Career and beard growth at a startup

I bet Lewis(h) you had that beard

Many moons had passed since last I saw Matt Lewis, so I thought it was about bloody time I paid him a visit.

Matt Lewis

What is he looking at?

I first met Matt when he was a fresh faced whippersnapper (2 years ago) working in biddable at MoneySupermarket. Now he is Head of Digital Marketing at the quite brilliant startup company carwow. I wanted to know if moving to a startup speeds career progression, how the working environment changes and whether he enjoys being more involved in the business.

What’s the big idea?

Carwow connects people looking to buy a car with trustworthy dealerships. It’s better than that though. Initially you’ll enter the key features you want in a car, they’ll match you with a make and model then connect you to a dealer. The buying process is then a blind auction so the dealer cannot pressure or cold call you, and it sidesteps the need for any haggling. I love it, if only I could afford a car… guys?

Does moving to a startup turbo charge career progression?

Matt has progressed to Head of Digital Marketing having been in biddable media for seven years so he thinks his progression has been “slightly sped up” but claims “turbo-charged career progression is a myth”. You can claim some quite lofty titles by moving to a startup as the teams are very small but they don’t necessarily translate back to an agency or corporate environment. (At NRCo I am Emperor of Content.) Matt warns that if you take a job and can’t back it up with experience you can land yourself in hot water. Matt continued, “when you join a startup it is fragile and rapidly growing. You do not want to be the weak link.”

Are you more involved in the business side?

Firstly Matt is literally more involved in the company because on joining he received a share of equity. Secondly, yes, he is more involved in the business. Matt is far more aware of how the business operates and performs, which is a real plus for him: “the health of the business directly affects me so it’s nice to have an input and know we are performing well.”

Has the working environment changed?

People generally talk about startups as being very informal but most digital agencies aren’t exactly corporate so it’s not a giant leap. In terms of how they operate, Matt explains that “at a startup you take your lead from the person at the top and that dictates the working style and environment”. At carwow this means hard work, passion and enthusiasm – not a hammock in sight.

What is a startup?

“A new small business that’s growing quickly.”

Epilogue

It was great to catch up with Matt but there was something on my mind – the photo I had taken reminded me of a time gone by…

Compare Matt Lewis

What is he looking at?

There he is. Matt from 2013 looking at the same mystery object as before. I sent this fine piece of photoshopping to Matt and Neil. Neil suggested that perhaps working for a startup gives you a beard. Matt agreed. So there you have it. As well as all the other pros and cons, we can conclusively say that working for a startup causes beard growth.