Proud of our 2015 Interns
Our 2015 Interns represented well. This year they worked together to expand the scope of Brazos Portal’s compatibility with enterprise software like Asana and Rally. They also worked out an interesting Apple Watch notification framework. Both of which demo’ed really well at the Science Fair at BPMCAMP. Our customers loved their demonstrations and we’ll be building a project around one of these features soon.
It’s hard to believe that this is the fifth year BP3 has had an intern program, and every year it gets better. If you’re an Austin firm and wondering how you can recruit great talent to Austin or to your firm, my advice is to come up with your long-term plan and get started this year. Expect it to take 3-4 years to get where you want it to be. But every year you delay will be a college recruiting year (and intern year) lost.
Today I attended a luncheon – the Austin Technology Council’s Tech Talent Roundtable, which included participation from many ATC members and members of the community – educational institutions, recruiting firms, and tech companies. The panelists were great and fielded a number of questions quite well, but at some point, questions went to the audience, and one gentleman expressed his feeling that graduates from college weren’t the answer for him and for companies like his – that we needed more Fortune 500 companies to train up the college grads so that startups like his could then poach from those large companies. He only wanted experienced people that he didn’t have to teach the soft skills to. Never mind that these aren’t hard skills and culture to teach.
I found that attitude flabbergasting. The man next to him then said that his son went to Houston to find that job that would give him “professional polish” to then come back with his minimum 5 years of experience in Austin.
I don’t know either of these gentlemen, but they’re doing themselves, their companies, and Austin a disservice. They’re not interested in investing in people, they’re not interested in creating talent, only using it. They’re not interested in building companies, just flipping. Their focus was so short-term and selfish I was frankly startled. I talked to one of them afterward and he didn’t back down from his point of view that this is “the way things are”: “startups don’t have the time or money to invest in people” he said. Well who would want to go work for a company like that?
To that I’d say: tell that to Trilogy, who started a real college recruiting program when they were 30 people. My only regret at Lombardi is that we didn’t start recruiting from college before I left the company in 2007. At BP3 college recruiting and internships have been part of the program since 2010, when we had a dozen full-time employees. I’m proud to be part of a company that things beyond the current quarter and year, a company that isn’t just packaging itself up for investors.
Back to BP3, I have to thank our BP Labs team for supporting the interns. I could never have given them the support and mentoring they deserved without the leadership of our team – the Daves, Andrew, and others – who really relish the chance to teach and to coach. Our interns had a trial by fire demonstrating their work to the CEO, the CTO, the VP of Services, VP of Labs… and 56 of our customers at BPMCAMP. No pressure! But that professional experience will pay off in spades when they’re under pressure to perform in interviews and in jobs in the future.
So it should be clear that we received great value from our interns. But we also lived up to our part of the bargain: we invested in them as people. We also gave them a chance to learn new languages and tools and methods, and apply those to projects. We gave them a chance to safely make mistakes without fearing failure. They are all more marketable and more skilled than they were before their internships began. And this reflects BP3′s commitment to developing human talent, not just finding industry veterans, but also investing in people to grow the overall talent base of BP3, BPM, and Austin.
Last year I wrote:
We’ll do more of the same (and hit Peached Tortilla’s new retail location) next year!
I had forgotten I wrote that. But it turns out, we did indeed hit Peached Tortilla’s new location this year – for brunch last weekend! Sometimes my crystal ball is spot on!