Category Archives: Career

Skills that pay the bills, and those that don’t

Skills to learn and excel in:


Skills that give diminishing returns:



Your thoughts?

Silicon Valley: My Home

Silcon Valley.jpg

Where you do live and work? Comment below!

Imagining the Path to Success

Embed from Getty Images

If you’re procrastinating, stuck, or struggling to meet a goal, try this (seemingly simple) technique: Write your goal down, then devise different possible ways of achieving it, and finally, close your eyes and imagine yourself carrying out each one. Evidence shows that imagining a movement will stimulate the movement areas in the brain; so by envisioning the steps you must take to reach a certain objective, you “jump start” the brain into action. And focusing on creating clear mental images can also help reduce anxiety and improve confidence. This may seem more challenging if you don’t know the distinct steps needed to reach your goal – but imagery hones your attention and actually activates particular brain regions that make you capable of unconsciously mapping a path to success. So not knowing “how” is OK. Just focus on your goal and imagine the different paths toward reaching it

Adapted from “To Reach Your Goals, Make a Mental Movie” by Srini Pillay.”




Don’t be a startup martyr

Lots of founders wear sleep deprivation like a badge of honor. Eli Luberoff thinks this is silly and has implemented a “don’t come to work tired” policy at his company, Desmos. In this video interview, he explains how rested employees are more productive.

Source: Don’t be a startup martyr, get some sleep! — Tech News and Analysis.

A Man, a Car and His Startup

In two days, I will leave my cushy life in Los Angeles to live from my car in Silicon Valley. Yep, that’s right. From my car. It’s going to be one of the most adventurous things I’ve ever done, and will be a challenge to say the least.

Why am I doing it? Trust me, a lot of serious thought went into this decision. The main reason being that the Bay Area is the center of the startup universe, and I know that locating there is best for both my startup and me as an entrepreneur. That being the case, I’m going to do whatever it takes to be in that environment.

Source: A Man, a Car and His Startup • A Man, a Car and His Startup.


The annual performance review will live on. But managers and employees now have a slew of new tools to chart and reward workers progress. Virtual Rewards The adult equivalent of scout merit badges. Managers can create awards such as “most … Continue reading

Best Examples of General Career Advice?

During two years of business school at Stanford, I wrote down the best advicefrom our professors and lecturers. This advice is from my favorite teachers and lecturers, including Andy Rachleff, Mark Leslie, Irv Grousbeck, Joel Peterson, Eric Schmidt, and many others.

Admittedly, a lot of this is focused on technology industry, but much is generally applicable. Thought it might be interesting to others.

  • Successful people listen. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio. You learn more when you listen than when you talk.
  • Pareto principle: Always look for the 80/20. 80 percent of the value is delivered by 20 percent of the product/service. Focus on that 20 percent.
  • The importance of passion. When Warren Buffet finds people to run his business, his key criteria is to find somebody who would do the job whether they would get paid or not.
  • Be likable. People who are liked have the wind at their backs. So be liked.
  • Just when you think you’ve got it 100% right, you can be taken down.
  • People who are lucky make their own luck. And you only make your own luck by staying in the game.
  • Put on “the cloak” of leadership. A large part of your role is to inspire and motivate your employees, and people will look to you for confidence. If you were on a plane with engine problems, you don’t want the pilot to say “I am exploring a number of options and hope that…”, you want him to say, “I will do whatever it takes to land this plane.”
  • The outcome of a negotiation is largely a function of your alternatives.Know your next best option.
  • You will only be as good as the people you will recruit. Media & culture celebrate individuals, but teams succeed.
  • The best scientists can explain complex issues in simple terms. Pretty good scientists can explain complex issues in complex terms.
  • A’s hire A’s. B’s hire C’s. Always strive to hire people better than you are.
  • Be a clear, fair manager. For example, when speaking to a business unit leader that isn’t succeeding, say: “I want a strategy to win in 1-page and the objectives we need to hit each quarter to reach them.”
  • When considering a business opportunity, look for change. What inflection point are you taking advantage of? Without change, there is rarely opportunity.
  • When in doubt, just keep selling. Not a bad default strategy to communicate to your team.
  • Be humble. The markets are brutal to those who are arrogant.
  • Understand what you don’t do well. Surround yourself with people and resources that can do these things well.
  • Practice self-discipline. Set targets, have timetables, have clear unambiguous goals. Life passes quickly – days, weeks, months, years, a lifetime. “Regret for the things we did, can be tempered by time. It is regret for the things that we did not do that is inconsolable.”
  • Be yourself. In group settings, you usually serve the group best by thoughtfully expressing exactly what you are thinking. Not necessarily what the group wants to hear.
  • Learn to relax. Often overachievers are passionate about many things. Yet  it’s important to learn not to always care so much. Try being indifferent to things that aren’t that important.
  • You’ve got to give trust to get trust. Treat people as you would want to be treated. Sometimes people take advantage of you. That’s fine, don’t do business with them again.
  • Shoot for the moon.To be successful, don’t follow the pack. If you want to win, don’t hedge.

