This note is the twentieth letter in the 104-days-of-summer-vacation series. You can also follow the full twitter thread here, and leave any thoughts and comments that might come up!
I hope the week has been treating you well so far. After my first day interning at Dynacyte, there is a buzz of excitement over something new, like having activated a dormant set of neurons in my head.
Two thoughts rest in my head. First, it’s gratitude for having people to look up to. I think my resistance to authority figures has prevented me from finding many mentors since I’ve naturally gravitated towards working alone.
In that regard the team at Dynacyte consists of experienced engineers and scientists who I am so excited to learn from and build with. There’s comfort in knowing that someone can extend guidance from a much larger corpus of life experience than I have available to me.
I’ve gotten used to being the end of line, for the past two summers I’ve been leading projects where there’s no one for me to ask and I’m the person everyone asks. That’s a lot of responsibility which becomes clearer now that I’m in this internship. It’s just so nice to be able to focus on the technical details of a project without constantly having to also worry about the bigger integrative picture.
Perhaps, founder culture has undervalued the importance of mentorship by encouraging lots of us to disregard learning and growth under the mantra of “move fast and break things”. Why learn from others, when you can start your own thing and figure it out, seems to be a fairly common entrepreneur’s mindset.
But there’s value in spending time to learn from others. Especially in technical fields, arrogance can be dangerous and lead to terrible outcomes like the recent OceanGate submersible implosion. As young engineers, we have a responsibility to learn and understand what we’re doing, not just to build blindly for the sake of speed. So there’s a lot of wisdom to be gained from listening and working in environments with people who have a lot more experience than us.