Eugene Fernandes

This week on Career Crashers, Jeremy is joined by Eugene Fernandes to talk about how to make a pitch to launch your career!

Eugene is a Crash user and recently accepted a role as growth manager at Podscribe.

Jeremy and Eugene talk about Eugene’s job hunt and break down everything from how he found companies to how he landed a great opportunity with Podscribe.

“If you want to make an impact, you have to stand out. And you can’t stand out unless you provide something of quality.”

Eugene also shares his advice for others setting out on a job hunt based on everything he’s learned on his journey.

Related: Career Crashers Podcast: Make Crash Pitching Easy & Fun

Also Related: Career Crashers Podcast: What Employers Really Want in a Job Application

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P.S. Don’t forget to give the show five stars (or six)! 😉

Show notes – Using Crash to Make a Pitch and Launch Your Career

  • How Eugene translated his degree in Philosophy into marketable skills
  • Side projects he started to increase his online footprint
  • How to find really interesting companies
  • Thoroughly researching a company and its founders before starting to make a pitch

Connect with Eugene

Full Transcript: – Using Crash to Make a Pitch and Launch Your Career

Isaac
Welcome to Career Crashers, where we tell the stories of those who are not content to wait around following rules and hoping for good things to happen. Great careers are found. They’re forged.

It’s time to crash the party.

Jeremy
Eugene is a proud calgarian and a proponent of a concept called anti-fragility. He just accepted an offer to join PodScribe as their head of growth. Eugene, welcome.

Eugene
Thanks for having me on.

Jeremy
Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure watching you on the Crash platform. Before we get into you know how you’ve used Crash and how you discovered PodScribe and everything, I would love to know kind of your backstory. You know what, what brought you to Crash? What were you doing before?

Eugene
Yeah, well, all throughout university I actually found out about Crash through Isaac Morehouse. I was trying to teach myself Latin four years ago, and I found Derrick McGill’s video on the subject, and he had a whole bunch of other stuff just got a job at practice. So then I started watching all of the Praxis videos on there, and I kind of fell in love with the philosophy behind it.

And I never had the balls to actually drop out of college for a year, and try it out. But I really appreciated the philosophy behind it. And it’s something that I’ve picked up. So when Isaac left to start Praxis to start Crash, I liked that as well.

And when I graduated, I thought now’s the time to try and, and get in and see what that’s like.

Jeremy
And what did you graduate in?

Eugene
I graduated with a degree in philosophy, political science and economics.

Jeremy
Okay, and how did you think about applying those to the job hunt?

Eugene
I didn’t really. I think what I did with many of the jobs that I applied for was I highlighted my writing and researching skills, which philosophy and economics, all three of the disciplines taught me along with my thesis that I wrote on the GDPR, which is Europe’s attempt to protect people’s data. I’m going to turn that into a book pretty soon, hopefully, on Amazon. But I just emphasized my writing and researching skills, and I knew a bit about data protection as well. So if it applied, then I I use that.

Jeremy
So I guess a better question is like, how did you think about? How did you think about translating your the the subject matter that you majored in in college and university to the job market? I mean, did you expect to get a job in one of those three areas? Or did you know that you were going to have to do some sort of translation work to go from degree to open roles?

Eugene
Well, to be honest, I don’t think I went in wanting to learn how to write but I didn’t expect to use the knowledge that I got from any one of those three disciplines. In my future career, at least directly, no one’s hiring a philosophy major, for example.

All throughout university, I knew that I wanted to do or be in the same startup space that Praxis was in along with Crash, I guess. And so I’ve been doing things on the side, like starting my own blog writing everyday or trying to developing SEO tools and learning how to use them, things like that, just getting into the space. So I when I when I graduated university, I would hit the ground running.

Jeremy
Now, I mean, I remember when you first joined Crash, and started to make a pitch, like I mentioned earlier, your pitches have been outstanding, like, you know, when you we were teaching, stay under two minutes and hear you were coming in and being able to make a pitch video that is 5 to 6 minutes that didn’t feel like five or six minute videos at all.

I mean, it was in your you’re very well spoken and you’re very well researched, or like you just you just like it’s it’s not hard to listen to you talk for five or six minutes. And I can imagine that as a hiring manager. You know, normally we say, yeah, keep it under two minutes, but here you are breaking that rule and creating excellent pitches. So how, how is that? I mean, how did you approach pitch creation?

