Leaving EF

Today is my last day at Entrepreneur First (EF). I decided to leave late last year, and it was a big decision. I joined about six years ago, and six years is about the longest I’ve done anything. Here’s what happened.

Me, Matt & Alice (EF’s Founders), and Anne Marie

Me, Matt & Alice (EF’s Founders), and Anne Marie

Why join? 

I was incredibly lucky to join EF in the first place. Never mind six years, I quit my first big company job after six weeks. And but for that professional organ rejection, I almost certainly wouldn’t have ended up here.

EF wasn’t a career move. Six years ago, EF was technically a not-for-profit, and its only employees were its founders: Matt and Alice. I became one of two unpaid interns, moving back home with the lack of promise endemic to philosophy graduates.

I joined because I was friends with Matt’s brother and because Matt said EF was something to do with McKinsey. It seemed like somewhere I could catch my breath while I applied for other things.

Why stay? 

It turned out EF is unique.

EF fulfils a unique mission. Years ago it seemed implausible, but today thousands of people realise their biggest ambitions because of EF. I can’t imagine working for a regular company anymore.

EF attracts unique people. Matt and Alice are still the most impressive founders I’ve met, and meeting founders has been my job. I am more grateful to them than any blog post can say. The EF Team and alumni have been my best friends, inspiration, and teachers.

EF offers unique opportunities. I joined age 22, with no relevant experience. At 24 I moved to Asia to create EF here. We’ve grown from 0 to 100 team members, from 0 to $150m raised, and from 30 to 800 founders funded each year. My learning curve couldn’t have been steeper.

EF has reached a point where it’s starting to pay off, and the company is going better than ever. There are a lot of reasons to stay.

Why leave?

In business, your resources change your strategy. And in life, your resources change your ambition.

I was lucky to find EF, and I made the most of it. I took the opportunity and put everything aside to make EF succeed. And, for some definition of success, it did. 

In a regular job, doing something for six years often just buys you another six. But making EF successful has given me resources I didn’t have before. For one, I am no longer desperate for money and can, terror free, spend some time doing things that don’t make any.

More importantly, I used to worry about my future. Less so now. Partly this is because I’m confident of the futures I can create. But partly it’s because I’ve met people to create futures with. I met Anne Marie at EF and, because of her, my futures today are futures I couldn’t imagine before.

Your resources determine which futures are possible and, through EF, my resources have changed. So my ambitions have too.

What’s next?

When I was younger, I told people I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. What I really meant was, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything I could.

But there are so many exciting lives I’d love to live. Here’s a long list. Now I can, I’m going to try and live a few more.

Thank you to the team, investors, and alumni who make EF so special. I’ll be forever grateful to have worked alongside you, and will always cheer for your success.

I’d love to keep in touch, so email me here, do something interesting with me here, and connect with me on all things social.