Google Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
The path to where I got today is a little convoluted. I have changed career paths a couple of times. But each time they've been shaped by what I've liked to do and what I've learned that I like to do. If I start out back when I started my career, I was an engineer. I wanted to go solve very practical problems. I ended up working in a semiconductor factory of Fab effectively, and I got to do a lot of what I wanted to and getting in a few years in, I realized that the practical problems were great, but business decisions shaped a lot it. So, I decided to move towards more business ownership of similar situations, manufacturing, supply chain, etcetera. From there went even broader to try and solve company-wide problems. And that took me into consulting as an example. In consulting, I did focus on one industry because the industry depth is important. But I did try to solve a lot of different problems for that industry, and this was high tech. High tech hardware mainly is where most of my work focused and having done that for almost 15 odd years, I realized I'd like to come back and have more ownership. But still, in a strategic sense across a private organization. More ownership of the group, more ownership of a process, more ownership of PNL as an example, which brought me back to high tech. Having more ownership and then bringing me back to a company role where I did have ownership broadly of strategy and then back into the supply chain, which was kind of where I started, but in a much more strategic role for Google. Google's technical infrastructure, where we get to oversee long term strategy, supply chain specific but also take on very strategic projects. So it's something that I thought of maybe 2-3,4 years at a time versus thinking that I want to be 10-15 years from now. You asked about the incident and experiences. I'll point to a couple of them. Back in the very first role, you could almost call it a negative experience where it shaped me in a very interesting way. About a year and a half into my role, I was doing some work in the semiconductor factory I mentioned, I made a mistake. I was very distracted, and I made a mistake in the way I was setting up a machine and literally 30 minutes later, we had scrapped three lots. It was a 1M plus dollars of cost. Those three machines. I did own up immediately. They couldn't. They wouldn't have known it was me. But I did own up to the mistake. And throughout my boss and I went and met with basically the VP of manufacturing, the VP of production. And we talked about what happened. It was a look back, not at me, as the subject of somebody did something wrong. But the incident that happened, how we had set things up so that that mistake could happen. And how would we prevent it from happening again? So it was much more of we're standing on the sidelines looking at what happened, how can we fix it? And that showed me a little bit of how people can be treated, treated with compassion, as humans that make mistakes. But doing it in a way where the mistake will not happen again, not just for myself, but for anybody. And that, to me, was a very interesting first take responsibility. But you're not blaming the person at least not the first time. If I repeated it, of course, they could certainly come back and blame me. But that was a very interesting experience for me, and I've tried to use that in a way where, when I think about people on my team, people, I work with it. So how can we make it better versus why did you make a mistake? So that's one example that I mentioned that I can try to keep using that.

What are the responsibilities and decisions that you handle at work? Discuss weekly hours you spend in the office, for work travel, and working from home.

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
So in terms of my experience. So technical infrastructure at Google? Let me explain what that is. So when somebody is using the mobile search or YouTube, Google Maps, the magic actually happens out in our data center. We have data centers around the world usually owned or leased data centers. And you can go on YouTube and actually see some videos of their official videos and what our data centers actually look like. That's what we mean by technical infrastructure. And in order to make that happen, there's a big set of people, infrastructure, the supply chain etcetera behind that. We design a lot of our own equipment and hardware and manufacture a lot of it using third parties. But it's fairly unique versus what say, an OEM that makes equipment like an HBO or EMC might. We do a lot of our own things, and that's not unique, by the way, other people in the same infrastructure will do the exact same thing. The group that I am part off, it's several 100 people. And we need to think of what our strategy will look like 3,4-5 years from now. How will we operate? What kinds of things are we aiming at? So think of this as a I'm looking where we need to be in 3 to 5 years. So the amount of work that goes into that which is long term strategy, long term business objectives that is one timeframe that my team owns. There's a second-time frame my team owns, which is called the Yearsworth Annual Planning. What do we need to get done this year? Performance management towards that. What metrics do we need to hit, balance scorecards in order to hit that, convincing my peers who own different function teams within supply chain how they should organize? How should the staff initiatives in order to hit that? What are the initiatives? What are the OKRs? So Google has a system called OKRs In order to basically make progress, it's got objectives and key results. OKR, that's what it stands for. So my team helps define and set those up and and manage the organization towards those goals. And then there's a very tactical call it business operations piece of it which is called day to day running of the organization as well, and there's a set of people on my team that handles that, and that could be things like ongoing communications, people recruiting onboarding. There's a bunch of organizations for later things like training, the variety of things that, like grease for the organization, for the machine to run. My team enables all three timeframes if you will. We also have a couple of other things around Data Analytics. We have our opposition that does that for the team as well as long term supply chain risk management, as well as tactical management of risks and crises as they happen as one we're in right now. So those are the kinds of things we handle. In terms of weekly hours. Very significantly I do not have to travel a lot for work. I do visit our data centers or our suppliers once in a while. I can work from home. It's a company policy. You can work from home flexibly as needed. But in many years I'm a little bit more old fashioned. I prefer face to face. But we're a global organization, so we end up doing a lot more video conferencing than in person anyway.

