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Denmark is cool. I visited Copenhagen and London recently and met with some outstanding entrepreneurs and executives. More and more, whether I am in conversation in the US, EU or APAC, the topic eventually turns to politics and policy. Sometimes policies have unintended consequences. Nationalism seems to be a trend in many regions currently. For those building ventures or jurisdictions trying to encourage innovation, this is becoming a major growth constraint. More thoughts on this in the video below.

Fintech Inteviews: Spriggy

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In my final FinTech CEO interview, I sat down with Mario Hasanakos, co-CEO of Spriggy. Spriggy has been a true FinTech, startup success story, joining the first H2 accelerator back in 2015, and recently raising their Seed round of $2.5 million. Their much loved product educates young people on how to manage money with a prepaid Visa card linked to app that parents and kids use together.

I sat down with Mario to get his full cradle to Seed round story, and some insight into this experience.

Shaken, not Sourced

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Regardless of our age, we’ve all been exposed to a James Bond. Whether it was Daniel Craig, Sean Connery or my personal favorite Pierce Brosnan (yes there are plenty of others, but these are my top 3) we all know they each carry a certain swagger, as well as an ability to fully immerse themselves in the character they're playing in their respective mission (IF they chose to accept it!).

The Recruiting Tackle Box

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I like to go fishing. Yes, I enjoy going outside and catching fish with a rod and reel. "I thought this was a blog about recruiting," you are probably now asking yourself. Hold on, we will get there. The truth is, I spend more of my time fishing than I do catching. The same way I spend more of my time sourcing than I do hiring. That is the reality of it. Any angler will tell you that fishing is not easy (an honest angler will, at least). Believe it or not, fishing is an interesting hobby. It is a hobby that will take you places, show you things and above all teach you things. I have and continue to learn many of life’s lesson from my time spent fishing, and over the years it has become one of my passions.

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite bands (The Samples) is stuck in my head as I reflect on a new executive search that my team and I are about to kick off. The search discovery meetings are beginning tomorrow morning and I didn't get my usual 5 hours of sleep because I was pumped up and ready to begin the hunting process. We will be seeking another purple squirrel,* a security executive from a great company in the Valley or beyond. It is what consumes me and drives me. We look for every avenue to locate and build relationships with the very best and most rare executive technical talent. The excitement is tethered by other feelings of concern about how prepared the client will be and how the candidates will perceive the search. I know that the client is closing in on their calibrating but not there and the candidate pool is already looking far ahead in their career progression while contemplating their objections before we make first contact. This excitement and conflict is normal; I have had these feelings many times before. After all, it is the job that I love. But as I mature (depending on who you ask) and begin reflecting on life's lessons in this business I find myself often asking; “are we really progressing and learning from past lessons and mistakes, or are we just repeating the same themes and forgetting just enough to make things sound new and fresh?". Are we a 'traveling mass with a memory loss'? What does history say about that?

500 Startups is a global early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator founded by Dave McClure and Christine Tsai in 2010.

500 is the most active early-stage venture firm and have invested in a wide variety of technology startups all over the world, currently over 1,600 companies since their inception in 2010 including: Credit Karma, Grab, Twilio (NYSE: TWLO), Udemy, Ipsy, TalkDesk, Intercom, MakerBot (acquired by SSYS), Wildfire (acquired by GOOG), and Viki (acquired by Rakuten). The 500 team of 130 people manage seed investments in 50 countries.

Finding a new job can be a nerve-wracking and lengthy process. There is dating and swooning happening from both sides of the table. Candidates do their best to make a great impression and showcase their skills and expertise. Companies want candidates to believe that their company is the best place on earth to work (maybe it is), and that they have created a happy and humble environment. There is an underlying fear of rejection exhibited from candidates and companies alike. We all know how it feels to build your hopes up so high, only to have them come crashing down right in front of you. The decision to leave your old job, enter into the dating world, and hopefully settle down, doesn’t have to be a scary one.

Roller coasters for “fun”? No, thank you. For those of you who know me, I am not one to rush into line for a roller coaster. Don’t get me wrong, rides (think Indiana Jones at Disneyland) are a blast, roller coasters (think Tower of Terror at California Adventure), not so much. The feeling of having your life in the hands of some 16-year-old kid on summer vacation and having complete faith in some metal and bolts holding the entire structure together is unsettling. Roller coaster rides are similar to the ups and downs that we recruiters are all too familiar with in many ways. We have all dealt with the anticipation of finding the perfect candidate and working with them throughout the entire process, and dealing with the anticipation to help them over the finish line.

--If you're looking for your next great career move, let's chat!--

Prior to joining MitchelLake, my recruitment days were effectively over. Disillusioned, bored and frustrated with an industry blighted with negative experiences and low-quality transactional relationships, I was on the market and looking for more. That’s when I was introduced to MitchelLake and told they were different. “Here we go again” I thought, expecting another ‘Digital’ recruitment business to tell me how they were different.

I’m stereotyping here, but many engineers (especially young, inexperienced ones working at startups) see management as unnecessary overhead. They don’t see the value in having an engineering leader, and may or may-not respect non-technical contributions to the team. This tends to change once they work with a great leader, or have worked through a couple of poorly-managed failures.