Shadowing Spencer Lazar of General Catalyst Partners

When I came to Princeton, there were a lot of moving parts, lots of things I had to juggle. Perhaps the most stressful was figuring out what I wanted to do in the future. I knew the best way was to get experience, but the question remained: how?

I heard about WayUp through a Facebook post. I signed up because they send emails when new jobs are posted, and I thought that would be worth it in case a good opportunity arose. A few weeks ago, I saw an email from WayUp saying that there was a chance to shadow a Venture Capitalist for a day. I’m particularly fascinated by that field, so I immediately clicked on the email. I’ve always liked Venture Capital because it not only gives you a glimpse into the future, but also the opportunity to actively push it in directions you think are beneficial.

The opportunity was to shadow Spencer Lazar, a Principal at General Catalyst Partners, a premier early stage Venture Capital firm and one of the best in the world. I decided to apply, but I didn’t have my hopes up because I knew that hundreds of kids from across the area were going to be gunning for it. Luckily, Spencer decided to give me the opportunity. I was ecstatic. I had to move around 5 classes, and lab (normally not allowed to move), but this opportunity was definitely worth having to spend 12 hours in class the next day as a result.

I took the train to NYC that morning and made my way Spencer’s office.

Spencer and I started off talking for 45 minutes, and I got to pick his brain about his opinions about the VC world and more. We talked a lot about network effects, and I asked what he thought of them because almost every company relies on them to grow, but I was interested in what companies ten years down the line might do. He responded by saying that networks effects were probably one thing that would provide value for most of the foreseeable future. He got to learn a little about me as well. We talked about recent trends in both the startup world and consumer psychology, and quite simply the way we live life today as opposed to a year ago.

Next, I got to sit in on a real pitch from a startup, where two guys came in and told Spencer why their company would be successful (they also thought I worked there so they were especially kind to me, which was pretty awesome).

After that, we grabbed lunch where we got to talk more. He asked me some questions that I honestly had never been asked before like, “Can I see the home screen of your phone?” I thought this was odd at first, but then I realized as a VC this would be a smart way to see what kids my age are interested in.

After lunch, I got to meet with Camille Fournier, the CTO of Rent the Runway. It was so interesting to see how both Spencer and Camille looked at the world as well as evaluated whether an idea would be successful. They both were able to think of such unique implications of ideas–things I would never have thought of.

Next, one of Spencer’s friends showed him an app he was working on. Sadly, I’m not allowed to say anything, but it was honestly one of the coolest ideas I have ever seen, and in my opinion, could be one of the next biggest things. Just that alone is why I want to work in VC.

Having the opportunity to talk with Spencer about his love for Venture Capital and his journey so far was incredible. This chance to spend the day at a VC firm was priceless, and it assured me that this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

Note this originally appeared on a WayUp blog

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