The Challenge


How can we equip young people with the skills, information and opportunities to succeed in the world of work? read the brief


Interview your heroes

Ask your heroes for career advice, and you never know where it'll lead.
I graduated from university about 2 years ago, in the midst of the recession. Job prospects weren't great, but one thing helped me get a good job.

For a year before graduation my friend William Channer and I ran a podcast where we interviewed our heroes in the world of entrepreneurship, marketing and design. People are receptive to being interviewed, no matter how famous they are, because they want to give back to the community.

From the podcast William got a mentor and lots of advice about breaking into the advertising industry, and I got a job at a fast growing London startup.

Starting a podcast or just reaching out to your heroes via email is very easy to do, and it really worked for us.

"If you ask someone for help, they give you advice. Ask for advice, and they'll give you help." So be sure to ask for lots of advice!
Mission #1 Hurdles & Success Stories


Join the conversation and post a comment.

Matt Ridenour

August 08, 2012, 00:11AM
Well thought through - and illustrated! Was this graphic created specifically for this concept?

I resonate with this because it is a low barrier to entry for helping motivate young people toward their goals and aspirations. Beginning a career can be completely daunting (not having any connections, being unable to decide a career) - often leaving people feeling powerless and paralyzed.

I have been a part of a "career panel" a few times for an organization called New Door Ventures - focused on granting young people employment. The panel always seems to inspire young people to make more concrete connections regarding their career aspirations. The process makes the career path more tangible, and less frightening. Not only this - but as mentioned above - it can lead to great connections and even employment! Win - Win!!!

Puar Liang

July 30, 2012, 04:51AM
I think this is great but maybe at some point help will be needed to sort out conflicting advice. Caution should also be used with the advice that is given especially when some statistically small portion of people succeed on pure luck. But on the whole, great to inspire people to try things. Perhaps have a talk with the people who fail too, for their lessons may be equally instructive.

Ola Nilsson

June 27, 2012, 13:41PM
Great advice and inspiration. Simple to do and everyone gets to pick their own heroes - simple genious! Luvit!

Luc Shorter

June 24, 2012, 03:25AM
I love this. Creative, plucky and brave. And it paid off - great work!

As a build, I wonder if there is an opportunity to create a podcasting service/organisation/something which brokers interviews between individuals and their heroes? Not do the interviews for them but support them to get the interview and do it well. The interview could then be podcast by the service under a single brand rather than each interviewer having their own, if that makes sense?

Sarah Owusu

June 19, 2012, 17:42PM
Inspired to do just that. Thanks for the insight.

Marc Sniukas

June 19, 2012, 11:24AM
I think this is a good strategy if one also has to capability of reflecting on what the advice means for the personal situation. I don't think a blind copy / paste approach is the right solution for young people to find their way.

Monera Mason

June 19, 2012, 00:20AM
I absolutely love it. Great advice. Also on the flip side people should be open to being interviewed because its a great introduction to fresh new talent.


June 18, 2012, 21:11PM
Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Inspiration!

Arjan Tupan

June 07, 2012, 04:32AM
Great story, and good advice. And I agree with Meena, a great collection of podcasts!

Meena Kadri

June 06, 2012, 21:48PM
Nice one Daniel – what a fab collection of podcasts you guys created! I also had some success with this approach a while back. I pursued various blogging opportunities and would interview folks I thought were doing interesting things in the design for social innovation sector. Scored a number of assignments along the way as well as building a great network in which I was able to connect others for collaborative opportunities.

Brett Hagberg

June 06, 2012, 17:40PM
I had a project where I did the same thing -- I'd correspond through email with some of my heroes and post up their answers on a blog. Their advice was very, very helpful.

Great inspiration -- your podcast looks awesome. Thanks for sharing, Daniel!

Daniel Townsend

June 06, 2012, 19:13PM
Thanks Brett.

Lyden Foust

June 15, 2012, 12:18PM
Man I have been listening to dorm room tycoon for the last year on my iphone. Great inspiration Dan.

Daniel Townsend

June 15, 2012, 19:28PM
Thanks Lynden - glad you enjoy the show :)
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