How to Create Value with Your Career

Author: Jonny Clifford
Posted: 14 December, 2022

Your career is an opportunity to change the world

Over time, the leverage provided by careers has become more and more powerful. Your career is no longer purely about the lifestyle it affords you, it’s about the mark you’re able to leave on the world. The question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ can be framed more aptly as: What are you going to do with your short time on Earth? 

If you want to create impact at scale, choose entrepreneurship

One of our core beliefs at Entrepreneur First is that starting a technology company is the best way for the most ambitious individuals to maximize their impact.

Not only does a career in technology entrepreneurship offer unprecedented scale (reaching potentially billions of people a day) but as a founder, you’re able to imagine and build the world you want to see, not just take over the controls of a machine someone else has made.

As an ambitious and talented person, you have a non-zero chance of building a multi-billion dollar company that changes the world. That has to be something worth exploring. 

Don’t compete on the wrong axis

For the first twenty years of our lives, most of us are competing for good grades, rather than creating tangible value. 

Once people get the grades, they want to secure a place at a prestigious university, then they want a master’s degree or an MBA, a job at a top firm, one more promotion, one more year of experience. They fall into the trap of badge collecting. But none of that is about creating real-world impact. 

In entrepreneurship, you compete on a different axis. Your career success is measured in terms of the value you’re able to create – not the badges you’re able to collect. 

You need to ask yourself if you’re competing on axes that matter to you. How meaningful would it really be to achieve the thing you’re striving for? Are you sure that you haven’t become trapped in competing for something that doesn’t actually create value for the world, and doesn’t feel truly fulfilling?

Practice building valuable products as if it’s a sport

Being able to build something valuable to the world is a vastly underrated career skill. If you want to make an impact with your career, practice building products that people value as if it’s a sport.

Many of the founders who join EF have had practice in building valuable products, prior to starting the programme:

  • Sasha Haco started a software company while she was finishing her PhD at Cambridge, where she worked with Stephen Hawking on the black hole information paradox. She then joined EF and co-founded Unitary, using AI to moderate harmful content and create a safer internet.
  • Matt Wilson co-founded a different company before joining EF, which had raised a £1M seed round. He then joined EF and co-founded Omnipresent, which has now raised well over $100m in funding, with 450 employees in 50+ countries, helping businesses build better teams.
  • Rob Bishop, co-founder of Magic Pony Technology (exited to Twitter for £150M) built and sold IP with another EF cohort member, between receiving his offer and starting the programme.
  • Harry Lucas, co-founder of Phasio, developed a SaaS product while still at university to help vineyards predict grape yield. What started as a side project turned into his first startup and raised $100,000. 
  • Tomide Adesanmi, co-founder of Circuit Mind, has always relentlessly created side projects, from an app for finding short videos that had thousands of users, to a programmable 3D light cube that he used to teach kids to code at nationwide workshops. 

In entrepreneurship, you’re held to account by your customers – the people you’re trying to help – and what they’re willing to give, be that time or money, to be able to use your product. Value is the currency of entrepreneurship. Let that be your north star. 

As a founder, your job is to build things that people value, and if you do that at scale, your personal success can create a genuinely positive outcome for humanity.


At EF, we believe the best way to fulfil your career ambitions is to found a company. If you have an inkling that that might be true, we’d love you to apply to the programme.

Take the first step towards becoming a founder.