that because I mentioned that stop this podcast episode that’d be reaching out to all of these other VC talent people. And they were like, Yeah, Joe, like, whatever you need, just let me know this, share candidates that share ideas as to all of that. And I love that because I spent so much time in recruiting being like, Oh, don’t share your secret sauce with other companies, or you’re all in recruiting, but you’re all competing the war for talent, or whatever people like to say, I’m there. Like, there’s no secret sauce, we’re all doing the same thing. Just different companies. Can we just like, like, all the software engineers go to conferences and share all their coding expertise with each other and all their technical ideas? So it’s like, how is it okay to share product knowledge amongst the industry, but not the talent knowledge that always blew my mind a little bit. So I’m glad that I’m in a part of the industry now where it’s really encouraged to, for us to talk to each other.

Rob Stevenson 31:44
Secret Sauce is a myth. I think, like there’s proprietary data and whatever, and patents and those kinds of things. But well, one, a patent is public, first of all. But yeah, it’ll be in my experience, people who are really, really high operators, really, really productive people. Ideas are a dime a dozen, oh, yeah, do this, this, this and this, and this execution knows what’s hard. Anyone can come up with an idea. It’s like, can you actually do the hard work of bringing it to market? So that’s been my experience with people have been very gracious with their knowledge with me. And I find that people who are protective of it don’t seem that interesting.

Joe Burridge 32:20
Rob, this is why they are the perfect podcast hosts, right? Because you’ve just, you’ve just done a perfect segue into something I wanted to say, well, first of all, I agree with you. And secondly, another surprising thing, which are kind of embarrassing, I found it surprising, because intuitively, there’s going to be obvious, but still, I thought VCs were on the hunt for ideas and products, like, Oh, my goodness, this product is gonna change the world. Right? No, it’s all about the people that came up with the idea and people that have the built those products, because it’s your right, like, there’s so many ideas are out there, you’re investing in the team, because what happens with startups is that their first product probably fails. They may go through all this failure. It’s like, does this team have the grit and the intellect and the passion to pivot and create something successful just out this get? And so if it’s like, if you’re just investing in products, products or not businesses, products, or just products like that a business is your capability to form a structure and a set of rules that will create success? Routinely overtime, right? And so you’re finding these people that can do that? And I was like, oh, yeah, obviously, especially in the early stage part where they haven’t shipped anything yet. And you can’t see the data. So of course, you’ve got to really focus in on who the founders, what their chemistry was their background, and all of these other factors that go into that. So Thanks, Rob.

Rob Stevenson 33:45
Yeah, hey, you’re welcome. Let’s end the podcast with me being praised. That feels good. Book and hear it, Joe. Man, this is so fun chopping it up with you. And we could probably go for another hour, but we might veer back into Dungeons and Dragons here and that should probably be offline.

Joe Burridge 34:02
Yeah. And we’re coming up to optimal podcast time as well. Of course,

Rob Stevenson 34:05
right. We are creeping up on optimal podcast length as I like to

Joe Burridge 34:08
say the US the line I messed it up.

Rob Stevenson 34:12
Easy hear get your own podcast. Yeah, this has been this has been fun, man. Thanks for being here. Congratulations on your career growth and of course, your family growth as well. That’s really, really exciting to hear. So I’m really glad that you came back and you were here today. It was awesome. catching up with you.

Joe Burridge 34:26
Yeah, I love speaking to you. Thanks for having me back on. Hopefully I’ll do it again sometime.

Rob Stevenson 34:31
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