Archive for October, 2011

Durkin’s Top Ten List to Prepare for Entrepreneurship While In College

October 30th, 2011

"It's easy as 1, 2, 3." - The Jackson Five

I believe it's important for people running businesses in Boston to talk on college campuses and help other young people figure out the world of college / graduation / jobs / startups / LIFE! I often times have gone to BC, BU, Suffolk, Babson, and UMass and have spoken to entrepreneur, Finance, marketing, and other business clubs with the goal of talking about SPECIFIC tips and tricks I picked up through college that can help. I'm also able to meet a ton of new students with different views and thoughts on what I'm currently building. It's a win-win, and I suggest other young business leaders in Boston get out into the community and speak to students about specific things they can do to help.

I too often a time remember going to "guest lectures" in college and listening to people I simply could not relate to. Sixty year old businessmen speaking about generic business thoughts like "find your passion and work hard." I'm all for working hard. And passion is very important. But GIVE ME SOME SPECIFICS MAN!

Well. Here they are. SPECIFIC things students can and should do in college if they are interested in pursuing a future in business and entrepreneurship. Please let me know what you think!


A Dirty Little Secret to Hiring Web Developers in Boston

October 26th, 2011

"I'll keep you my dirty little secrets." - All American Rejects

Scandaloussssss. Everyone in Boston seems to be talking about their need for engineering talent: web developers, software engineers, front-end guys, back-end guys. Programmers.

How many times have you heard this over the past month?: "Hey. Do you know where I can find a developer in this town?"

Well my friends. Here is a little secret. A really dirty, raunchy, sauced-up, scandalous secret.

Two words: UMass Amherst

We're batting 100% from UMass Amherst when it comes to engineering talent. All 4 of our 4 engineers are from UMass Amherst: Mike Miklavic, Justin May,  Ansel Stein, and Jared Stenquist. All ranging in age from 23 to 28 years old.

Oh. And...I guess I could also point out the following:

Nikhil Thorat (UMass Amherst 2012) just accepted a job at Google.

Sam Erb (UMass Amherst 2011) has been working at Cisco and loving life.

Tom Petr (UMass Amherst 2010) has been at Microsoft killing it.

Andy Cook and Alex Cook (UMass Amherst 2010 and 2008 respectively) started their own business: Rentabilities.

I could go on and on and on.

When we "need" or are anticipating a need to hire web developer, we go to straight to one school: UMass Amherst. We recruit top talent out of UMass Amherst. Their students are insanely hard working. They know how to grind. They take pride in calling themselves "hackers." And they are simply a great culture fit for our business. We began our company at UMass and we know many people within the UMass community (deans, professors, students, chancellors, President, etc). UMass Amherst has top notch development talent and top notch students. Blue collar work ethic in a white collar. I love it. And while every other startup and business cofounder is at MIT and Harvard searching for developers, you'll know where to find me.

NOW. I asked Nikhil, Sam, Tom, and the rest of the guys at my business their thoughts on how to ACTUALLY go about hiring this talent. Tactically. What should you do? Well, here is what they said:


Sam Erb said:

"To find developers, your goal should be to find a way to get your name to every single ECE and CS student at UMass. I would immediately go to engineering career services office and get my offer listed there for ECE students (they will also send it in their email out if you ask). Also I would contact the CS department to have them send out a message as well. I would flyer all of Marcus, Marston, the Computer Science building and Knowles. There are many public boards in those buildings that most students will see daily. If I was looking to hire many people, I would then hold an info session on campus, with food. Sponsoring an ACM/IEEE student chapter event is a great way to get your name out there. Also, giving T-shirts etc. will be free advertisement as many CS/ECE students will wear these around to their classes. Specifically geared toward ECE students, contact M5 ( about either sponsoring something or hosting an event there. You will find a large number of ECE students down there on any given night. If you do everything I listed above, at some point, everybody in both the ECE department and CS department will hear about you."

