Pip Jamieson is the British-born founder of The Dots. A website working to change the way companies can recruit talent, and individuals can present their skills and experience to employers. Unlike market leader, LinkedIn, The Dots takes a more modern approach to the way your resume is presented. Rather than being text heavy and laid out like a list, The Dots invites you to use visuals, share projects, and add collaborators to those projects. It encourages blending your side-hustles with your “day job” allowing you to give a broader presentation of who you are.
After getting a degree in Economics from Edinburgh, Pip entered the Civil Service. She realised fairly quickly that she needed to be in a more creative environment but did learn a valuable lesson from her time spent working with Politician David Blunkett. David Blunkett is a blind MP and working with him made Jamieson more acutely aware of the prejudice of people by the fact Blunkett did not carry them. He was physically unable to judge people based on their appearance and as a result gave everyone the time of day based on what they had to say.
She left that world and entered the music industry working for MTV. It was during her time here, while based in Australia, that Pip came up with the idea for a better recruitment approach. Despite all the talk of diversity and looking for talent from different areas, she found that the mass of indistinguishable CVs coming through for job openings led to people hiring through recommendations. Ie someone else in the office “knows someone”, creating a consistently homogenised workforce.
With a business partner in tow, Pip left MTV and founded The Loop. A website which saw success very quickly. Within a couple of years over 67% of all creatives in Australia actively used the site and they had over 11,000 clients looking for talent or promoting their brands there.
Believing in the power of the platform, Pip set her sights on Europe and a move back to the UK. Unfortunately for Pip, her business partner didn’t share her ambitions for world domination and the two parted professional ways. She exited the business, acquired the technology rights to the platform and funded her first seed round, re-launching in September 2014 under new branding, The Dots.
“It’s an amazing gift – being given the second chance in the same business. We made so many mistakes the first time round – and to be able to start again and learn from that was great. It was the best thing that ever, ever happened.” – Pip Jamieson
The Dots is currently still very much in the grind place. With a number of potential users only limited by the Global job-seeking population, it absolutely has the potential to get to the place LinkedIn has, but it won’t be an easy ride. Immersed in the thick of it, there are lots of lessons to be learnt from Pip who’s natural warmth doesn’t mask her steely determination and willpower.
It’s Hard and Then it Gets Harder
“I’ve realised now, it’s the low bits where I learn the most”
“You just have to persevere through all of the shit”
So You Need To Love What You Do
“You just have to say goodbye to your life. I know you’re meant to have a work-life balance, but for me, I would do this as a hobby if I wasn’t doing it commercially, so it is my work life balance.”
And Look After Yourself
“Anyone who’s doing a startup, you have to look after your mental health… I work 14-16 hours a day, 6 days a week, then on Sundays I have a day of pure mindfulness.”
The Role For Mentors
Having spent a lot of time proactively seeking female mentors in tech, Pip realised she needed to take a different approach as these women just simply were too in demand. With a shortage of women, she went after men, with daughters!
“I’ve found monthly coffees with a ‘mentor’ is not an effective use of time. So instead, I have a portfolio of mentors who are experts on different topics like raising capital, growth, leadership, product development, design etc. When I have a problem I contact one of these mentors; we might speak multiple times that week – then I leave them in peace, often not bothering them again for months until I have another problem… there are an army of amazing men (particularly the ones with daughters) who want to see women rise the ranks. So I’ve managed to punch way above my weight and secure an army of male CEOs, VC. ECDs etc”
You Will Have To Leave Some People Behind
In a talk I attended by Pip, I noticed there were three ways she’d experienced having to leave people behind. Each was tough but fundamental in allowing her to grow with her business onto the next stage of her life.
Firstly, to make the move to the UK, she had to leave her business partner behind. Whilst this was highlighted as one of her biggest career lows, without that The Dots would never have been born.
She also had the following criteria for her founding team: Mission to vision, talent, data, commercial acumen, perseverance, contrarian. A believer that “One bad apple can rot a barrel”, Pip has worked hard to ensure that her team are happy and motivated and has had to let go of employees who altered the energy of her team.
And finally, when you’re working 6days a week, maintaining friendships is hard. Something people are often afraid to talk about Pip spoke to reaching the conclusion that if people were going to complain about her lack of availability, rather than supporting her commitment to The Dots, it wasn’t going to be possible to really maintain that friendship. When you give your time to one thing, you have to take time from another.
But If You’re Chasing A Dream, It’s Worth It…
“starting a business is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done”