YEDaily: Phil Gauvin

Phil Gauvin is one of the co-founders of matchFWD, a service that connects talents and employers through referrals and personalized recommendations using social networks’ data to ensure the right fit. What’s his advice for other young professionals? Find out in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
matchFWD connects talents and employers through referrals and personalized recommendations using social networks’ data to ensure the right fit.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
My co-founder and I were frequently asked the same question by friends and business contacts: “I am hiring. Would you know a good candidate for [insert-job-title]?”

Sometimes we’d receive these requests via email, other times it was via Facebook or Twitter, and often it occurred during in-person meetups.

The trouble is, in the moment, most people rarely know who’s available or who would be the best fit for a job. Everyone wants to help but it can be quite a bit of work to connect people.

We thought that if we could help people connect talented job seekers with organizations that are hiring, everyone would win. Karma can take you a long way.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I think they are one and the same: finding innovative solutions to problems. We’re a bootstrap company in a very mature industry. We can’t go head-to-head against our competitors. We need to have a game-changing cost structure and product. And that’s not easy to do.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
We see ourselves becoming a true platform of people sharing who’s available and who’s hiring, not just a single website. We’re already working with schools, business associations and professional associations to launch a first cohort of sites branded under their names, not ours. We’ll be in the background helping niche communities of talented people monetize their personal assets by powering thousands of job matches.

What does success look like to you?
Success is the freedom of doing what you love. If, once today, I am doing what I truly love, that’s success. It can’t get any simpler than that. It could be going running or skiing, building companies, surfing, or taking your kids to the zoo.

If what you need to do to make a living is the same as what you’re truly passionate about, you win. In most cases, balancing both is the best way to reach my definition of success.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The day I quit my engineering job in 2005 and started my own consulting business. I once read some psycho-pop book that asked, “What is the situation in your life where you feel the most alive?” I thought about all the times my friends and I jumped off of 70-foot cliffs into lakes. I realized taking big leaps of faith is something I enjoy. It’s stressful to leave a high-paying job with a nice compensation package and relatively easy workload to start something on your own, but I haven’t met many who’ve regretted it.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Get out of your comfort zone. It’s so easy to stay on the most travelled path, yet there’s never been a better time to do things differently. Challenge the status quo.

Keep learning. The ability to learn is a true competitive advantage. Nowadays with online services like Cousera, Treehouse, Udemy, Skillshare and many others, there’s no good reason to stop learning.

Finally, be surrounded with people who are smarter than you. If you’re the smartest people in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

What is Notable to you?
People doing things they care about. When people truly care about what they do, it shows and it never gets boring.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I am into a bunch of sports but trail running is my main thing. I like the simplicity of running mixed with unexpected terrain. If I need to figure something out, I go for a run. I’ll have it figured out when I come back (and if it takes all day I’ll just keep running).