What are the job titles of people you routinely work with inside and outside of your organization? What approaches do you find to be effective in working with them?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
So I'll touch on the people inside. Most of my work tends to be within our group or with peer organizations. So I mentioned a couple already that are in my team so we've got people that had the organizational strategy and that can mean everything from what is our recruiting strategy, where are we hiring, which regions are you hiring? What is our location strategy? Which locations globally should our team be in and what should they be doing? And by a team, I mean the overall technical infrastructure organization. So there's a group of people that do all the organization's strategy or people-oriented programs if you will. There are people that do business operations that are much more tactical, enabling the organization to run day today. We've got lead program managers that lead very strategic projects that go across the group and they might be leading projects that are looking out 2-3 years. What capability do we put in place so that? There's a fairly large group of people with program management titles at Google. So I have a few of those. I have people that lead Data Analytics. Again, they are program managers, call it from a ladder or a job rubble standpoint, but they own different things, like data and analytics for the organization. If I look at other peer organizations. So just like ours who is a supply chain organization, we have other groups that do hardware design, for example or networking design. So there are peers of mine who are heads of strategy and operations for those organizations I interface with them a lot because they have ownership for similar kinds of many off-services is that I mentioned for their own organizations for interfaced with them a fair amount. From a technical standpoint, there's a lot of engineering team, so area technology lead is one. So there are people that define the long term technical infrastructure required. So, I work with them to figure out what should we, in parallel, put in place to support them. So those titles tend to be things like area tech leads, technical program leads, for example, or your technical program managers. There are people that are in people's operations so HR. Certainly, we work with a lot because I mentioned the organization's strategy element of design people and so forth. So these are some examples. In terms of what approaches do, I find working with them? I think it doesn't matter which company what role. I think it comes down to how you can establish a personal one on one relationship with that person. How do you know each other as people? I think there's a benefit for saying this is all business. You will jump straight to work-related things, but increasingly you work with other people. You work through influence rather than walk through authority and for you to work through influence. Knowing other people who they are as people, what drives them is a lot more important because now we can influence them better, not in a sort of a devious way, but influence them in a way where it helps them. It helps their career. It helps their objectives as well, in order to know that knowing them as people is much, much more important than knowing who their boss is. You can call the boss, tell them what to do that has never that can be the resort, but it's usually the last resort. If you're not from being able to push the organization agenda forward. So it's getting to know people better as people and what drives them is my number one thing anytime I meet somebody new because I know that way we can work a lot better.

