Harvard University Postdoctoral Fellow with Nobel Laureate Prof. E. J. Corey, Computational Chemistry
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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 Sat Oct 17 2020
very happy to talk to this group of students. I'm not sure how many of you have seen my background if you serve the background with with your with fellow students. But I was born and raised in Greece. Um, on I did my undergraduate there in chemistry. I, um uh, What's set? My career path. It's a number of factors, actually. I I came from a family with deep roots in education. Both my mother and her father, my grandfather, were both very gifted teachers. Um, and I learned the value of education of the very young aids. Um, and when I say value of education, not as a means of attaining more material wealth, but as a way to become a better person. My dad was, ah, military officer in the Greek army on, he taught me gave me a very good, very strong sense of duty and responsibility. Um, if I look at my influences apart from my friends, a lot of my teachers and my family, of course, I think a lot of it is due to my brother is three years older than me, three years older than me. He was also a big influence in my life. He was still is actually very smart guy, and, uh, one of the top students in the country. On does years, Grace had a very selective college admission system. Only 10% of high school students, whatever end of the university and yet only two years to do it. So if you can get in in two years, you felt twice than you just wouldn't go to college. Um, and my brother was a chemical engineer, was the top school a time in in Greece, and I came to the US for his PSD. And, you know, after I finished my bachelor's behind him, I sort of followed in his footsteps. Um, instead, of course, of my my brother came to the U. S. But instead of that, I chose to go thio the u K So I do my piece, their imperial college, one of the leading universities in Europe. And I did this for three reasons, actually, Um uh, one. I spoke English. Second, my undergraduate adviser had also done his PhD at Imperial College also in chemistry. And just as importantly, I could finish it in three years, so I didn't have to wait 67 years that sometimes it takes in the U. S. On Di did. So I 24 at the age of 2024 had my Peace Day. Um, anyway, a backpack. Asai was finishing college. I had no idea what specialty to person kind of liked organic chemistry. Um, theoretical chemistry was also interesting. Eso I asked Madden undergraduate adviser. You know his advice. What should I do? His name was Dennis, you know, should I do organic chemistry? Synthetic chemistry? I do theoretical chemistry. He gave me a very wise answer. He said, listen, 2 m, if you become an organic chemist, um, if you're concerned about employment, there will be 10 times as many jobs and 10 times as many applicants. Um, but if you become a theoretical cameras, there will be 1/10 of the jobs in 1/10 of the applicants. So to what you really like and you'll find, you'll find a way. Yeah, um, so fast forward I go to Imperial College, and, um, I e had an incredible mentor, a fantastic mentor, my my PhD advisor. Um, and just to give an idea. So I was I was going to do computational chemistry, essentially with computers. And the only thing I knew about computers was a fortune course that I had taken a zone undergraduate without actually ever programming aerial program. That would be an executable that would turn itself into an executable. I did it only on paper s I had a lot of catching up to do, um, on multiple levels, my theoretical background. I saw my knowledge was good, but made a lot of practical things. And they know. And I remember one year into my PhD, um, I was I was in the old chemistry building, an imperial on the second floor. And on the third floor, there was a very famous synthetic organic chemist and one of his students, sort of friend of mine. I met him in the corridor and we struck a conversation, and and, um, in the middle of this conversation, I realized I become painfully aware that he knew a hell of a lot more about my field than I did. Okay? And he was in a completely different field. He was in terrible organic chemist, and he knew a lot more about my own discipline that I did. So I go back and I got depressed. I go back to my office and sent an email to my advisor. They said No. Henry, you know, God, I haven't learned anything here. You know, I run into Howard, and I got, you know, I realized I haven't learned anything. My advisor was in the new chemistry building, like, five minute walk away, maybe 23 minutes walk away. So five minutes later, is in my office, puts his arm around my shoulder and says the meters Don't worry, you're doing fine. You just started from a very different place. Um, in that 18 framed, you know, framed a lot off, at least to me s old me. Well, I knew that kind of, but sort of reinforced it How important it is a really great supportive mentor. Um, now, okay, let me I'll come. We have a little bit of times I'll work in another five minutes to the rest of my career. So I finished my PhD. I'm very young. I'm 24. Andi, I have an offer from one of the leading you know, pharmaceutical companies in the UK. Actually, the word time today is known as dsk. GlaxoSmithKline back at the time, it was known a SmithKline and friends and I also have, ah, postdoctoral offers from, you know, one with the cameras. The other was at UC Berkeley in the U S. And I turned down my really lucrative job offer, um, to take a postdoc at UC Berkeley for one quarter off the