Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Thoughts On Silicon Valley: Build The Future

The receptionist at Upwork was working from home
Upwork did not have a receptionist. Or, they had one, but she was working from home. She always works from home. Think about that for a bit. A “front desk officer” who works from home. Oh, and she was freelancing.

Is that the future of work, or at least some part of it? I don’t know, but Upwork is betting it is, and they have built the world’s largest freelancing marketplace in preparation for that future. Freelancers on Upwork billed over $1bn annually as of last year. This encapsulates my view of Silicon Valley: a place where people imagine a different version of the future and then build it.

There are many good courses at INSEAD taught by great Professors. It is hard to pick a favorite, so I’ll say Building Business in Silicon Valley is one of my favorites. As part of the course, we spent last week meeting people at a variety of companies in Silicon Valley. I wrote furiously throughout the week, filling up my notebook. I decided to share some of my thoughts here and answer a few questions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Thoughts From Silicon Valley: So Good They Can't Ignore You

INSEAD 18Ds take Silicon Valley

Katie Dill is an incredible person! For about an hour yesterday, she held me and a group of other INSEAD MBA candidates spellbound as she talked about her career journey, her thoughts on design, and her passion for the future Lyft is helping to create.

As Vice President of Design at Lyft, Katie oversees design in a broad sense across the company. This includes user experience, product, and other areas. Prior to joining Lyft, she was Director of Experience Design at AirBnB for about four years. She oversaw Airbnb's service experience and trust and payments platform, and grew the design team there from ten people to a hundred. She was recognized as one of Fast Co’s Most Creative People in Business in 2017.

As I sat there and listened to her, my mind kept returning to one of the more important books I have read recently: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. Cal’s thesis in the book is simple: ability is important.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thoughts From Above The Oregon Mountains

A grossly inadequate picture of the grand mountains of Oregon

Looking out the window of the plane at the rocky mountains of Oregon this afternoon, two things strike me. First, the vast, diverse, and proud terrain of this planet we call home. Second, the adaptability and indomitability of our species.

From above, I can make out the telltale signs of human presence: roads snaking across the foot of this mountain, a perfectly rounded field here, a quarry there. It is incredible that what started as a band of hunter-gatherers moving a few kilometers northward in search of food, to escape conflict, or for whatever reason propelled early men out of Africa, has resulted in our spread over the entire place.

A third thing - or set of things - comes to mind now. How beautiful our planet is; how small one man is in the grand scheme of things; how little one lifespan is compared to the eternity of time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

How to make something of your life? A simple and practical guide

I don’t like motivational writing and I had second thoughts about writing this. The more I thought about it however, the more I felt I should. If it gets just one person to act differently, then it is worth it.

My friend from university, Tobi Ogunsina, will be 30 in a few days. She started a countdown on Instagram and I found myself looking forward to her daily posts. We spoke recently, and our conversation got me thinking about the passing of time and how one makes something of their life. Writing this followed from there.

My friend from university, Tobi (Akinbo) Ogunsina, will be 30 in a few days.
How does one make something of their life? Is there a road map for making the most of your talents and skills? I will present a simple and actionable framework based on my limited experience and learning from books and people. It is so simple that there is nothing here you didn’t already know.