Eugene
So actually, let me just say, You’re being too kind. The first person I pitched at Bonsai she, I asked her for criticism, because they had already put out offers to other people and she said, seven minutes is way too long man, like that’s just way too long. And I think I’ve since then, I’ve tried to make a pitch around or below five minutes because it you can’t ask for that much time from a recruiter.

I think Isaac said that job hunting is a lot like dating. And what I tended to do was just fall in love with the company, both to convince myself that I wanted to work there, and to learn more about them.

So what I would do, for example, is listen to any podcasts that they have, check out who works there, find out their origin story, try and find what problem it is that they are trying to solve all of these questions I tried to answer. And then I looked, after doing my research, I looked at what I had in my bucket of experiences that resonated with their mission and their values and how I could create value and what I could do.

So then from there, I created a project based on both of those two things. And then I made the video following that.

Jeremy
And you’ve you’ve been one of the few Crashers who has actually created a custom project, a custom value proposition for each of the companies, or almost all of the companies that you’ve that we’ve seen you make a pitch, a lot of times people will sort of link to their podcast or link to their blog or something like that, which is cool.

But we wish that more people would take advantage of just like starting to do to create a little bit of value from nothing from scratch for a company that you’re pitching. Talk to me about that.

Eugene
I just felt First, if I were to go back, I would probably not spend as much time falling in love with the company and spending time trying to make a pitch. I would spend maybe like a whole day on trying to make a pitch just to learn about the company. And then to write it down. You start to streamline things afterward.

But I had time, so it was fine. Yeah, I just think that if you want to make an impact, you have to stand out and you can’t stand out unless you provide something of quality, even if Crash is surprising, or or new because of the video format and stuff like that.

If everyone starts to do it, you still need to stand out. And I think that creating something unique will make the person on the other side feel like they are treated specially.

Jeremy
Yeah. Now let me ask you this, how have you gone about discovering those companies? That’s that’s one of the biggest things that a lot of job seekers struggle with, right, is they they focus on job boards, almost exclusively. And so we try to teach, you know, we’ve created a couple Twitter lists, like follow these people follow these companies.

But you were doing that, for I created those lists. So how have you gone about discovering companies that you might eventually fall in love with and make a pitch?

Eugene
I actually looked at job boards as well.

Jeremy
Okay.

Eugene
I looked at we work remotely angel.co or Angel list.co. And I just looked at which jobs were coming up there. Just googling things like startup jobs, tried to find places that were that had remote workers and were willing to take on remote workers.

Because a lot at the time I was in Cologne, and I wasn’t really sure where I would be living come September. But yeah, I would look at Angel, I would look at these job or job boards online, and then I would see which companies were there. From there, I would look at the company themselves. And if I liked the company, then I would think about starting to make a pitch. So yeah.

Jeremy
And what was it about PodScribe specifically? Well, I guess before PodScribe, we can we can segueway into that a little bit more. What common traits have all of the interesting companies had?

Isaac
That’s a good question.

Jeremy
To what to whatever extent you can answer that.

Eugene
Yeah. Well, it first I think that they, the interesting companies, all of the ones that I applied to, most of them were very interesting. I wouldn’t be spending time on starting to make a pitch if I didn’t find them interesting. Think that what really matters is the spirit of the founder of the CEO to see what kind of person he or she is, whether they appreciate the hustle and and whether they’re real, real entrepreneurially blooded people.

I also really liked it when a company was changing stuff up when they were shifting around when they’re creating something revolutionary. So for example, supercast company I’m a big fan of now. They are basically planning on replacing the whole pay podcast model by creating communities instead of advertisements as a way of funding a podcast and I absolutely love that. Because that can go a whole bunch of different places.

You can make newspapers out of that instead of reading a newspaper You listen to a podcast for five minutes in the morning and you get your daily dose of the news. It’s also revolutionary in that you are replacing universities. No longer do you have to pay $500, to hear a kind of boring old man lecture at you for an hour and a half, you can go and listen to the most interesting lecture in the United States or in Canada, for close to nothing.

And it’s just the really revolutionary people who are taking on old outdated industries that I found the most attractive and who I wanted to work for the most.

Jeremy
Okay, so you talk about founder spirit. So obviously, you’re discovering the company, and then you’re going to their website, maybe going to their Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, finding the founders. First of all, how would you go about finding the founders? Is it usually on their on their careers page or about page?

