Uncubed co-founder: ‘Smell the culture of an office’

NEW YORK–If you were at the Startup Grind last January 21, you would have heard about the startups you should not work for from Tarek Pertew himself, the co-founder and chief creative officer of Uncubed, which holds big hiring conferences. He also runs a publication, Wakefield.


What are the names of these companies? Since Pertew asked if the event was being recorded, it behooves us to keep our lips sealed, except for the company he did say you should work for: It’s Behance, the site that offers creative professionals a site to showcase their portfolio.

“Behance is the No 1 place to work for,” he said, pointing out how the company takes care of its employees very well. He did not elaborate. But he did emphasize how important it is to know the startup you’re applying to as he likes to keep reminding anyone.

Pertew asked us to trust our instinct when job-hunting.. “Smell the culture of an office, (Watch) if people are looking down on you the moment you walk in. You’ll feel it.”

Tarek has been featured as an expert in startups and employment in a number of publications, including the NY Times, Forbes, CNN, CBS, About.com and a jobs expert for Newsday. Pertew  co-founded a couple of startups in the hiring space Referio, a crowd-sourcing referral hiring platform and MyWorkster, a platform that connects alumni with students, ultimately evolving into a national job fair business.


You need to have a presence on Linkedin. and it should up to date. Having a presence in one other social network like Twitter or Quora is also vital.


Now assuming you have picked a startup to work for, how do you keep your job?


“The most powerful thing is having a command of the (English) language,” he said by way of presenting yourself and, as he mentioned earlier and just as crucial, having the writing chops, which he said proved helpful in his startup’s early stages.

Asked about the fictional character he would hire, he said the Count of Monte Cristo whom he thought was resourceful. “It’s very hard to teach resourcefulness.”

Uncubed has not raised venture capital, although he did get an uncle to invest in his early business. Pertew started as a clothing buyer at Lord & Taylor. Selling T-shirts was his first foray into entrepreneurship a decade ago.

Everybody was into selling T-shirts at the time, so how did he do it? “The difference between success and failure is timing,” he said.

Dennis Clemente

Shuttling between New York and other US cities, Dennis writes about tech meetups when he's not too busy working as a Web Developer/Producer + UX Writer and Digital Marketer.

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