pain. Right? Um, not have one quarter. And in hindsight, that was one of the best decisions of my life. Ofcourse, I haven't done the control experiment, but I'm pretty convinced, looking at today, that it was a really good decision. Eso the take home message for you, young people is that greed and instant gratification is not your friend. Okay? You need to invest in your lives and your credentials and your knowledge and that, with a bit of luck, will pay off. Sometimes the road to success is not man a tonic. You can always look for more and more and more. Um, eso. Anyway, I spent eso. I did again. Theoretical chemistry is my PhD. That hardcore quantum chemistry. I went to Berkeley, continued along, spent a year and a half with another famous professor on the same theme. Hardcore quantum chemistry. And then I got an opportunity toe completely. Well, sort completely. Switch fields within within the chemistry field. And I went to Harvard to do a second postdoc a second sort post a game and a half on the application off AI to organic synthesis. Essentially, how to use artificial intelligence, tow come up with intelligence. Synthetic crowds to make those molecules. Um, he was a very famous guy. Um, won the Nobel Prize that 30 year. Um, Andi, I remember my introductory meeting with him as if it were yesterday. Um, is very distinguished gentleman. So I sit in his office. Um, I walk in, He greets me without them. It was welcome. Delighted to have you in the group. I heard great things about you from Andy. And it was my Professor Bergen. Um and then I don't remember what I told the man. You know, Professor called What? What in or it I can't. I was savoring, you know, I was facing God himself, basically on. And then the very next sentence, he says to me, points to my chair across his desk, This is Dimitris. Everybody who sat on that sir has made history. I expect you to do the same talking about low expectations. Anyway, I worked. I worked like there was no tomorrow, you know, nights and weekends and I had no life. I was the only guy in the chemistry department at Harvard when Hurricane Bob hit Boston. I don't know that you have too young for this, but that's the only nasty hurricane ever hit Boston. Everybody was in their basements. I was actually working. And I was the only guy in the chemistry department. Um, so success comes from what's the documents is comes from a lot of work. Um, but what happened in that second postdoc is that it took me into the softer side of computing ai and what I called the art of algorithms and computer programming, which I absolutely, totally fell in love with. I got hooked, and there was just one way after that. So fast forward. Um, um, it's a team. I got my first job, but a pharmaceutical company Midwest in the computer. Very drug design group. I then, um um uh, spent about three years there. Midwest wasn't really for me, if you personally. And then I moved to Philadelphia area where I've been ever since started with a biotech company from the ground up, um, had very, very supportive mentors again. Opportunity to do many different things started hard. My first people, my first, my first team started learning how toe lead the group. Uh, the biotech company had a very successful public offering, an I. P o. When public and three years later was acquired by JNJ, then Jay Johnson and Johnson, the biggest healthcare company in the world. I spent the next 10 years agenda leading research and early development, I, T and Informatics. I was always between informatics and it, um, Science data Science and 80. And, um and, um And then I was recruited at a big services company to help build a software business. Um, which I spent six years and the last year and a half. I came to know of artist, which is a major pharmaceutical company where I'm in starts off. I'm CEO. It's information officer in charge of the research idea Informatics for

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the top three priorities? What are weekly work hours like?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
Weekly Working Art. What am I waking? Sleeping argument? Okay, so it's it's my role now is really executive leadership. It's I lead a very large group. It's like 400 people in terminals, only in part. This is the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world s I'm leaving the Informatics and the organization for the research division of Nerve Artist. And my job is really setting the direction and the vision for the team creating a culture of collaboration of accountability. Um, I see is the number one responsibility of me personally setting the tone and also hiding superb talent into her team. Develop and grow our people on making sure that we invest in the right areas, that we spend our money wisely and our resources wisely. Um, what we doing that then, in the team, we do anything from high end scientific data analysis, data science, um, starting disease, biology, inventing new molecules to make economics, you know, early phase clinical trials. We build a lot of systems. My group builds a lot of the systems and databases that scientists and the applications that scientists need to do their work and also provide all the I T infrastructure and support from, you know, laptops and mobile devices toe high perform high performance computing, cloud computing, toe end user support, help desks and things of that type. We actually even have a group that develops custom robotic solutions and automation team that makes new types of harder on bond. Um, right, so that's my responsibility in my new role in this one that I have now.