Tom Petr said:

"In my opinion the most effective method is to attend or give a presentation to the ACM / IEEE groups and hang out with people in the undergrad labs (U-Space for CS, M5 for Engineering)."

Nikhil Thorat said:

"So I think the most effective way of getting your name out there as a company recruiting developers is to host events on campus.  A ton of companies like Yahoo, TripAdvisor, hold events in the Computer Science building with food etc and talk about their company, and get a ton of smart people to apply.  Another thing you should definitely do is talk to professors because they know the talented kids, that might be a little difficult though. Another club you should reach out to is the ACM club on campus, they have a lot of talented developers.  And I'm sure you already have the print advertisement down (in the CS building there's a ton of bulletin boards with fliers). Also, another thing you should consider is getting job postings on the cs umass website ("


There you have it folks. The dirtiest, skankiest, lucious, most intense little secret of the month (and perhaps the quarter).

Recruit tech talent from UMass Amherst. You'll find phenomenal students, with phenomenal work ethic, who will be phenomenally productive.

And the next time you hear: ""Hey. Do you know where I can find a developer?"... Remember two words: UMass Amherst.



Durkin Resume Advice | Quick, Easy, and Sexy

October 24th, 2011

I got a lot of feedback from last week's post asking me for resume help. SO! Let's have some fun. WOO WOO! Let's build your resume. Let's get you employed! Why the hell not, right?!?! RIGHT! Well, to make things quick and easy (and sexy), I'll ask you to do the following: I want you to take my resume, and make it your own.

Let's begin:

  1. Open up my resume on Google Docs

  2. Once open... Go to "File" and click "Download As". Then select "Word." GREAT! NOW...

  3. Open up the doc and delete my name from the resume and put your own name there. This is now YOUR resume. BUT, we need to clean this puppy up.

  4. Delete my phone number, email address, and address and place your own on it.

  5. Delete my university and put your own.

  6. Delete my GPA and put your own. Continue on in this fashion from top to bottom, line by line. If you have never received any scholarships, then simply delete this section. If you have never played on a collegiate athletics team, then simply delete this section.

Spend time paying attention to formatting. No periods on your sentences. Italicize your dates. Make sure your indenting is consistent. Make sure you bold when I bold. Make sure your job posting and job location are formatted the same way I have them in mine. Garamond font works very nicely I've found.

Once you're complete, save your resume like this "Firstname_LastName_Resume.doc" and send it onnnnn back to me at

We can finalize your resume, and move on to what's more important: getting that job you want.

If you'd like to see a PDF version of my resume, feel free to open this puppy up:
Ryan Durkin Resume

In future posts later I'll be detailing very specifically why I recommend the order in which I present my resume, as well as the importance of scholarships, athletics, and interests.

Tell me what you think of this post gangsters.


The Most Important Part of Your Resume is NOT WHAT YOU THINK

October 20th, 2011

So, you're building your resume. Either for the first time, or the 100th. You're getting A's. You’re competing in athletics. Leading student initiatives. Organizing events. You’re trying to make the most out of your collegiate experience by interning, working part time jobs, etc. You’re proactive and one motivated, monstrous son of a bitch!

During senior year you begin looking for jobs. Nothing seems to be panning out right, and you’re getting frustrated.

It's time that you learn how to CLOSE THE DEAL. And here's a little tip as to how.

1. Find the part of your resume you are LEAST PROUD OF and delete it. Immediately.
2. Then add a new section heading to the bottom of your resume titled “INTERESTS.”
3. Within that section put 3 - 5 bullets of YOUR INTERESTS.
4. Keep the “Interest” to ONE WORD. Then put a colon (:). Then write a very specific sentence to describe it.

Examples include:
• Running: along the Charles River and throughout Cambridge, Back Bay, the North End, and Southie
• Golf: began working at Essex Country Club as a caddy at age 10 and rose to Pro-Shop Manager
• Real Estate: founded the Real Estate Society, and created the first Real Estate course offered on campus
• Piano: trained in Classical music and have been playing since age five; Billy Joel enthusiast

This tactic of buletting 3 - 5 interests in this form... "General Interest: very specific descriptive text"... JUST WORKS. And here's why.