What major challenges do you face in your job and how do you handle them? Can you discuss a few accomplishments?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
So in terms of challenges on the job, I think the number one thing and this again will spam titles or roles. It's going to be how do you prioritize? There are always going to be 50 things you have to do while you have room only for 25. How do you decide which 25, how do you decide with 25, what's important? What's critical.? It cannot just be dealing with the original situation of the day. If that is the case, you will never get anything longer-term done. So how do you put enough time on the absolutely critical task versus what has to be done but will be critical three months from now? So managing time, prioritizing in order. Manage time is the major challenge I have and something I put some thought into. I won't say I'm great at it but something I need to continuously work at. Part two of the exact same problem is what do you do versus what do you have other people do? It could be people in your organization. It could be your peers. It could be other people that you work with. How can you make sure that you're influencing? I mentioned working to influence. Okay, influence people to essentially do prioritization on their agenda so that they can also help you in getting things done also applies to your own organization. Which ones do you want to drive? I won't say micromanage. But what do you want to drive more activity versus hand off to other people that you trust? and say here is the outcome I'd like you to have. Please figure it out. And that depends heavily on how well you know your people and their capability level. So there's gonna be a set of people that you have to be very, very specific like you're telling them not just what, but also how Then there are a little bit more mature people that you're telling them what you want done. They can figure out how. And then there are the most mature people that you can tell them what the outcome you want is, they can figure out what and how, and that just shows maturity as people grow. And then, of course, there's a certain sort of people that you might say, I don't even know what you figure out what the long term plan is, you figure out a strategy. In most cases. That is what I try to do. It is the where should we be and why. And then there are others that can figure out how and then, specifically, what needs to get done. So that, to me, is the biggest challenge I face is figuring out their distinction, knowing my team enough to give them the right level of work to get things done. In terms of accomplishment, I'll mention just given confidentiality, I'll mention some things. I'll be a little vague about it, but hopefully we'll make it clear. And I'll touch on both my current role and previous role. I mentioned long term strategy, so one of the companies I work for, they had great technology, but the market they were in was less about was less technology-driven but more solution driven meaning. Let me give a specific example. I may have a cool machine, a cool process. It does something really, really cool. However, the people I'm trying to sell don't care how cool it is. They care about what that technology is getting done. And unless we're able to frame the solution or the offering to that customer, it can help you make you better in your industry. If that story doesn't come through, it won't help. I'll be a little bit more specific about an example there because I think I'm out of India with this company. So three-D printing industrial manufacturing in my previous company. The technology was great. It was a cool technology. However, the fact that the machine could produce X number of parts three D printed parts was not something the customer cared about. The fact that it could enable them to get a much, much more effective product, whether it was a car or a medical device and that medical device could be that much better performing was what was important to them. So presenting the value proposition to the customer in a way that it mattered with them and their business is important. So I went through almost a year's worth of exercise to reframe everything from our marketing to our product specs to a product roadmap in order to be able to be translated into our customers words and what it means for them, whether it means repeatability of the process because that's where they care about and not about something that was engineering speak for us. But for the customer, speak, if you will. So that was one major project that I did and I was really proud of it. The one in my current role, a probably a little bit more vague on this one was. Historically, the company has been very, very focused on a set of metrics and very innovation-driven, which is the fair thing to do. However, as we enter new markets, there are different operational matrix that we will care about not just innovation and speed, cost being one of them. And so one of the things I'm proud of in the time I've been here is I've been able to influence a lot of my peers into adding very cost and efficiency metrics into the things we do as a balance to the innovation. Innovation doesn't go. It's still number one. Usually, innovation is the only way to try and beat the competition, operations and cost is the way to catch up or keep pace. It doesn't like you get ahead. That's my own humble opinion. So but at least have started to add some of these more costs and efficient related metrics. And this has been the result of doing outside announces doing comparisons, showing how our internal customers are very different from the way they used to be, so that's a couple of projects that I can mention.