Eugene
Yes, I would go on to their about page. And then I would Google the founders name. And then I’d look at their Twitter and their LinkedIn and stuff like that, and go on YouTube as well, to find out more about them.

Jeremy
And by the way, were there any that you weren’t able to find much on the founder?

Eugene
Well, with Hello Bonds, I would say that it was a bit difficult for me to find a lot of stuff on them on that. I think that some founders make it easier than others, they have paper trails, others don’t, that’s fine. Doesn’t mean that they’re in competence at all.

But I, it’s, it’s if they have more content online, then it’s always more interesting to learn more about the person at the head of the organization.

Jeremy
Totally well, and that’s, that applies to job seekers too, right, which is why we tell people you know, build that paper trail, like, don’t be anonymous online, like own what the web says about you. And especially if you have a name that isn’t incredibly unique, you know, you’re competing with other people who share your name, and you need to really sort of take ownership of that name so that when a potential hiring manager recruiter or whatever may be Google’s you that not only can they find you period, but that you control what they find.

So talk to me about PodScribe, specifically, because you mentioned super cast. So this is a second company that’s in the sort of podcasting space, what was it about them and about the founder that really interested you?

Eugene
What I, I really, first they were in the podcasting space, you’re right. Second, I found out about them through the Crash Slack group, and the opportunities page, where Isaac, and you also post these opportunities at different companies. And I saw that PodScribe was a really young growing company, they were looking for someone who could wear multiple hats. And I thought that is the perfect role for me.

So I reached out to Isaac, who got me in touch with the recruiter got me in touch with Pete, who is the founder of PodScribe, and we chatted with each other. And what really drew me to them was the fact that there was a lot of opportunity for growth, especially when you’re the first hire of a company at all, you will be expected to wear multiple hats.

One day you’ll be in sales the other day will be in marketing, their day, it will be in customer success. And what it does is it really teaches you the basics of how businesses run and how each of these functions are all important in their own way. So it gets you competent at all of them.

Jeremy
It sounds like you You got some face time with Pete, before actually pitching. Did you did you make a cold pitch? Or did you make a warm pitch? Cuz I know you pitched them, right?

Eugene
Yes, I did. I was able to make and send a warm pitch to Peter. By the end of our first conversation together, he and I roughly agreed that we would be working together. But I just wanted to seal that deal and make a pitch either way.

So I was able to make the shortest pitch I’ve ever recorded two and a half minutes to Pete and and then he watched and he loved it. And we’ve been in business ever since.

Jeremy
So talk to me about sealing the deal after starting to make a pitch. I mean, what did you do? Obviously, the goal was to sort of like prove like, hey, in case you forget about me after today or have any second doubts or whatever, like, I just really want to like lay it on thick that I’m here and I’m chomping at the bit.

Eugene
Right. Well, no, actually what happened was when we finished our first conversation, it it was it was generally accepted that we would be working together, but the only remaining question was salary.

And I felt like it would also be kind of awkward to just say, this is how much I’m worth, look forward to working with you. So I wanted to make a pitch as well, just to let him know what value I thought I could bring to him and to PodScribe, so that was helpful.

Jeremy
So so to really feel confident in that salary negotiation.

Eugene
Yes, as well as as tell them a bit more about myself by being able to make a pitch, because we had just, I had just sent over my resume. And, and I didn’t know a lot about the job itself, because it wasn’t, there wasn’t a page on the job, in the Slack or anywhere online.

I only found out about what the requirements for the job were in my conversation with Pete. So after he told me what those requirements were, I was able to drill down and get specific and show how I could provide value for them in specific ways.

Jeremy
Okay. And and what was it about Pete specifically? He mentioned, you know, the, the founder style, or I can be exactly what you said earlier, but like, what was it once you had a chance to actually talk with him? how did how did, how did you become sold?

Because you can be very excited about a company and then talk to the founder and be like, Oh, never mind. So what was it in that conversation or getting to know Pete a little bit that really made you feel confident other than it’s the right role for me?

Eugene
Well, first, what struck me about Pete was that it was a really chill guy, you just felt calmer when you’re talking with him. And I like that, I think that well, running a started. But running a startup is pretty difficult, but it helps if you have your nerves down, and you’re calm as a person.

And secondly, we just got along. I think both of us were interest interested in similar books and had similar visions of what PodScribe could be like. And so I figured he would be a great person to go into work with.