What are major challenges and pain points in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in overcoming them? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
um, the biggest challenge, I think is managing many diverse needs with a finite resource is not, that's, you know, small number of resources, but finite resources and really choosing what is the most important thing to do? Um, you know, Novartis. My employer is a massive company. About 10,000 employees over $200 billion market cup on. Do you know there's many diverse views here? Um, often people pull in many different directions, its's characteristic of any large organization. Um, a lot of it has to do with different technology choices, right? We're developing one piece of technology here, and some other parts somewhere else, you know, develops similar types of a capable A similar type of capability in completely different piece of technology, more or less for the same purpose. So it is not all in large corporations like this to have some duplication of effort because it's just so big. Um, another challenge. So that's all extrinsic. Another challenge is the very rapid pace of change, both in science and in technology. Okay, Um uh, it is, um, very hard to modernize your systems. Eso you end up with a lot of legacy stuff that you need to maintain themwe are managing over 900 scientific application, different applications just to give an idea, Andi, other challenges managing different personalities. Uh, you know, when you're in large groups managing people and you know, the diversity of the of the human condition right now, humanities, this can be interesting. Um, and and Nyberg, neighbor is myself. The research division of the Artist is called the Stanford of Artists. Institutes off for biomedical research attracts I'm incredibly talented people. It's like Randall a crab in our business. Well, oftentimes then, to be opinionated, Um, you know, eso managing through these strong personalities can be can be interesting. Personally, um, you know, you mitigate some of this, uh, you mitigate some of these risks by, um, creating a by setting a culture, setting the tone, and I also by hiring the right people into the group. Ah, and I personally hire for both talent and character people who are not only extremely turn it int in what they do and have domain knowledge. But we can also work very well with others who are not pre Madonnas and who, um, you know, take pride and joy in others. People on the people's successes, much is in their own and who generally stand for something bigger than themselves.Okay, um, eso approaches. You asked me what approaches I take. Um, we actually, um, Novartis is created, um, with, you know, a new CEO taking over a that cultural transformation journey that is anchored on four sort of cultural priorities. Um, the first is, uh, to stay curious, you know, listening to understand not to win an argument or to solve the problem, but really understand considering alternatives, you know, synthesizing views on but the end of the day turning ideas into action, which also means knowing when the discussion ends and when execution begins. Um, in my group, I like I like to use an analogy. I've always used it. You know, we have academic freedom in terms of ideas and military discipline in terms of implementation, you know, we discuss freely with its other What? How? Toe address a problem. How to pursue, You know how to proceed. And once we decide, we just call like one fist. Um, the second is to stay inspired. You know, in that case, meaning innovative with focus and discipline, toe accelerate science. Never losing sight off the ultimate benefit beneficiaries of our work, which have the millions of people around the world who depend on our discoveries to bring hope and joy in their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Um, the third is to stay on post, you know, taking initiative personal accountability both for your own and for your team's commitments, not just pointing out the problems or pointing fingers but offering concrete ideas and solutions. And last is to stay self aware. That means being aware of the impact we have on others, um, seeking and giving feedback, freely, admitting and correcting our mistakes and striving to bring the best out in ourselves and everybody else around us.