How do you inspire and motivate your team members? How do you foster creative thinking? How are ideas shared and implemented?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
That varies from company to company. I think, as a company, Google's culture by itself has an element of transparency and an element of showing in the back. So that's how the performance review process please work. That's how people interact with each other. But let me give a specific couple of examples. I think that the environment I'll describe by itself enables the questions. You asked me how it inspires and motivates the team members and how it fosters creative thinking. So the transparency part, the way we do performance feedback. It's very open. Whatever I write and say, this is the feedback I have about a peer. They can see word for word what I've said and the other way round, so can their managers. So one what it does is forces you to think about what your real feedback is to other people and do it in a way where they are encouraged to do better versus me telling them all their faults. It's an unsaid rule that I'm not going to say that was bad. I'll have to be very specific about this interaction, I hope, could have gone better. Here is something specific thing you could have done better. And I hope that the two of us can accomplish something better. So it is very much written in that sense where, by definition, we're looking for both ways to improve versus turn around and sort of look to blame. Right? That is an overall mentality and situation at Google, and what that does is every interaction. Whether it be real-time or every six months in the performance review process is about how we can be better together. And that by itself is motivational versus waiting for the hammer to drop and say, okay, let me see what all people anonymously said bad about me you're looking to see. Let me see what people have said in an attributable way, what we can do better, right? So that itself sets the stage for how can we be better. In terms of creative thinking, in the way ideas are identified and that ideas are pulled people behind them as followers, the process that works again. It's a culture thing that Google versus something I can claim I've set up is the way it works anybody in the organization can say, here's a cool idea. What they usually do with that is we write a "one-pager" on it. Here's an idea. Here is how I can go and implement this. Here is the specific benefit. It can provide us, and here is some additional thought behind it. It could be one, maybe two pages of well thought out rationale for some creative idea. The way that gets implemented is not because that person happens to be a VP or knows a VP. The way that idea gets traction is that person, then shares it with a bunch of people, all the people jump-in. They provide commentary about it. Hey, here's another piece of input. Hey, I don't really believe this. Here's the reason why Hey, here's another analysis that I thought of. So the initial originator of the idea will send additional people that then hopefully make the idea better in a very democratic and open and like everybody can see what all comments everybody's putting in another aspect of transparency. Now you are at a set of ideas where you're on an idea that's gotten better, but also by definition, the 4-5 people that jumped in and provided input, they're bought in. So now it's not a person. It's 5,6-7 people. It's their idea now, and hopefully more creative with more specific input. And these people aren't their immediate peers. There could be people on other organizations. So now you have inherently 2,3,4 organizations in on the idea. Now, if the idea wasn't that great, to begin with, it won't get the traction. It won't get people jumping in. And we were like, Yeah, whatever. So, by definition, the better ideas bubble up and the fact that multiple people can do it, likely there are multiple people going after the same problem and what this encourages is yes, it's a little bit of 1000 flowers bloom, and we'll see which one wins. But what tends to happen is the bigger ideas get traction or the better ideas get traction, and at some point it becomes a okay. We need to get funding for this. Let's go ask, you know, person X, Y Z, who has a budget for funding on this project as soon as that happens, now you've got traction. Have you got a project? A lot of projects are bottom-up. And if you look at sort of box publicly available over a lot of the ideas and products in-fact at Google, this is how they came about. It's one person had a spark, that attracted more people to do it. People saw the benefit. It began a movement, if you will, of bottom-up movement on that got funded and moved. Ideas are shared and implemented in the same bit, right. We have a lot of things we do that a very informal, lunch and learn. But people like they have an idea. Can you guys join and be in on this? That happens a lot. Of course, our technology enables that as well. Every document we have is pretty much open to anybody in the company to at least read if not comment on so ideas are very openly shared on. And then I talked about how they kind of get traction and implemented. Our OKR process tends to be that which is that I say I had this idea. I want to throw it in. If somebody gives me x resources, I'll make sure it's something we can deliver within six months, so that's kind of more generally as a culture of this company, I think, implements that. I think that would probably be more valuable to the viewers of this than sort of talking about me personally. I think it's an idea that can certainly be used elsewhere.

How do you set targets for your team members? How do you measure their progress? How do you incentivize them to meet their targets?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
This is a mix of what I do and what's the culture around us. Targets for the team members are based on a couple of different things I mentioned earlier. For some people, it will be finishing these five things, for some others, it's achieving these outcomes, and that depends a little bit on their maturity and where they are in their career. For the more junior folks, it will be not quite five tasks but half-year, three products for you to finish, and here's specifically how to do them. So those are the targets I set for them. How do I set targets for them, by definition, stretch targets? But what that means is this is an environment where we know that people can only achieve 70% of their goal. But that's okay, because I know I said stretch targets to begin with because one of the things and this is also a broader operational culture, metric culture I wanna set is looking at a dashboard and looking at something that has been green for the last three months is a red flag for me because it tells me the goal wasn't hard enough. So our dashboard, that is 70% green and 30% yellow-red. Okay, we're stretching ourselves. It tells me we're hitting a limit. And the only time you know you're hitting a limit is when you're failing on some things and the limit could be like the goal is too hard or we're not trying hard enough or we are not set up right or, you know, some mix of the three, but not just an operation dashboard, that sort of 70% green. But personal targets that are 70% green, meaning we stretched people, we stretched people on the amount of work or the type of work or the leap of the improvement we wanted to have is important for me, so giving people something that they can anchor. And no, they're not going to meet all of it. Part two of that is gonna be a culture where it is acceptable to be, you know, 70 or 100 and that 100 or 100 is not the only outcome that we need. So that's important because it comes back to this is how performance is measured. How are we going to make sure that when it comes time for performance reviews and, compensation setting that we don't allow for people to achieve 70% of the goal, and it's okay. So if the two don't go hand in hand, people will bark at getting stretched targets on. That will become a problem. So, you know, that's generally hopefully how we do it, how we measure progress. I always have one on ones of people. That happens a lot. And then meeting people once a week, going through what's happened. What hurdles they have, etcetera is something we keep up.

What qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
There's certainly a mix of looking at people to resume is and seeing what they've done before that is very limiting. That does tell you something about what kinds of roles they picked, why they picked them. The qualities I look for while hiring or people that can deal with ambiguity. Give a candidate and ambiguous question, let them figure out what they want and don't want in order to answer. But that could be a situational question. It could be a theoretical question, and it could be a question from the past with something saying over the new twist, because people knowing how to answer a very specific question with all the data given, that's not so hard, and I think back to my business school experience. You know, 20-30 page Howard Business School case studies are great that if the problem is in reality, those 20 exhibits that come in the back are never available in real life, or at least if they're available, the data is suspect or the data is partial. So you are almost by default are going to be in a situation where you don't have perfect data. You are never going to have perfect data. And you have to interpret what you get based on what a little data you have. And that's very much around dealing with ambiguous situations and uncertainty around what direction we need to take. So for people that can achieve it, you will succeed in pretty much any role on. And so that's something I look for. The second type of question I look at is what have you learned from your previous experiences? Every time I ask a question about a situation, say something on their resume or a theoretical situation might set up for them, I typically go back to what did you learn from it? How would you do it different? And if the answer is no, that's basically what I do again. That tells me this is a person that is not learning from their experience. There is always something better and different to do. And if the if the answer is no, it was perfect the first time, and I will keep doing it again and again. That tells me it's not somebody that I'd like to have on the team because the situation will always change and there's always things we could have done better so those are the two main things I look at. The questions tend to be behavioral. Of course. What would you do? working or tell me about a time when the sort of things and then, like these follow up questions. I'd like to stick with one or two questions and kind of go deep and learn about how and wide people did things work has asked for lots of questions. Trying to stick to 3 to 4 questions but go deep in 45 minutes to an hour with.

What was the hiring process like for your job? What were the roles of people who interviewed you? What kind of questions were asked?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
The hiring process. This is a very Google like situation, right? So Google, a lot of people apply online through referrals and so forth. It's a very drawn out, but also very fair process. The fair part of it I learned after I joined here. So, typically what happens is you apply and you get a recruiter screen, meaning that a recruiter will look at your resume. Hopefully, it'll really make it pass the sniff test, and the recruiter will call you and talk to you and they are gauging a few different things. But once they recruiter has spoken with you, they get that feedback back to the hiring manager or a hiring team, and they decide whether to bring the candidate on-site. And so that's what happened to me. I spoke with the recruiter, they decided to bring me on site. Sometimes they do a phone interview as well with somebody on the recruiting team. So I might speak to the recruiter first then somebody in the hiring team sort of who will appear or be in the team. As the following step that brings you on-site and do an on-site interview where you're meeting 3,4,5 different people and they'll tell you, in most cases, what they're interviewing for. So it's a very fair process. They say, I'm gonna talk to you. I'm gonna ask most of my questions about your role-related knowledge. I have a role in mind. Here is the knowledge that it requires most of our discussions will be on that topic. So tell you the work the discussion's gonna be about. And you know it's gonna be 45 minutes or so of discussion and we're taking. And I'm talking about my experience as a candidate but also as an interviewer since I've been here, they take a lot of notes and in many cases, we're taking word written notes about what the candidate is saying, and we then have to provide written feedback with evidence, right? This isn't a, "I like the candidate. Let's hire him." type feedback. They're saying, I asked a question like this, I was looking for the candidate's ability to deal with ambiguity. Here's the response that the candidate had here is why I believe that response was good or bad or had improvement opportunities. Therefore, my conclusion is X. So it has to be that full thing versus a gut feel who I like, the person you know that is not going to cut it as interview feedback. And that's what happened to me as a candidate. But that's also how it is when you're an interviewer like I said. The person that interviewed me was certainly the hiring manager. The people I have to personally report to now and basically a bunch of people that now are my peers, people that are in the same group reporting the same manager. And then we also have a rule that somebody that is not in the business unit, in the area we are in has to interview sort of a neutral third party interviewer if you will. So I had a person who is in a completely different organization but is qualified to gauge whether I am a fit for the strategy and operations role. So they did. After all those interviews, I had several on sites spread out in a day or two. The questions were similar to what I said right they gauge how I might work in a team. How I might be a fit with Google culture. That is the set of questions that happened. There's a set of questions on role-related knowledge. Do I know what kind of strategy role is like? Do I know the supply chain was the last few questions about it. There were questions about the general sort of cognitive ability. Am I a smart person? They don't mean they're asking me brain teasers, right? We don't do that. That's just a myth. The questions tend to be business situations I've been or I theoretically can be. And how was I a generally smart person and trying to figure out this ambiguous problem? So there's questions about that, and there are questions about the leadership, how do you mentor people? How do you bring people along? And it doesn't mean how good the boss I am. It's how good a colleague am I. And how much of a leadership role can I take on a situation rather than for organization? So that is a sort of area that the questions deal with now, depending on the role, the technical or the role-related questions will vary, of course, software engineers will have very different questions than a strategy and operations person. But that's generally the hiring process here and it's a very fair process in the sense, after all this interview, the feedback that comes in, you have to be very specific about the feedback, and the decision whether to hire the hiring manager can decide that they want to hire this person. But the yes or no actually comes from a completely independent hiring committee, and the hiring manager can say, I would like to hire this person, but the hiring committee can say no because we see this red flag. And so it tends to be very fair in the sense I can't go off and hire a bunch of my buddies. There are safeguards to disallow people from hiring people that are not good fits on all the four characteristics I mentioned.

