On our first day in Seattle (not including our travel day), the class visited the offices of SnapChat and DomainTools. My first lesson: If I'm going to keep taking notes on my phone, I'll have to bring my charger with me. There is so much experience and wisdom embedded in what our hosts tell us, that the only way for me to really process it is to jot it all down and reflect on it later--the latter of which this blog will facilitate. I will try to boil down each experience into a brief overview and some interesting quotes.
John Rauser met us at the door and, after check-in, took us past the snacks and frappuchino maker, beyond an open-plan office area and a few side-offices, and sat us down in a meeting room. There, he spoke about his passion for problem-solving, and the emphasis on business metrics he brings to the company from his experiences with Amazon. He builds his skills by tackling problems he may not have the credentials for, but knows need solving, an expands his skill-set in the pursuit of solving them.
Memorable quotes from John:
"When someone asks you a question...they usually don't know the right question to ask."
"Keep stepping down [in complexity of learning material] until you get some traction, then build it from there."
"Don't change teams right before the annual review. I did, twice. Your new manager has no investment in you, and will promote someone they're invested in."
"Learning to juggle five balls is a two-thousand-hour project."
"Just show up and do good work... The title is just not important. Don't get sucked into the hedonistic treadmill."
"Parenting is really hard."
After getting a brief tour of the open-plan offices of DomainTools (a company dealing with cyber security), including the ping pong table and the frappuchino maker, we were sat down in the cafeteria. There, a series of speakers, including the CEO and CFO, gave us information about themselves, the company, their own views on the Cyber-Security industry, entrepreneurial advice, as well as answered any questions we had.
When I asked Diana, in HR, what some characteristics of a good mentorship style are, she answered with:
-Someone who wants to learn just as much from you as you are learning from them
-Someone with the humility to know they aren't omniscient
-Someone who likes questions, and isn't afraid to admit when they don't have the answer
-Someone who is transparent about their knowledge and skills
-Someone who doesn't just try to make you do things their way
When another student asked Diana about what she values in a new hire, she answered with:
-Confidence (without arrogance)
-Someone who can hold a job for at least 12 months
-Someone who really cares about their work
-Someone who has done their homework about the company
-Someone who has a sense of ethics
When I asked the CEO, Tim Chen, a question about networking, he advised we go out on a limb for our colleagues when they need a hand. They'll remember it five or ten years down the line when we need something from them in return.
Memorable quotes from Tim:
"Leadership likes questions."
"People aren't short of inspiration, they're short of courage."
"Become a champion and make yourself invaluable."
"It's hard to build something important in two years, a lot easier in ten."
"Let them [your employees] do something that matters, or you'll have to pay them a lot [to keep them incentivized]."
Excerpt taken with permission from Joey's blog.