Who do you know on earth who does not share AT LEAST ONE of the interests I have mentioned above (someone who runs, plays golf, is interested in real estate, or plays piano)?!??!?! Interests are great conversation starters guys! And they are the PERFECT way to close out a resume, and most importantly, an interview. If you do this one simple thing on your resume, your interviews will soon start to "close" like this:

Example. Interviewer: “You like to RUN along the Charles River? ME TOO! I go every weekend! Tell me… do you ever see that guy out there who wears the blue jacket that extends over his shorts so much that it looks like he’s not wearing anything!??! That dude is crazy!”


Example. Interviewer: “You GOLF? ME TOO! Where do you play? What’s your handicap? What type of clubs do you use? Titleist? Callaways? Have you tried the new X-9’s? They are amazing! I bought a set myself just last weekend on a whim. I can really crank it out with those puppies."

If you like to fish. Say it. And be specific with regards to which lakes in Maine or New Hampshire you like best.
If you like to dance. Say it. And be specific in which clubs you like to go dancing at in the city.
If you like to ride your bike. Say it. And talk about your longest bike ride you did for charity.

INTERESTS, I BELIEVE, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF A RESUME. There are a ton of strong candidates out there with strong pedigrees, strong “experience,” strong GPA’s, strong leadership track records, strong backgrounds. You've got scholarship winners, class Presidents, and people who simply have crazy awesome work ethic. BUT. You've got to stick out. And there's no better way to stick out in an interview than to talk about something you bond with your interviewer with outside of the office.

Get them saying: "ME TOO!" You'll thank me later.


Startup Libraries | Build One Today

October 19th, 2011

To any startup owner in Boston, NYC, the Valley, Detroit, Miami, and Antarctica, too.

If you own a business, you should think about building a startup library for your fellow employees. I don't care if there's only one of you, ten, fifty, or if you run a company of thousands. I highly suggest you buy books (whether physical books or through a bunch of Kindle's or iPads) that your fellow co-workers can take with them at their leisure, at any time, anywhere. At our business, we've bought about 25 books thus far for employees. No. Not hundreds. Just 25. It's a start in the right direction. I imagine by year end we'll be hovering around 50.

If you were to look at our "library" you'd think it looked pretty bare. And while many people may scoff at that, it makes me smile. What would you rather have: A library with all of it's booked neatly stacked on shelves? Or an empty bookcase, with the books in the hands of employees?

Buying books for your fellow employees sets a tone within the office that you value productivity. It says that you value progress. That you value deliberation and thought and curiosity. That you value enhancing individuals lives through knowledge. And most importantly: It says that you care about them.





Here is a list of my favorite books of all time that can help you popular your own startup library. In order...

1. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand (my #1 favorite book of all time)
2. Never Eat Alone - Keith Ferrazzi
3. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
4. Lincoln the Unknown - Dale Carnegie
5. What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School - Mark McCormack
6. The Definitive Book of Body Language - Allan Pease, Barabara Pease
7. The Art of the Deal - Donald Trump
8. The Art of the Start - Guy Kawasaki
9. Rework - Jason Fried & David Heinemeier
10. Do More Faster - Brad Feld, David Cohen
11. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickins
12. Inc. and Grow Rich - C.W. Allen, Cheri S. Hill, Diane Kennedy, Garrett Sutton (Not Think and Grow Rich... but INC. This teaches you about taxes and saving money in unique ways).
13. Manhunt: The 12-Day Hunt for Lincoln's Killer - James Swanson

Education is the light. You cannot escape it. Embrace it and make it a staple of your office. Promote education and reading amongst your peers. Be the champion of your startup library. Add new books to it each month. Talk amongst the office and see what others are reading. People work out to build strong muscles. Now build the strongest muscle of all: your brain. The mind is a beautiful thing. I'm sure you saw the movie. Now it's time to put that puppy to work.

Tell me what you think gangsters.