And, here is some good final advice (from Joel Peterson):

“Appreciate the people you work with, take care of your investors, celebrate successes along the way, communicate lavishly – good news and bad news, tell the truth, don’t try to maximize everything, and stop to smell the roses. Life is pretty short and most of what really matters doesn’t happen at the office.”


How To Take Control of Your Next Job Interview

At the end of every job interview, you’ll encounter the inevitable question, “Do you have any questions for me?”

While it’s an oh-so-predictable event, many job candidates aren’t prepared to shine when they reach this final test in the interview. Failing to ask any questions or asking the wrong questions can send the wrong signals.

Stephanie Daniel, senior vice president of career management company Keystone Associates, spoke with us about her thoughts on how job interviewees can take control of their next job interview by asking the right questions. Read on for her thoughts on what to ask and which questions to avoid when it’s your turn to interrogate.

Asking the Right Questions

When the interviewer gives you the opportunity to ask your own questions, be prepared. Daniel recommends that interviewees prepare five to seven questions, with the expectation that there will probably only be time to ask just three. “Keep in mind that some of the questions you might have prepared will be answered during the course of the interview, so it’s always a smart idea to have back-ups,” says Daniel.

“Too many job seekers respond to this standard interview question with the standard ‘safe’ responses,” says Daniel. “‘Will I be hearing from you or should I contact you?’ or ‘Why is this position open?’ In this very competitive job market, job candidates cannot afford to ask safe questions. Candidates must show that they are the best candidate by demonstrating that they are looking out for the needs and interests of the interviewer.”

So, what types of questions should you ask? Daniel suggests considering a few of the following:

  • Is there a work issue that keeps you up at night and, given what you know about my background, how do you think I could help?

“Here’s your opportunity to demonstrate a genuine interest in the day-to-day challenges your future manager is facing, Daniel explains. “By asking this question, the interviewer will start to envision you as an employee and will give you some initial thoughts on how you might help solve their most pressing problems.”

  • What is the most gratifying aspect of the work you do for XYZ company? What’s your best advice to someone starting out at this company?

“Asking the interviewer about the most gratifying aspect of the work she or he does helps you better understand what drives them,” Daniel explains. “Drivers include things like making the best product on the market, helping others, making money, curing an illness or creating a hot, new technology, etc. Ask yourself how the interviewer’s drivers align with your own. The answer to the ‘best advice’ question yields valuable insights on what behaviors lead to a successful transition into the company. It gives you clues on what you can do to put your best forward in your potential new role vis-à-vis building new relationships, gaining product knowledge, and avoiding potential pitfalls.”

  • Could you describe your ideal candidate for this job? Why are these qualities important to you?

“The ideal qualifications were probably outlined in the job posting,” says Daniel. “But many of these postings are not actually written by the hiring manager. Here’s your chance to directly ask the interviewer what he views as the most important qualities of the successful candidate and why.”

  • I’m sure you have a number of goals you’d like to achieve in the coming year. Do you have a particular one that is top priority?

“This question allows you to turn your attention to the interviewer and his most important priorities,” says Daniel. “Is there a particular goal the interviewer has talked about that lines up well with some of your current experiences? If so, let the interviewer know how you can contribute.”

Other great questions may revolve around key drivers for employees, what characterizes top performers at the company and whether the interviewer would like to know anything more about the interviewee’s background, says Daniel.

Avoiding Questions with Negative Connotations

To avoid making a bad impression at your interview, Daniel suggests thinking about the connotations behind each of the questions that you’re asking before you ask them. Here are three questions that tend to leave a bad taste in interviewers’ mouths, she says:

  • Could you tell me about your work/life balance policy?

“A valid question, yes, but if you ask it too soon, it might appear that you are more concerned about the work schedule than you are about the actual work,” says Daniel.

  • Is there a possibility I could work remotely?

