Twitter, Gary Vaynerchuk and Pursuing Your Passion

One of my favorite quotes is by Gary Vaynerchuk, the serial entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author:

The chef that grew up with the grandma who cooks tends to always beat the chef that went to the culinary institute. It’s in the blood.

Now, for those of you reading this who don’t know a) who I am or b) the importance of this quote, I’ll keep it brief.

My name is Ryan MacInnis, and up until yesterday, was a product marketing manager at Twitter. Before that, I wrote sports for the Boston Globe and worked at Acquia, a software startup where I was on both the content and product marketing teams. I never had what you would call “formal marketing training,” though I now advise many startups who have raised millions of dollars in funding with my guidance.

I was an English major, and before that, an aspiring music major who wanted nothing more than to play trumpet in the Boston Pops via an education at Julliard in New York City. But as most liberal arts majors find out, the path to glory is paved with glimpses of hope, clouded by fierce stomps of realism. I realized early on that many English majors let the confines of what the market expects of them, control what they end up doing for the rest of their lives.

And that sucks.

So I networked, I learned to code on the side, I attended meetings when I wasn’t invited, and worked my face off to build a career I was passionate about.

Now, I’m excited to start a new journey, leading marketing at Robin, a Boston-based startup that makes room booking seamless, paving the way for the future of the connected office.

But back to that quote.

The “grandmother” in my life who taught me how to cook was a series of mentors and close friends, and not an education in business or marketing.

What they don’t teach you in the classroom is how to bounce ideas off of someone who has invested in and built startups valued at over $1 billion. They don’t tell you about feelings, or how each and every time you interact with a customer, a prospect or a partner, you’re playing an emotional game of chess. They also don’t tell you what launch days are like, late nights when it’s just you and the maintenance staff, or early mornings at Dunkin Donuts where you can’t remember your simple iced coffee order because you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in nearly a month.

But it’s all worth it.

The grandmother always wins, because when you’re there, experiencing these things first-hand with someone who has worked towards mastering it their entire life, it’s invaluable. Professionally, that’s where I’ve found the most success and as I close this chapter, I want to thank everyone at Twitter who has made the last year of my life one of the most challenging, yet personally invigorating ones to date.

The other itch I’ve always wanted to scratch has been in the writing world.

I’ve always written poetry, short stories, even long form pieces of content that reflect my introverted alter ego that spends way too much time on the lawn in Central Park. I’ve even held the title of resident wordsmith in my previous jobs, being the go-to person for clear, concise, and thought-provoking writing. And up until now, I’ve been searching for ways to pursue writing more seriously and make that passion more evident in my daily life.

With that said, I’m super excited to announce that I’ve signed with the Nancy Yost Literary Agency, and more specifically represented by Sarah Younger as I pursue a career in writing……more to come on that at a later point ;)

I’ll be capping off the trifecta by moving to New York City in the May/June timeframe to live in a place where I’ve always dreamt of living. The people, the hustle, the culture; it’s simply unmatched. And for me, at this point in my life, I wouldn’t be ok with passing it up.

This is just the beginning, and I’m excited for what the future holds.

Throughout this journey, I’ve learned that too many people are afraid to take risks, myself included. Whether it’s a family that tells you all of the things that could go wrong, your confidence in yourself, or the fear of “what if it doesn’t work out,” you need to search for the strength to pursue your passion. I’ll leave you with a quote that lit my fire during the entirety of my decision making process on all the above announcements.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Eliot
Ryan MacInnis