What are different entry-level jobs and subsequent job pathways that can lead students to a position such as yours?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
Typically, there may be a couple of different paths here. At Google, specifically, there are program manager roles where you will come in and be in the role like I mentioned, where you're given very specific tasks to accomplish. So it might be called program manager, but the program manager of different areas within supply chain as an example, there are data analyst roles. Also keep in mind that my role it's a mix of people that know supply chain as a business process but also understand strategy and bigger, longer-term implications. So the industry experience, consulting experience combination was important for this role. So consulting entry-level jobs are typically associate, junior associate those or analyst, is how you get into consulting. I've spent a long time consulting. So I went through other roles as well, going from associate, the manager, to principal, to partner. And so that is the consulting path and a lot of people in my role started in an operations role in different groups at Google, have gone from consulting and have taken a very similar path. So they're spending enough time, at least 5 to 7 years in consulting gives you the feel for the breadth of problems, understanding how this is not a function but a function that can have implications to other part of the business. That is the muscle and experience you gain from having the consulting career. Another side of the equation is knowing your domain. Meaning how do I know the Supply chain really deep, how do I know the industry? The technology industry, hardware industry at a very deep level. That part of it again comes from either having had industry experience in that area, which I did in high tech. So entry-level positions again they're typically tend to be program manager like roles or analyst right rolls, and then you can subsequently develop yourself in terms of functional possibility. You can go up from program manager to a manager or people manager in that role owning entire business function, So let me give a very specific examples. The supply chain planning as an example is a key role within a supply chain organization and our role within the organization. I said right now, so you might come in as a junior planner. You end up leading all of supply planning as a function, end up leading all of integrated planning as a function. So you're going up the functional path if you will, and then you can subsequently move into a strategy and operations role as well. So there's a functional path. There's a consulting part under two happen to be things I have done both in my career on and that's a couple of pathways that can lead to this role.

What were the responsibilities and decisions that you handled at work? What major challenges did you face in your job?

