I paused a little bit and told them that I would like to work as a software engineer and further train my programming skills and hopefully learn some business along the way. However, the NOC interviewers think that my technical skills are good enough and what I really need is to train the business skills. I thought for a while and then responded,"I believe the importance of the distribution of different competences/abilities in the team. It's no good to have someone to know a bit tech and a bit business but not good at either of these two. I envision myself to be a CTO in the future but my programming skills are not good enough. So I hope to further train my programming skills. Of course, it would be good to know some business stuff so that I can better communicate with my partner in the future decisions ". One NOC alumni seemed to be unsatisfied with the answer. She said," I just couldn't understand why you are already very good at programming but still want to further improve the programming skills rather than something essential as an entrepreneur like business skills."
I asked back,"If I choose to work as a business guy, will the company in Israel accept me?"Another interviewer said, "Yes, it depends on you and the company. You can talk to the company saying that you would like to do 30%business and 70%programming." Another NOC alumni even suggested that I can consider doing a 100% business internship there. He shared the role of a growth hacker, who uses creative ways to help companies to grow. He also shared a lot of information regarding the benefits of knowing both tech and biz.I thanked them, but still couldn't decide. After thinking twice, I knocked the table and said,"OK, if that's the case, I'll go for it". One of the reason I want to explore Israel is to know the process of how the R&D products become real marketing products. However, the question is hard to answer. I ended up saying that maybe Prof.Ben knew me better. They may refer to Prof.Ben's testimonial. They said Prof.Ben haven't submitted the testimonial yet. I bet Prof.Ben is viewing this blog. Prof.Ben, can you help submit the testimonial ASAP, thanks.
After the interview, I went back to COM1. I happened to see Wang Sha who went to Israel last SEM. I asked her the question whether I shall work as a tech guy or a biz guy. She said of course tech guy coz "The fact is that you are working for the company. They would like you to work something out for them. If you are not good at biz, you can hardly meet their needs. " She also shared that some entrepreneurs told her that business is the hardest thing and they don't worry about programmers at all, as programmers are "cheap". She guessed that might be the reason why the NOC interviewers would like me to think more about the the business side. I also gradually realize why some of my previous contacts don't respect programmers enough when I personally still believe that programmers are among the greatest people on earth.
[ appendix: I had dinner this Wednesday with one of my friends who just came back from CITI bank Hong Kong. He is an investment banker graduating from SMU this semester and he will be working in CITI Hong Kong the next year.
His thoughts seemed to be beyond the age. He seemed to be very clear about his future, working hard in the bank in his young age and then retire early to enjoy life with his family. But I feel very uncomfortable accepting many of his thoughts. Firstly, he seemed to be very unsupportive about my plan of becoming an entrepreneur. He laughed at me and argued that my thoughts are just too naive. It is like getting a million dollars lucky draw, the chances for making a killing app and then making a lot of money are just too rare. I said it's a good timing for the software developers,even a kid can make a top-selling app. He again said that's just too rare. Either you are the next Bill Gates, or you just get too lucky, but he himself never believe in such things called luck. Then I said, it took a lot of failures to become successful. I'll keep on moving even I fail for 99 times. The CEO of the drawsomething app CEO 20+times before getting succeed. Then he argued that I will never be able to afford 99 times' failures. He even calculated for me the money I will be earning from work and the money I will be lo sing when fail for once/twice/etc. It will make the life of my family miserable when fail for twice or even more. Those who follow you will suffer a lot. Being an entrepreneur is very risky already, why are you making it even more risky. You should get prepared and then make the right move. Why don't you make one right move and never fail. The mindset of failing a lot of times then succeed is just not right. I didn't argue back as he was just too demanding.
He also argued that my career as a software developer would be shot. There would be plenty of smarter juniors competing for the job when the brain gets less powerful in say 5 years. You get fired, but will you do then? I replied immediately," start my own business". He then laughed, "You have no experience, no contacts, no money, etc. Why shall people work for you? " I replied with a weak word," trust". He laughed again and continued, "There are just too many talented software developers, why should they choose you? " I replied with another weak word,"luck". He waved his head, "So disappointed, you should first think of your competence". Then I said," I didn't quite a number of software projects". He said there're a pretty of people who has done so too. Then I said," I've been to many countries and worked with different people". Not many people has done the combination of both two. He said there are lots of such people. You should think of your competitive advantages. What's the difference between you and these people? You should be developing skills, like business skills that distinguish you between those people.
Yes, I get challenged. I guess he wouldn't be the last guy to ask these questions. Many people will doubt . ]