The tech industry is a haphazard, chaotic scramble of companies, capital, and recruiters. Among this craze, I have been lucky enough to meet, and in some cases befriend, some very talented people - from VCs and CEOs to contractors trying to get their foot in the door.

There is one characteristic that seems to be very polarized in the valley: heart.

So, that’s what I want to talk about.

When I say that someone has heart, what I mean is that they are seriously emotionally involved with their work. They do what they do for a reason, and that reason is not encompassed solely by logic. It’s that purely human urge to move forward.

I believe heart is the essential ingredient to a Silicon Valley “success story.” People either have it or they don’t, and after talking to someone for 5 minutes, it’s usually obvious where they stand.

Building from the heart means:

  1. If out looking for a job, you don’t choose a company because you want to network with the founders or get a fantastic salary. You choose a company because what you’ll be working on blows your mind.

  2. You get excited every time you pitch your product/idea because you re-realize that what you’re doing is easily worth the hardship.

  3. When your friends say “Why do you work so much?”, you think “work…? This is play.”

  4. You do whatever it takes to see the vision become reality - whether that means learning to pitch or learning to program. (Or squatting at AOL, like my friend Eric).

  5. You get impatient. Not because you’re directly mad at yourself or others, but because the damn thing isn’t built yet and you want to use it!

  6. When someone tries to poach you, you mirror it back! If they want to work with you, they better join you, not vice-versa.

If you don’t have heart, it’s my opinion that you’re not working on the right idea. If you do, keep doing what you’re doing and luck will find it’s way to you.