Based on experience at: 3D Printing Strategy, HP
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
I mentioned one of the examples earlier in the conference. That conventional example was from this role. So in the three-D printing strategy, I had two hacks on in that role. So one of them was a business strategy for the three-D printing business itself. So HP's three-D printing business is industrial manufacturing. It is not to make little plastic parts to play with. It is to make automotive parts or medical parts or industrial manufacturing machinery parts. That's what the parts that are 3-d printed are actually used for. So the responsibility I had there was to define a multi-year strategy for the business that was aligned to the financial plan for the business. It was to define which market sectors, segments we needed to be in and which ones we did not want to go into. What partnerships would we need to have in order to make that happen? On both market-facing partnerships or channel partnerships or industry partnerships as well as technology partnerships, which software companies design companies we needed to partner with which materials, technology partners we need to partner with, and so forth. So it was an overall blueprint for where we needed to pick the business in three years. What funding would be required? What skills will be needed to hire? Which divisions do we need to be? And so that was a major responsibility for me to make happen in terms of decisions. So we would basically be part of making business cases to the leadership at HP. So the CFO, the CEO and so forth on, you know, the major investments we needed to make as a business. So we were gonna come with business cases and then go present them and defend them with the executive staff on the investments. So major challenges. In that case, where I mean three-D printing is a very immature area. There is not a whole lot of comparisons with in the market right now or even comparables, meaning I can't take three-d printing and say, "Oh, it's like the late industry from 50 years ago" it's not really comparable. There isn't a lot of things we can learn from the outside world about how this needed to happen. So a lot of it, we had to do primary research. We had to then take the primary research and make leaps of faith in order to figure out how this can go. And so it was just the unknown nature of the industry and the ecosystem was probably the biggest challenge as an industry. There's a lot of Start-ups in the space with a lot of hype, with limited reality to back up the hype. And so the expectations that were being set externally were very different from what was actually possible and the time frame that is responsible. We had to balance, that being a much more mature company in a space that was very immature and developing, so that was another challenge for us.

What were the responsibilities and decisions that you handled at work? What major challenges did you face in your job?

Based on experience at: Partner, Digital Operations and Strategy, PwC
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
That was consulting, as I was mentioning. So PwC had a very large consulting practice and still does. And in that space, I was in the industry sector which is high-tech as I mentioned earlier. Most of the work I did was in supply chain operations but digital operation strategy as well, which is much broader than the supply chain. As a partner in a consulting firm. You typically have three roles. One of which is you have to keep driving thought leadership. Clients look to consultants to come to them with cool ideas that are out there. So how are you keep coming with those innovative ideas that are relevant to a client and, of course, something that they haven't had time to think about. So you have to keep raising the bar on what it is that you think and take the clients. So there's a thought leadership angle. The second part is there's a point, there's a reason consulting companies around you have to sell. So a big part of what I did was selling whether that is through relationships, whether that is being in the right forums with where clients needed help. Whether it's being in conferences, whether it's building up your network, there's a variety of ways in which you grow the business. And so the big part of it was the selling part of it. And the 3rd one is leading a team. So you have an internal consulting team that you have to hire, mentor, grow and projects that you're leading, where you have to keep delivering to whatever you promised your clients. You sold a product, better deliver it. So those were the three big areas, the biggest decisions we faced there. Where do we invest in? How do we hire the right talent? How will we go get the right talent from the right places? What made the challenges that we face in my job? I think, as I said earlier, you have to keep raising the bar on yourself. Keep raising the bar on what it is that you can share with your client. They're looking for you to do great work there, paying a lot of money to do the good work. So how do you keep doing a great job? How you bring the right team together internally so that you can deliver whatever the clients are asking for. So that's generally a quick summary of my experience at PwC.

How did the program prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: MBA, Management, Purdue University - Krannert School of Management
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
I think in a way the program still is known for being very supply chain oriented, very sort of quantitative in nature. And that certainly was the case. I got to do both enough of the courses that I wanted to do. It's very open in terms of what courses I want. The one different thing about the program that it is a very small program. It was 140 students when I went. I think that's still the case. What that enabled me to do was work very closely, know pretty much every one of my classmates and still in touch with a good number of them. So that was good. It helped me with learning how to network and stay connected to the network. As I've grown my career. Another part is the faculty was very approachable. We tend to do a fair number of projects. I probably did three or four semester-long, quarter-long projects. It was their great experience, a lot of people from the engineering side of the university tended to come to pick classes so we would work not just with the MBA students, but also with people that got an engineering PhD students, industrial engineering students. It was great when we got to do project teams who have a diverse set of students as part of the project team. Those are all the great things, I think the engineering part if it also tended to contribute to things like business case competitions. You have a lot of people on the engineering side. Even from other places, like food science is a big arm, veterinary science so there would be ideas that they're out there in different areas and we won't be just in there. It was not about to let me think of another dot com business idea in some new area. It was real practical projects that could go implement medical devices, those sorts of things. And so that experience of the broader University and not just the business school program was a big deal for me. I think it continues to be a big deal for the company. The fact that view in Indiana didn't stop it from becoming a magnet for tech companies and other industries as well and a big part of that was the alumni interaction. So the job I got out of business school that I ended up taking was because alumni came to campus. I spoke with them. I continued to stay in touch with the alumni that recruited me very initially. There is a being a very old university there's a huge alumni pool, and the alumni direction, not just business school alumni but broader actually continues to be a big deal for me. That's probably what I'll mention, I think the coursework. I don't know if it's spectacularly any different from any other university. But there were certain be teachers, faculty that were very, very involved and very interactive with the student and the small class sizes certainly helped with that as well.

