This past week, I had independent conversations with a few people about spotting talented people early. Their perspectives varied because they’re in different industries: music, technology, and sports. All three are industries where talented people can have outsize success.
I won’t dive into the conversations, but let me just say they had a common thread: identifying talent before there’s data, traction, or association with a credible brand is hard. For example, Justin Bieber put out YouTube videos before his career got off the ground. Recognizing his talent among a sea of YouTube videos was hard, but Scooter Braun did just that.
Identifying talented people and developing them is arduous work. Many avoid it because it’s so hard. Instead, they prefer to come in after the talent has traction or numbers that are undeniable. There’s nothing wrong with this as it mitigates risk, but it’s not my preferred approach. My view is that yes, it’s difficult, but it’s fulfilling and an opportunity to have an impact. Recognizing something special in someone and helping them reach their potential is incredibly rewarding to me. Especially if they wouldn’t otherwise have gotten an opportunity.