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The story of an
accidental career
why you don’t need to join the rat race (if you don’t want to)
Chris Philipps 

Co-Found...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Chris Philipps, Co-Founder / MD 

at PHILIPPS & BYRNE

• Tech advisory ...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Why this talk?
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
I. My father
Why this talk?
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
II. Because we met so many scared young people
Why this talk?
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Why this talk?
I have to study the right thing
I have to get my degree fa...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
If I don’t do everything right, I won’t make it
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
You know what?
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
3 different career stories
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Inga Bergen, CEO Magnosco
• Started as: Apprentice travel management assi...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Lars Jankowfsky, CEO NFQ Asia
• Started as: Mechanical Engineering Studen...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Chris
• Started as: German
Literature Student (Drop-
out)
• Now: Founder ...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
None of us followed a typical career path
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Listen to your gut feeling

• Follow you interest / curiosity

• Allow ...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Develop meta-skills

• Be the first to provide value 

• Get a mentor 

...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
It’s the most important step in the entire process
Define “Success” - for ...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Start with values
Define “Success” - for YOU!
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Audience: What are your values?
Define “Success” - for YOU!
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Authenticity
• Achievement
• Adventure
• Authority
• Autonomy
• Balance...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
“Career”
Values
Define “Success” - for YOU!
Career Values
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
“But this is not what I’ve been told!”
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Impostor Syndrome (and not talking about it)
• Limiting belief systems
...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Impostor Syndrome (and not talking about it)

• Limiting belief systems...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Impostor Syndrome (and not talking about it)

• Limiting belief systems...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Fear? 

Growth is always scary. Accept it.
A word about fear
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Find your
Tribe: 

Icons, 

Role Models,
Mentors,
Peers
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Success starts with reflection: “What’s important to me?”

• Follow your...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Find Philipps & Byrne:
www.philipps-byrne.com
Find Chris:
e-Mail: chris@p...
Images:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Personalised-Tinder-Social-Selfie-Classic/dp/B07C9179FD
https://tenor.com
https://tenor.co...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
Bonus Tracks (aka out-takes)
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Do you have a vision? 

• If not: Unknown territory - explore with baby...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• One of the European experts / go-to
people for TechDDs in startups

• 1...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• University drop-out after 6 semesters of German Literature, Philosophy ...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• “Ich-AG” in 2003; distance between desk and bed: 1,5m

• Founded an int...
Chris Philipps
The story of an accidental career
• Pressure

• Fear 

• Discomfort

• No time for family, friends, …

• Hi...
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The story of an accidental career

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Chris Philipps on building an accidental career off the beaten track.
Nowadays more and more young people are putting tremendous pressure on themselves to make the right career choices. The best school grades, the right university, the fastest bachelor, a semester abroad, internship in the right companies - every step is planned in advance and does not leave space for trial and error and exploration. When asked for their motives, people reveal that they often see that as their only chance to succeed.

In this session, Chris talks about his own career but also other careers that seem to be totally random and only make sense in retrospect. He shows off the beaten paths success patterns and main drivers for success (whatever that word really means).

This talk addresses both young professionals as well as more advanced people who are feeling stuck and who are struggling to build a career despite their best efforts.

About Chris Philipps:
Chris is a co-founder of Philipps & Byrne, a tech advisory company based in Berlin specialising in Tech Due Diligence. He has worked as Interim CTO for many well-known companies. He has performed over 100 Tech DDs and worked with over 150 startups and investors worldwide. Chris contributes regularly as a conference and keynote speaker (Google, TOA, GOTO, JAX, Code. Talks, Unicorns in Tech, Continental, Bosch..) and has contributed to various books regarding tech & Agile leadership.

Published in: Education
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The story of an accidental career

