Learn how Eric Bahn went from Customer Service to Venture Capitalist

Eric Bahn is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist based in the bay area. He is currently the co-founder and general partner at The Hustle Fund.

Follow him on Twitter @ericbahn

At a glance.

  • Eric Bahn began his career as customer support agent at Intuit.

  • He cut his teeth as a Product Manager at Intuit and Instagram.

  • Bahn started a blog called Beat the GMAT that ended up becoming a 9 year project consisting of 9 different pivots which eventually became a data analytics business that he ran and eventually sold to the Daily Mail group.

Eric Bahn’s 20s.

In his adolescence, like many, Eric Bahn thought law would make a suitable career. However, after interviewing a dozen or so professionals across the legal spectrum, Bahn found one commonality across all his interviews. They bored him to death. This early research saved him from a potentially unsatisfying career and brought him into the world of business.

He was able to make it into Stanford to study political science and sociology, yet, had subpar grades, did not spend his summers super effectively, and played a lot of video games. Thus, upon graduation, despite his prestigious undergraduate degree, Eric Bahn found himself in Tuscon, Arizona working in customer service as part of an Intuit rotational program. This was a humbling yet crucial experience for Bahn as he found that despite his pedigree, his co-workers, many of whom were ex-convicts and recovering drug addicts, were far better at the job than him. His experience as a customer support agent, taking calls from angry customers and solving their problems ended up being deeply impactful despite its status on the surface. Throughout his time at Intuit as a Rotational Development Associate and Product Manager, Bahn was able to gain valuable broad exposure to a variety of business functions like corporate strategy, marketing, and design.

Around the same time he began his first job at Intuit, Bahn started a company called Beat the GMAT which made him fall in love with entrepreneurship. He steadily worked on this business, which started out as a blog, for 3.5 years while at Intuit before leaving to work on it full time. After another 4.5 years and many more pivots, Bahn sold Beat the GMAT as a data analytics business to the Daily Mail group.

Bahn went on to refine himself as a product manager at Instagram before breaking into VC with 500 startups before subsequently launching The Hustle Fund.

Lessons.

  • How do you figure out what to do with your life? Begin by living your life, try many different things, and fail a lot.

  • Do your research. Before committing to a career path, speak to those already in that industry to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day experience.

  • Learn from everyone. Everyone is better than you at something, thus, everyone has something to teach you.****

  • Become a better listener. When having a conversation with someone, actually listen to them. Don’t just silently form rebuttals to them in an attempt to sound intelligent.

Links

Bahn wrote this blog post giving advice to his 25-year-old self.

Listen to the full inTheir20s episode with Eric Bahn.