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
that the top that well, you know, my customers are research scientists. Um, my my personal role again because it's a high level executive role are the disease area heads, people who you know, the heads of neuroscience, the head of oncology, immuno oncology, the disease areas that Novartis is into the functional areas because you have platform, you know, sort of global medicine, chemistry or chemical biology and therapeutics or biologics. These air. So platforms that support, um, all of the disease areas. So typically the heads of research within neighbor, the president of research. I also spend a lot of time with other parts of the artists. The digital office. We have a corporate digital office that deal with large digital initiatives across the enterprise, from commercial to manufacturing, tow R and D on my my my customers, I spent a lot of time with my the users of our tools, the ordinary scientists, you know, from blood heads to individual scientists all over the place. And, of course, my team, I have a, well, the data scientists, which is another distinct community within number. And of course, my own team. My team, um you know, we have a career ladder. Um, for every function, essentially the grades of the same. But the titles may change depending whether your software engineer a data scientist, the data engineer, a user supporter, you know, and infrastructure engineer, product manager, whatever the case may be. So just to give you an idea, my because we just, uh you know, in the last one, the talent off the organization here, we restructured our group around five key areas. The first is what we call information products and data sciences. Andi, these are teams. Think of them as, um, product managers who sape eso. At least one of the first group of them, and one of the most important ones is the informatics products information products. These are people who, um, and vision on manage all these. Whatever. 900 scientific applications. They they identify features. They try to see how to develop them, how to face them. They create the road maps. They talked to users, they and into those themes the product teams. Um, we have many other people and software engineers dead engineers, you know, service managers. You are you are you X experts. They all sort of matrix into them to create this thing's products that we wanna that we have here. The another function. So we have that for, um, scientific products. But because we manage, you know, everything. Basically, when these more conventional IT infrastructure, we also have I t products. This have, like, collaboration tools develops, you know things of that time. Um, then we have a years of experience and research, research and design group, um, products, services, data management, data sciences and business relationship management. We have another big sandwiches are engineering organization, which has software engineering, data engineering, infrastructure, engineering, reliability, equality, engineering, security, engineering. And there's a chief architect or around those we have another big group that is technology and use the services, you know, infrastructure. Serve more the service side of things, use the services, infrastructure services, use of technology, lab technology, these technologies and so on. And then we have other functions that deal with operational excellence, you know, portfolio management, business planning, resource fulfillment, delivery excellence and organization, design and health and so on. So these are the types of functions that I have within my group. As you can tell from hi hardcore data science all the way to use a support and everything in betweenthree approaches. The approaches is to have a, um, have a genuine ambition to make a difference, you know, and ambition. Not in a careerist kind of way, but an ambition in a human kind of way. Um, to leave the world a better place, you know, Um, so they being curious, right? Trying we, um What I'm trying to instill in my team, um, is to focus maniacally on the user experience in the broadest possible sense of the world. Um, it's what I call users Centris City. That's what we, you know, our strategies anchored on, you know, four main pillars, plus a big cultural pillar. But I'll talk about that later. You know, products essentially creating a fit for purpose product mix that maximizes impact and value to drug discovery. A services pillar with the drive operational excellence balancing, you know, in both service levels and cost. And it just is importantly. More importantly, perhaps, um, a user, um, you know, a user pillar pillar around the users to develop tools that users absolutely love to use and deliver a frictionless user experience. Ah, and last, but certainly not least data. You know, three data is a first class asset not a by product of our science, and take a very active role in managing in centrally managing its life cycle on democratizing used to bring in the hands of ordinary scientists so he can make decisions and drive their discovery programs forward. Eso in terms of. So that's sort of the characteristics. But I come back to what I said before stay. You know, you have to have a passion for the end user and empathy for the end user. Understand the true needs on Do you also have to have creativity because what you know, your users cannot articulate a perfect solution. That's why you have the expertise toe created for them. So you need to, you know, you need to have that empathy, but you also need to read between the lines. You know what it's asked for is not necessarily what is wanted, which is not necessarily what is needed. So you need to read between the lines on de envision. Um, you know, take essentially vague or amorphous user requirements and turn them into beautiful, elegant, workable, well integrated products

