Ex-Googler Turned Startup CEO: ‘Cold Email Your Idols’


LIz Wessel may look like a fresh-faced young adult but don't let that fool you. Despite her young age, she is co-founder and CEO of WayUp. Liz's important challenge to her employees and everyone: cold email your idols.

WayUp is a website used by college students and job seekers to find jobs and internships in great companies like Uber, Disney, Microsoft, The New York Times and Wessel's former company, Google. She founded her company with JJ Fliegelman.

The 25-year-old Liz shared with Business Insider her story and why she is such a big fan of cold emailing and reaching out to people she doesn't know. She recounts her experience back when she was a senior in college.

Torn between 2 job offers, Wessel said she wrote her best email to Roelof Botha, venture capitalist and currently a partner with Sequoia Capital and former CFO of PayPal. Liz looked up to Botha so she thought about cold emailing him to ask for advice.

Between offers of working in a venture capital firm and product marketing in Google, Botha advised the the aspiring entrepreneur to take Google to have the operational experience. Liz followed his advice and the rest was history.

After starting her company, Wessel challenged her employees to do the same because she believes we all need to grow and have at least one mentor in our professional lives. One of their company values is, "Be a master at your craft, but know you're not the master."

Cold emailing can get you a chance to learn more from the masters in the field. Liz shares one example where one of her staff wrote a cold email to Marketing guru Guy Kawasaki. Her employee, Nikki Schlecker got more than an email. She got to have coffee with Kawasaki who livestreamed their meeting.

When crafting your email Liz suggests to make it personal. Share if you have something in common. If you're a college student, say that you are and tell them what you plan to do in the future.

Remember to keep it short and to the point. Tell them what you want to get out of the meeting. Ask a question or for advice but not for a job, especially not on that first email.

Make it interesting and thank the person for their time.

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