Jeremy
Nice. Well, obviously, I can’t ask you about what it’s like to work at PodScribe yet. So we’ll have to have you back on to, to see how it’s going in a few months, because that’s one of the one of the segments that we do. But let’s let’s talk about you a little bit more. So you have a podcast called letters from a contrarian.

Eugene
I do I do.

Jeremy
Give us like the, make an elevator pitch are like the one liner of what this is for?

Eugene
Sure. There are many different people who go against the grain and who are constrarians. Sometimes they do great things, sometimes they don’t do great things, they might just be annoying or provocative. In other cases, they come up with innovations that the world has never seen before, but the world really needs.

And so I wanted to learn about how to be the latter, rather than the former. So I interview people who I think are contrary in one way or another. And I try and take away from the conversation how I could be more like that. And how anyone listening could be more like them.

Jeremy
And are you? Are you selecting guests who are contrary in in the latter way only?

Eugene
Yes.

Jeremy
Okay. How do you? I mean, other, you know, besides the obvious, how do you sort of go about making that decision? Because obviously, there’s a limited amount of time that you could be spending talking to contrarians. Yeah. How do you how do you pick the finalists who get on the show?

Eugene
Well, it’s more like whoever is willing to come onto the show when I send out an invite. But I just I send them a Twitter message, or I email them and I say, hey, do you want to come on? And they’ve I haven’t gotten a reject from anyone, actually, but I haven’t been asking really high level people either.

So I’ve been really lucky to speak with the people I have so far. And and the more people I speak with the more of a reputation I get for being a great podcaster. So they also want to come on to the podcast as well.

Jeremy
Absolutely. And what are what are some of the things are a couple of interesting things, whatever comes to mind. What have you learned about being a successful contrarian, and from these conversations so far?

Eugene
I think you have to be unapologetic to a certain extent. If you have a position, you’ve just got to dig your heels in and stand by it. If you’re not willing to do that with a position then you should probably rethink it. Or consider the arguments if you’re afraid of the arguments before you put down your foot and say no, this is what I think here’s why. I and I, I think that’s very important.

And and another thing that I have learned is that even if you’ve feel like you have lost your life because of something you’ve said, many people are getting canceled, for example, and I’ve interviewed many of them too. And you might feel like you have lost your life because of that cancellation.

But you also gain a whole bunch of new opportunities. You meet a whole bunch of new people, and your life generally gets freer as a result of it. So, so stand your ground and and look forward to what comes up on the other side of the tunnel. I think Yeah.

Jeremy
You know, Chris Hurd, the founder of first base. No, I mean, if you haven’t seen him on Twitter or anything. So he’s he’s a huge contrarian. And as a part of forward thinking city, you know, Matt Sherman’s forward thinking city. I, he did an AMA, and because I’ve been following him on Twitter for a while, one of the questions that I wanted to ask him and got the chance to ask him was, how do you think about building an audience on Twitter, and ultimately, like using that as a, as a customer acquisition strategy for you know, by building an audience of startup founders and startup employees on Twitter, because all of his tweets are about remote work, and about how the office is dead?

And I’ve called him out a few times on and I’ve said, I don’t think everybody wants to work remote 100% of the time. I think there are definitely people who want who thrive on being in an office. And I think that a balance is the ultimate answer.

And so when I asked him this question on the AMA, he says, Yeah, of course, I don’t think that offices are going to completely disappear. Of course, there are some people who like to work together in person. Those kinds of statements are not interesting on Twitter. If I post something like that, you know, I’ll get a few likes. And nobody, nobody argues about it. I’d much rather post an extreme stance and generate some very interesting discussion.

Eugene
Oh, no, that that reminds me of something else, I would say to other people, who would kind of call me out for not thinking through things or thinking about the other side, it’s that, you know, you can really save yourself a lot of time, if you just put forward your opinion, and then hear what other people have to say about why you’re wrong.

Because that saves you the trouble of finding out what they will say anyways. And then from there, you can take those opinions and then reformulate your own, and then come up with something stronger, you’re just outsourcing your research. So it, Twitter is definitely a good place. I guess you could say to do that, you just have to keep your eyes peeled for the gems who actually are willing to give you solid critiques.

Jeremy
Yeah, like that people are willing to keep it real.

Eugene
Yeah.

Jeremy
Okay. What advice do you have for job seekers who don’t have their own podcast, and who may not have a degree in philosophy or economics or whatever it may be. From what you’ve learned, from Isaac and Praxis and Crash, and this whole experience, what are sort of the main things to focus on to get hired quickly doing something that you’re excited about?