Would you like to share something that is not on your resume? This may include your passions, facing setbacks or adversities, a unique experience, or an unexpected help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
Yeah. I mean, as I said in the beginning right? Judging somebody on the resume is it's very limiting in the sense that it doesn't tell the full story. I think looking at something like a consulting career of 15 years, you won't see how others had to give up in order to make that happen. And in that is how supportive a family is how supportive the significant other is doesn't come through. How you would have liked to spend time with your kids when they're young, and you couldn't because traveling for work that doesn't come through. So those are both things that you've given up that you couldn't do, things that other people in your family, loved ones that have given up doesn't come true, and I won't be specific about it. But that is certainly the case for me. What my family has given up, as I've not been there because I was in a consulting career. It's also equally important to me is finding regardless of the title or the company. What is the underlying thing that attracts you to a role? So when I look at my current strategy and operations role, the underlying thing to me is the curing of a big problem that we have. Can you go figure out how we can attack it, how we can structure the problem or we can structure the efforts to attack the problem so that we are much more clear about how to go achieve it? That is the underlying thing that attracts me to the problem. Even consulting was somewhat like that. So look for what, specifically, in the role that attracts you to a job or a title. For me, it was that "Hey, we need to do X" So something as vague that to say, "okay, what does it actually mean? What does it mean for the variety of people and groups in our company and our in our function?" Now that we know what the outcome looks like, How do we achieve? What are the ideas? How to be innovative about getting there? Those are the sorts of things that attract me, to find something similar outside of work attract me as well, and for me of all things, it's gardening. And so that's the sort of thing that I do again. You don't know what you're gonna get at the end of the growing season, but that's something that I find both. It's interesting for me, but also it's something interesting for my family. And so that's the way I get to spend time with them and that again, something. If it's all work, it's okay. But is there an underlying passion in that particular experience for you is what drives me, and I'm lucky to have that both at work and so the one major things I like to do outside of work.

Do you have any parting advice for students and professionals hoping to get to a position such as yours? What 3 dos and 3 don'ts would you suggest?

Based on experience at: Strategy and Operations, Technical Infrastucture, Google
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Mar 06 2020
I'm not sure if I have three for each. I'll give a couple. One is if you're sitting here trying to plan what my career would look like in 10 years. Don't. Certainly think about what drives you in a job. What attracts you in the role and think maybe 3-5 years. Beyond that, it's a little vague, right? The companies that you might want to be in, the titles you might want to be in 10 years, don't exist right now, most likely. Don't think that long term, think about what in a role attracts you that will automatically define a career for you. Don't be hesitant to go deep into an area. Understanding how to solve a problem involves much more fundamental. Whether it's understanding the technology behind a product, whether it's understanding why a customer buys your product, that is important. You cannot be a strategy person without knowing what's underlying in your industry, in the technology, in your customer base, and that I think, people feel like I could just go do strategy by following a certain sort of framework. Not really you might end up in a very different place if you truly understand that industry and the technology and the markets and the customers than if you were just in there with three or four frameworks. So part of it is committing to an industry or an area and knowing it really well versus flitting from role to role or industry to industry. I think the role to role is probably okay. But the industry to industry is a tougher transition. Try to commit to a one or do or industry that has some common dynamics and get to know that area much better is probably going to be very beneficial in the long run. What else I think? A couple of things I mentioned earlier, which is getting to know people, I think, leading by influence is important. The last thing I'll mention and this comes a little bit from my consulting experience, right? Consulting. You tend to become somebody that sells, you're a salesperson by the end of your career as a partner in consulting. Sales isn't a bad thing. Selling an idea is what you learn in consulting and selling an idea. Don't underestimate the power of being able to sell an idea. It's important every aspect with your personal life or your consulting life or your industry career. Finding what matters to the person you're selling it to and stressing that is important. So figure out how to sell is one of the two things I want to say to the students. And certainly appreciate you reaching out and find the time to do this.