MonthAugust 2016

Getting Ahead With Richard Milnes

Getting Ahead With Richard Milnes…

Tech startup founder and project leader. This week I talk to Richard about his transition from a single man startup in his University room to an ever growing team where his tech skills are becoming redundant. Richard talks about his transition into a management role and how he has adapted his way or working and learning. In the full-length version, we go into details about the startup environment, tech startups and founders, and how best to get ahead.

A Message to Recruiters

Dear recruiter,

If you aren’t headhunting University students, you’re missing out!

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a university student and would love for some of the big name companies to headhunt me, or because I’ve been listening to the autobiography of Elon Musk and heard about his recruiting tactics, that I felt an urge to write about this.

When sourcing the best, young engineers for SpaceX, Elon Musk contacts teaching assistants or college administrators to ask for the details of engineers with good results and a passion for building things outside of their academic work. On several occasions, he offered jobs within weeks of first hearing a student’s name.

Why? Because university students are unique…

1 – They can be moulded

A student with little experience is not yet ‘set in their ways’, they can’t use the phrase “oh, we’ve always done it like that”, because they have never done it.

This was appealing for Musk in a unique aerospace company that was breaking all the rules. A new recruit wasn’t aware of the rules and so had no concerns breaking them. He could influence their style of work to suit him – this was more valuable than years under their belt in his opinion.

2 – They aren’t tied down

No house, family, only some (student) debt, and freedom to move. It’s a lot easier to hire and move new graduates than it is to ask a recruit from another company to move homes with their family to join your company.

3 – They have lots of energy (most of the time)

The right students will work tirelessly. Maybe longer hours, maybe multiple jobs. They want to prove themselves and will do everything they can to prove it.

This might pose the issues that it can be harder to keep young recruits entertained, but if your company is good enough and the role is flexible, that problem will solve itself.

4 – You might not get a second chance

You can build loyalty by showing faith and providing an opportunity. Whether you want to hire to retire or just utilise young recruits for their creativity whilst they’re fresh, if you miss your chance to get yourself known, it may not come back around.


Of course, in many cases, there is no substitute for experience, but if you’re looking for people to work hard and bring in new ideas, you’ll find those people in University. But don’t always expect them to come to you, you need to go to them.

Getting Ahead With Alex Somervell

Getting Ahead With Alex Somervell…

Co-founder of One Third Stories and language whizz. In the full version of this week’s episode, we discuss the success of One Third Stories’ successful Kickstarter campaign and how they’re progressing. I also find out more about Alex’s passion for language and how it has helped him both personally and professionally. This week certainly is a good one!

Pitching – Control What They See (Version 2)

Just over a year ago I posted ‘Pitching – Control What They See’. It was one of my first posts, and is still one of my most read!

Events this week have made me remember this post. I wanted to explore what I said to see if I still agree.

1 – The Voice

I gave the advice that you need to be in control of your voice and recognise when it might speed up or shake.

This is harder than it sounds, it means you have to not only think about what you’re going to say, but also what you just said. You need to listen to spot when you might be sounding unnatural and correct it.

I mentioned that you can pause and take a breath. What I would add is that you shouldn’t be afraid of silence. If your content is good and you’re engaging with your tone and body language, then the audience will be very patient. You can take your time to make your words clear and effective!

2 – Body Language

Here I mentioned the uniqueness of people’s nervous movement. I’ve come to see many more variations on this over the year. Every time you can see a person wishing the movement wouldn’t happen, but they seem to not have control. Again it’s about self-awareness; find out what it is you do and be ready to spot and control it.

Now, my general advice for body language is to be open. Legs shoulder width apart, and don’t be afraid to take a few steps. Arms away from your side and talk with your hands, it displays lots of confidence whilst actually giving you an outlet to release the nerves!

3 – Content

The sentence I used to sum this up a year ago is definitely the sentence I’d still use –

Understanding, rather than learning.

Think about it, you could talk about your childhood, school, hobbies etc. a lot easier than astrophysics (unless that’s your hobby), because you know and understand what happened and why. You aren’t remembering lines, you’re remembering memories, stories, and information that are then turned into words to speak.

This is where you can over-rehearse. Practice saying the same thing in a different way, then if you feel nervous you’ve still got multiple ways to proceed.


To this day I still feel nervous when pitching, yet I try to portray confidence. As mentioned in the original post you can’t control what people think, but you can control what they see!

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