Eugene
I would say one thing to keep in mind when starting to make a pitch is that you’re not just applying for one job. And there won’t just be one set of eyes looking at your application, you’re also applying to a company. And you’re also applying to a network of people. For example, the person I spoke with before I spoke with Pete, his name is Quinn. He’s a graduate of Praxis. And at the end of our conversation, he said, Oh, let me know also, if you have any other friends who are looking for a sales development role, because I know lots of other people.

And it was at that point that I realized that I’m not just applying to PodScribe. I’m not just applying to work with Pete. I’m also showing other people what I’m capable of, and how I can create value.

So even if you don’t get the job right in front of you, you might get another job from another person, three months down the line, because someone you had pitched was really impressed by application and wanted and think, and you might not be great for the job at the moment.

But there might be another one that popped up that would be perfect for you. And so that’s where you can really create a lasting impression on a network, not just a recruiter by being able to make a pitch.

Jeremy
It’s amazing. It’s such a long game. And it’s such a I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of infinite games.

Eugene
I’ve heard of it by James Course. Right? Or the he just wrote about it. And that’s it. But I think I think I know what you’re talking about. You’re not just playing to win one game you’re playing to win the set of all games, and there’s different ethical imperatives that come, depending on which game you’re playing. And you should play the infinite game.

Jeremy
Yeah, so my infinite game is is sort of akin to a positive sum game, or just positive some concept of positive sum. Which is like, there’s not a winner and loser, there’s you and what you’re doing and everybody else in what they’re doing. I’ll have to off the refresh myself on it that I get most of my philosophy from Seth Godin. So I can’t speak to too deeply on it.

But Yeah, I mean, okay, so I guess the last thing is like, what would you like to? I mean, you got hired as head of growth at PodScribe. Obviously, you’re very new there. So like, there will be tons of questions in the making, to ask you down the road about how that experience is going and what you guys have learned and everything, but like, to the best that you can answer this question right now. What’s in store for you?

I mean, PodScribe is one company. When you know, you said you want to write a book? Yeah, like, like, who is Eugene Fernandez in like, five years.

Eugene
I’m not too sure. Hopefully, I’ll have paid off all of my student debt by them. That’s my, that’s my one goal. I would like to continue growing my podcast and speaking with more people, finding out more about them, and then writing a book based on my interviews, I want to know, we’ll see what happens.

I’m not too sure. I think all I’m focusing on right now is just picking up the opportunities right in front of me, and working on them as hard as I can. And then looking at what comes up in the future, and then taking them as they come.

I’m not one to plan super in depth, because I find that planning usually doesn’t get executed because the world changes faster than your perceptions of it do. So you just have to play the long game and be and look out for a serendipity when it arrives.

Jeremy
That’s fantastic. Well, thank you so much for having this conversation with me today about how to make a pitch. If listeners would like to join, you’re trying to join your network, aka, just get in touch with you and kind of see what you’re up to or start a conversation, maybe learn more about what you’re working on. Or just like what goes on in your brain. What’s the best way to get on your radar?

Eugene
Definitely DM me or follow me on Twitter because I spend way too much time on there. My Twitter handle is @EugeneFDS. You can tweet at me add me on LinkedIn. I don’t check that as much as as as often. But go on to Twitter and add me on there. For sure.

Jeremy
I know. It’s it’s such a it’s such a beast. It’s such a great time suck, though. I mean, it’s like so many smart people that are very active on Twitter.

Eugene
And and the other thing is that like Twitter is a really, you’ve got to make sure that you are curating your feed like you want to curate your mind. I unfollowed all of the politicians I used to follow a couple of months ago, and now I just follow entrepreneurs.

And I just find Twitter to be such an encouraging place where you feel like you need to get off your bum and try things now. And it really helps to be surrounded by good people on Twitter, especially if you’re addicted to it.

Jeremy
Especially. Well, once again, thank you so much for coming on.

Congrats on your new role as head of growth at PodScribe and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Eugene
Thanks for having me, Jeremy.

Jeremy
It’s been a pleasure.

Isaac
Like what you hear? Go to crash.co and join the career revolution. Do you want to share your own career crash story? Send it directly to me at isaac@crash.co.

If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, don’t hesitate! Email Joel at Joel [at] Crash [dot] co.

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