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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)

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The Problem with “Where Are You From?”

In case you missed it, I wrote up the results of the Asian American Man study on Medium.com, where it’s been read by over 70k people. National Journal, an Atlantic Media’s publication, also wrote a great piece featuring the research in an article called: Asian Americans Feel Held Back at Work by Stereotypes.

Today we’re going to talk about a phrase. It’s a phrase you might use innocuously and infrequently, but one that many Asian Americans hear on a weekly if not daily basis, and can feel unfriendly, even alienating.

That phrase is “Where are you from?” Continue reading…

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My Reading Notes on The Advantage

I recently finished reading The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in business by Patrick Lencioni. You’ve definitely heard Lencioni’s other books: Death by Meeting and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team were two which popularized the trend in the late aughts of the business book as a fable.

This book is more of a typical nonfiction business book: a main idea broken into several components with tactics combined with stories and case studies from consulting engagement it’s plus personal anecdotes all rolled into one concise and clearly written book. Continue reading…

2015 art of ass kicking roundup

The 2015 Roundup

2015 was a big year.

I started it out living in Manhattan, working at Percolate, and just starting a new role as a PM for the Demo. I ended the year living in Brooklyn, working at Etsy, and settling into being a PM for the Seller Experience team. A whole crap ton of things happened a long the way: I took a GA course on front-end web development which really raised my game as a technology worker, I finally got my Guinness World Record certificate, I settled a long and protracted dispute that we can discuss another time, and I launched a side project that’s generated more money than all my previous side projects combined.

All the while, I’ve been blogging here. Let’s take a look back at the biggest hits on The Art of Ass-Kicking in 2015 (and yes I realize I’m a little late, oh well). Continue reading…

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What Makes Effective Teams — According to MIT and Google

We all want to work in teams that exhibit high performance and solve problems effectively. But while it’s often easier to understand what drives individual performance, team performance is a more complex activity.

There is some great research done by folks at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Google that shows how we can make smarter teams, and the answers are not what you might think.

Building Smarter Teams

In a paper published in Science, researchers split a few hundred participants into randomly assigned 2-5 person teams and spent upwards of 4 hours on a diverse set of activities, including solving visual puzzles, brainstorming, negotiating over limited resources, and playing checkers (as a group) against a computer. Continue reading…