  1. 1. The story of an accidental career why you don’t need to join the rat race (if you don’t want to) Chris Philipps Co-Founder / Managing Partner
  2. 2. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Chris Philipps, Co-Founder / MD 
 at PHILIPPS & BYRNE • Tech advisory and leadership development for startups • Tech Due Diligence for VCs • 100+ Tech DDs, 150+ startups worldwide • 20 years in Tech: Dev, Web Operations, QA, Interim CTO Hi!
  3. 3. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Why this talk?
  4. 4. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career I. My father Why this talk?
  5. 5. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career II. Because we met so many scared young people Why this talk?
  6. 6. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Why this talk? I have to study the right thing I have to get my degree fast I must not quit I must not fail I must pursue my career I’m 30. I must become team lead now Must be popular Must earn money Must fulfil expectations Must have a title I must have the best grades I must work at a well-known company I must finish school with 18 I must do internships at the right companies I must spend a semester abroad
  7. 7. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career
  8. 8. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career If I don’t do everything right, I won’t make it
  9. 9. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career You know what?
  10. 10. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career 3 different career stories
  11. 11. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Inga Bergen, CEO Magnosco • Started as: Apprentice travel management assistant, Raver ;) • Now: CEO of Magnosco, one of the leading people in digital health in Germany • Her story: Studied Political Science, worked in India and Turkey, worked in sales/BD, first CEO position in a Health Tech company and rebuilt the company successfully. • Advice to others: “Allow yourself to develop truly originary thinking” Advice to younger self (1999): 
 “If there is an opportunity: TAKE IT!”
  12. 12. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Lars Jankowfsky, CEO NFQ Asia • Started as: Mechanical Engineering Student (Drop-out) • Now: Founder of NFQ Asia (around 180 people) • His story: Was a geek in private, accidentally became 
 software developer; went bankrupt with his first company;
 co-founded Oxid and Swoodoo (sold to Kayak) • Advice to others: “Become very, very good at one thing 
 that you really love” Advice to younger self (1999): “Kauf die Domains, Du Depp!” (“Buy the domains, stupid!”)
  13. 13. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Chris • Started as: German Literature Student (Drop- out) • Now: Founder of Philipps & Byrne; one of the European experts for Tech DDs in startups • My story: University drop- out after 6 semesters;
 only excited about internet and startups; became Fachinformatiker, started my own company; went back to startup scene, became CTO and advisor; started Tech DDs because I ‘thought they are interesting’ • Advice to others: “Be always true to yourself; that’s the most interesting thing about you” Advice to younger self (1999): “Take more risks. Stop overthinking. Follow the energy!”
  14. 14. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career None of us followed a typical career path
  15. 15. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Listen to your gut feeling • Follow you interest / curiosity • Allow yourself to make mistakes (and learn fast!) • Be persistent (not always but when it counts) Common Patterns for Success
  16. 16. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Develop meta-skills • Be the first to provide value • Get a mentor • Get a tribe Common Patterns for Success
  17. 17. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career It’s the most important step in the entire process Define “Success” - for YOU!
  18. 18. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Start with values Define “Success” - for YOU!
  19. 19. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Audience: What are your values? Define “Success” - for YOU!
  20. 20. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Authenticity • Achievement • Adventure • Authority • Autonomy • Balance • Beauty • Boldness • Compassion • Challenge • Citizenship • Community • Competency • Contribution • Creativity • Curiosity • Determination • Fairness • Faith • Fame • Friendships Define “Success” - for YOU! https://jamesclear.com/core-values • Fun • Growth • Happiness • Honesty • Humor • Influence • Inner Harmony • Justice • Kindness • Knowledge • Leadership • Learning • Love • Loyalty • Meaningful Work • Openness • Optimism • Peace • Pleasure • Poise • Popularity • Recognition • Religion • Reputation • Respect • Responsibility • Security • Self-Respect • Service • Spirituality • Stability • Success • Status • Trustworthiness • Wealth • Wisdom …. Pick three:
  21. 21. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career “Career” Values Define “Success” - for YOU! Career Values
  22. 22. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career “But this is not what I’ve been told!”
  23. 23. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Impostor Syndrome (and not talking about it) • Limiting belief systems • Living other people’s idea of success Anti-Patterns
  24. 24. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Impostor Syndrome (and not talking about it) • Limiting belief systems • Living other people’s idea of success Anti-Patterns
  25. 25. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Impostor Syndrome (and not talking about it) • Limiting belief systems • Living other people’s idea of success Anti-Patterns
  26. 26. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Fear? 
 Growth is always scary. Accept it. A word about fear
  27. 27. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Find your Tribe: 
 Icons, 
 Role Models, Mentors, Peers
  28. 28. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Success starts with reflection: “What’s important to me?” • Follow your interest, become really good at it • Look for mentors and a tribe • If you don’t know your vision: explore! Conclusion
  29. 29. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Find Philipps & Byrne: www.philipps-byrne.com Find Chris: e-Mail: chris@philipps-byrne.com LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/chris-philipps-a523758/ Twitter: @chphilipps Instagram: @chris_philipps_ Thank you!
  30. 30. Images: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Personalised-Tinder-Social-Selfie-Classic/dp/B07C9179FD https://tenor.com https://tenor.com/20b522b9-8f88-4740-bd51-1c20a4667fb6 https://tenor.com/88ff5db5-003d-4edb-ac91-b6c8fc5ad505 https://tenor.com/view/borat-great-success-gif-3994949 Inga Bergen Lars Jankowfsky Chris Philipps / Ivooo
  31. 31. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career Bonus Tracks (aka out-takes)
  32. 32. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Do you have a vision? • If not: Unknown territory - explore with baby-steps • Test, inspect, adapt • Career MVPs • Happiness Index! Use your agile tool-kit
  33. 33. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • One of the European experts / go-to people for TechDDs in startups • 150+ startups, 100+ TechDD’s, worldwide • Owner of my own company Now • Interim CTO ( OUTFITTERY, crealytics, Ryte, DailyDeal, …) • Startup mentor for equity • Speaker, author, conference organiser • Not insanely rich but doing well Most importantly: Happy with and good at what I am doing
  34. 34. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • University drop-out after 6 semesters of German Literature, Philosophy and red wine :)
 • No internships, no semesters abroad, no side jobs
 • Apprenticeship as “Fachinformatiker” at a startup which went bankrupt after 1,5 years (see also: “New Economy”) • 1st burnout right after first startup • Was wondering what to do - had literally NO idea (and was depressed about it) Not quite a by-the-book start…
  35. 35. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • “Ich-AG” in 2003; distance between desk and bed: 1,5m • Founded an internet agency because I had no better idea • “New Economy” crisis • Had no clue about business - made more mistakes than I could count • Worked 70 hours a week on Hartz IV level (aka “Lehrgeld”) • Participated in bastard software project from hell™ • 2nd burn-out It’s a long way to Tipperary
  36. 36. Chris Philipps The story of an accidental career • Pressure • Fear • Discomfort • No time for family, friends, … • High Risks • Continuous self-improvement Disclaimer: Most “success” comes with a price

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