Interviewed for the NYTimes’s The Upshot on Silicon Valley

The New York Times’s sub-brand The Upshot [1] recently did a piece called What It’s Really Like to Risk it All in Silicon Valley. The article follows Nathalie Miller, who left Instacart to start Doxa, a company in the recruiting space focused on getting women into technology firms. The piece includes commentary from a number of folks on the Silicon Valley experience, including Tristan Walker of Bevel, Julia Hu of Lark, and Jason Shen (me) of Ridejoy, talking about the often unspoken challenges of entrepreneurship.

As the writer Claire Cain Miller explained to me, her goal in following Miller for 6+ months was to tell the story behind the hype of the Valley, and show that doing a startup is not all about unicorn status, launch parties, and huge rounds of financing. I had fun talking to her and they even sent a photographer out to take a photo of me in DUMBO.

It’s a great piece and you can read the whole thing here.

[1] The mission of The Up Shot: making events in the news and things in the world clearer, so people can converse about them, and cut through the fog with a certain confidence, as when we say, “The upshot of it is…” (source)

The 10x Job Application: What You Do When You Really Want the Gig

We talk a lot about the war for talent: the idea that organizations need to fight to recruit, retain, and grow great people. Harvard Business Review recently put it this way:

“Finding and nurturing ambitious, hard-driving, and international-minded managers and technical staff are major challenges for multinationals and will become ever more crucial. HR operations at many companies have traditionally been seen in terms of compliance, record keeping, and support. But as talent shortages grow more acute in idea-intensive industries, human capital management should become a much higher strategic priority.”

The Future and How to Survive It (HBR October 2015)

But one of the biggest challenges in the war for talent is identifying who those top performers are. Continue reading…

First Impressions at Etsy

It’s been about two months since I started at Etsy as a product manager on the Seller Experience team. I strongly believe that first impressions fade quickly so it’s important to try to capture them in the moment. I won’t be talking about product management at Etsy but more broadly how the company culture has felt for a new employee like me.

Staff = Admin. We often use the term admin to refer to the people who work at Etsy. This terminology comes from the fact that Etsy started as a community website for crafters which had (and still has) a strong forum presence. Continue reading…

MIT Grads Make More than Harvard Grads & Other Things I Learned From the College Scorecard

College is on my mind these days. It’s been over a decade since I was a college freshman but I mentor a young woman through Minds Matter who is a high school senior in Brooklyn, and preparing her college lists. My little sister is a junior and college is on her mind too.

There are a lot of fairly bogus rankings out there which are based on largely reputation factors, algorithms that change year to year, and mostly consider inputs rather than outputs of the college education. Atlantic’s wonderful (and wonderfully titled) article Your Annual Reminder to Ignore the US World News & Report College Rankings has more on this.

However, all is not lost. Continue reading…

Don’t Let Them Put You in a Bucket

People naturally want to put other people into a bucket. There are of course the obvious examples of race and gender. These stereotypes are so powerful that they can cause you to under or “over” perform on a math test, depending on what stereotype is invoked. [1]. But then there are the more subtle ones:

  • He’s so good at writing, he couldn’t possibly be good as an engineer
  • She’s an athlete so she’s obviously going to be hyper competitive about this project
  • That team fell apart last year in the playoffs, they’re just bad under pressure

Continue reading…