If you could go back in time, to when you were 24 what piece of advice would you give yourself? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
1) Trust your instincts. In 1986, when I was 24, it was the dawn of the modern PC era. I was in law school with my future wife. We had a Commodore Amiga, and we were playing a lot of video games and talking a lot about video game design. I loved everything about games, and I knew it was going to be a big new industry. But instead of taking a risk and knocking on doors of games companies for a job, I took the safer path, finished school, and went to work in a law firm for a couple of years. Meanwhile, the games business in the US took off and I watched from the sidelines.
2) Learn everything you can about your craft, ideally from a great mentor. I missed many opportunities to connect with and learn from others when I was in my 20's. As a young person, I was more introverted and had a deep anti-authoritarian streak (actually, that never fully went away), which got in my way from time to time. I was lucky that at the right time in my career I had a boss like Brian Kelly at Activision (then the CFO, now co-chairman) who patiently taught me the games business inside and out, and who was equally skeptical of conventional wisdom.
3) Good timing and serendipity can be as important as being right. There are moments when you will need to make bold choices, and you usually won't get a second chance on the same terms. You are always going to make those choices based on incomplete information and uncertainty. My partner Matt Cohler often says that the job of a venture capitalist is not to predict the future, but to see the present very, very clearly. I could have used that advice throughout my career.
4) Be optimistic. Ask yourself "what could go right," not just "what could go wrong."
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