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
interesting. I'm a very instinctive person. Um, so I listened a lot setting, but also I'm driven by self reflection. Actually, I do recognize two phases in my career. Um, the first one was greatly said by my academic training, which was, as you can imagine, by my introduction, quite intense. Andi, I would say, the first half of my career, I tried to prove I'll use or colloquial language here, but you understand what I mean. I tried to prove myself. I tried to prove that was the best thing since sliced bread. I was, You know, the smartest guy could come out of the smartest algorithms, the best. Softer, blah, blah, blah. Right. Um, it was very individualist. I wasn't in the individuals, but it was very centered around my own contributions. Um, and the team grew and grew and grew. It became apparent to me that I could magnify my impact by creating a collegial team environment where, you know, this individual talent could could flourish, Basically, could, you know, um, come to the surface where you could bring the best out in other people. Where my own recognition. Um, when you care a lot more about other people's success than you care about your own. Can you create the type of environment my little stiff style? Um, again, I'm, you know, very caring, empathetic person. Um, but I also make difficult decisions when I need to make them. I try. I try to use two examples. I'm reflecting on two examples, so I put the individual above. I'm not sure if I'm going to say this in public now, but I put the individual always above the company. Always did. Always will. Um I care a lot about my employers. I you know, and I have a very akin understanding why they pay me. Um But I'll give you two examples. The one is on hiring, and the other is on motivating. So I try to motivate people setting. Um, do we? How much time do we have? If I may ask you, Can we go a little longer? Okay, so let me tell you this Let me tell you, this story is because I think I don't know how many people attend this, but I think it might be interesting to you guys. Um uh, when I was a change, I had this, like, amazing team. I mean, there was just fearless, You know, nothing. There was nothing we couldn't do when it comes to software. And we had built a very sophisticated piece of software analytics software, the data visualization analytics for research and manufacturing, you know, learned about it and wanted to sort of manufacturing side of James. I wanted to come and and look at it. So we had the head of manufacturing at Sanjay visiting for a demo in, like, three days, and we wanted to add some custom visualizations in our platform, um, that were very specific to manufacturing, right? It's not the genetic salads and things, right? Or chemistry. Biology. It was just very specific of manufacturing, and we had a choice. So I get what gathered this. You know what I call the heavy hitters, like five or six really super talented, just just amazingly talented people around the room and say, How can we do this in three? It would be nice to have this functionality, uh, to see how the stool applies to this persons of space more directly. But how do we implement it? You know, in three days, I mean, do we write a plug in a separate were that we integrate in towards a thing off spot heart a block click one of these visualization platforms, our own home grown platform that we had to build some custom years and and here I am. I'm around the table with the most fearless people I have ever worked with, right. Nothing was impossible to them. And given the time Krantz, we go around the room and we say, Well, you know the easiest. The safest approach is Thio having our our viewer essentially as affording like, you know, you could pop it up. You could visualize the data, but it looked separate. It look for into the application, not native or we can write are on view from scratch in three days and the team to play it safe. You know, we talk and talk and talk for our son. We say, Let's let's you know, let's let's implemented in our and I remember sitting back turning into the guy who was supposed to write it. His name was Andrew, and I say, Andrew, everybody in this group believes that you should do it in our I am the only one who believes you can actually do it in through the X was called the platform natively inside the platform. But that's all. His body is yours, right? It's your decision. No matter what you decide. You know, everybody's cool with it. Um, and of course, the thing it