“Telecommuting can be a positive thing for both the job seeker and the company, but your timing in asking this question is critical,” Daniel explains. “If asked too soon, it will convey a lack of enthusiasm for getting to know the team and work environment. Demonstrate your interest in the role and potential contributions to the company before inquiring about telecommuting/flex-time, etc.”

  • How long do people typically stay in this position before they move on the next role?

“A desire to grow in the organization is admirable,” says Daniel. “But if you’re asking this question early on in the interview process, the interviewer may question your genuine interest in the position you’ve applied for. Frame the question in a way that demonstrates both your long-term commitment to the company and your professional growth.”

Preparing and Managing Time

Once you’ve chosen which questions you’d like to ask, you can either memorize them or write them down. Daniel advises:

“It is not unprofessional to bring a list of questions on paper. If you choose to write them down, make sure you bring them in a presentable notebook or folder, not on a crinkled, loose-leaf sheet of paper. Presentation is very important. That said, make a conscious effort to remember the questions so that you don’t have to rely on your notes. Opening a notebook can be somewhat distracting, and what’s even worse is reading the questions verbatim without making eye contact with the interviewer.”

Once you’ve finished asking all that you’d like to ask, it’s important to close an interview on a good notes, says Daniel. “Rather than fretting about running out of questions, take the left-over time to thank your interviewer and let him or her know how much you’re interested in the position. Cite specifics about why and briefly reiterate a key point about your background that relates to the position. This is called the ‘close,’ and it’s a critical phase of the interview.”


Authority Building Machine!















How Many Paid Vacation Days do the Big Tech Companies Give to First Year Engineers?


Source: Quora

19 Stunning Interview Questions

  1. What you have done? Then walk me through what you done with your career.
  2. Tell me what you think this job is all about?
  3. Do you want to work at this company or do you just want a job?
  4. Why do you want to work here and what do you love?
  5. What are you passionate about?
  6. What you have done that really proud of and tell me about it?
  7. Can you describe a decision you made, or a situation you were involved in, that was a failure? How you dealt with it?
  8. If you have to name something, what would you say it the biggest misconception that people have of you?
  9. If I had four of your direct reports sitting in a room, how would they describe you?
  10. If I had four of your late bosses in the room, how would they describe you?
  11. What makes you really mad?
  12. Can you tell me somebody’s intelligence just by reading what they have written?
  13. On your deathbed, what do you want to be remembered?
  14. Wherever you worked before, what made it a good day?
  15. What is your attitude on a one-to-ten scale?
  16. Give me an instance where you really believed in something and you were able to change the course and it was successful, whatever it was?
  17. Tell me the few books that you read in the last two years?
  18. Who are the best people you recruited and developed and where are they today?
  19. If you could be in my shoes today, what would be the top three things you would do?


11′ Performance review!

Feel like…


Excited for 2012!


Video Resume

Questions to ponder

  1. How did the day go?
  2. What success did I experience?
  3. What challenges did I endure?
  4. What did I learn today?
  5. About myself? About others?
  6. What do I plan to do — differently or the same — tomorrow?
  7. Who did I interact with?
  8. Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?

Source: Mentor/Coach

The “Visual” Resume



Source: // PDF

I love work!

How to Become a Thought Leader

How Many Vacation Days Per Year Do Early Stage Startups Typically Offer to Employees?

Source: Quara

15 Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid

How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

Job: Product ManagerAnswer: This is one of those questions Google asks just to see if the applicant can explain the key challenge to solving the problem.

Reader Matt Beuchamp came up with a dandy answer, writing:

I figure a standard school bus is about 8ft wide by 6ft high by 20 feet long – this is just a guess based on the thousands of hours I have been trapped behind school buses while traffic in all directions is stopped.

That means 960 cubic feet and since there are 1728 cubic inches in a cubit foot, that means about 1.6 million cubic inches.

I calculate the volume of a golf ball to be about 2.5 cubic inches (4/3 * pi * .85) as .85 inches is the radius of a golf ball.

Divide that 2.5 cubic inches into 1.6 million and you come up with 660,000 golf balls. However, since there are seats and crap in there taking up space and also since the spherical shape of a golf ball means there will be considerable empty space between them when stacked, I’ll round down to 500,000 golf balls.

Which sounds ludicrous. I would have spitballed no more than 100k. But I stand by my math.

… and 14 others from


What Does Your Resume Look Like Visually?

This is what mine looks like so far…


– Seth