was built in a day and a half. No. Three days. So, given the carrot and the stick, carrot works a hell of a lot better. Particularly when you have people who respond to challenges. The second is around. Hiding on where? Why? I put people first. Um, I had a professor of his very close friend of mine had this brilliant student actually sparking number. Now, um, brilliant student. He says the meters. I have this, like, amazing guy. Just amazing guy. He doesn't want to go to academia, you know? He wants to get in the pharmaceutical research. You know, your group is the best, Rob. Blah, blah, blah. I interview him. I said, you know, I don't have a position, but let me, of course, let me talk to the guy. I didn't have an open prison, so I I interviewed the fellow and Andi is brilliant. I mean, I can tell um, And then I said, Okay, listen, you finish your feet. He was finishing his PhD. You need to look for postdocs are startling for postdocs, and in the meantime, I'll see if I can create a position. Um, so he's doing exactly that and opened to three months later. I can remember now we do create an opening for him. A new position. I said, come and apply. Uh, here. Hey, applies. And by the time we have an offer, he has two options. Um, he has, um Hey, here's some home because we have a post doc at Harvard and he has a job offer from what I would not so humbly claimed, the best informatics group in the pharmaceutical industry from us. Um and, um, he sends minima intimate. I don't know what to choose. And I tell him, Eric, I said, as a self serving manager, I would tell you to come to J and J had come 13 for these reasons, and I listed every single reason why he's a join our team. Then I put a period, and I said, But if I were your father, I would tell you to go to Harvard and stay in touch. Okay. Hey says thank you. He feels liberated. He goes to Harvard, does his post dog. It was for a year contract on guy Said Eric, every three years, you will be checking every three months. You will be checking with me like a clockwork. Three months is the highest going on. Fantastic. He started doing some experimental work six months later, you know. How are we doing? Should we get the process going again? You need more time for your post, doc, that you learn everything you know. I said one year is enough. Yes, I got I got what I wanted. Okay, let's put the process forward. Three months later on the ninth month, Literally like a clockwork. Alright. I create a position. 12 months later, hey joins the team. Andi joins the team with the hell. You know, a lot more. Um, a lot more knowledge. A lot more experience information, experiences. Um, you know, in a year and a half later, he's giving, like, you know, invited lecture. The Johnson Metal Symposium, which is the number price of James at whatever. Um and that created loyalty beyond beyond belief. So when I left NZ to join this interesting venture. Just create a new business inside a service company. I asked him whether he wanted to join. The response was spontaneous. So the conclusion is what's good for people is good for business.

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
um, by living it yourself, right? Bye bye. You know, you can you can give a manual. Um uh, culture is what happens in real life, right? It's which the everyday moments, this collection off micro moments that make a culture eso you lead by example, right? U s o your vulnerabilities. You acknowledge your mistakes. Your coats people you praise publicly is like a you know, mention Greek proverb. You know, you praise publicly and you criticize privately, right? Or you your coats privately. You, um you make people aware off their behaviors. So if you notice a particular behavior in a meeting or in some kind of a conversation, an email threat, right, You I don't know if you can do it in the moment, but typically at the end, you take them aside and you say, Reflect on this what impact do you think they said? Another's? Did it accomplish your goals? Um, you just use micro moments and examples to train people on DMA Aktham aware off behaviors that do not maximize their own potential. Um, there, You know Justin, there's a democracy is used to say there was only atoms in space. The rest is opinion. Okay, so there is no absolute truth in in, uh, in anything. Really? Um, s o eso one needs to be humble Onda. One needs to approach different perspectives with curiosity. Um, and I've never seen an idea in my life that hasn't been improved by having more pairs of eyes. Look at it. Conversations. You know, if you have a discussion with your colleagues, you write a piece of code developed an algorithm. You come on. Some theory. I have never seen one case with that. That thing hasn't been improved when other people looked at it and work with unit eso. That's how you you know I'm not drift if it's adequate off an answer. But you create an environment off openness where people feel safe. Um, where there is no, You know where, uh, stating your opinion or disagreeing Eisen? Actually, a bad thing. It's not. And there's no there's no repercussions. Right? You can speak your mind. You can disagree with your bosses, your boss's boss with anybody. And as long as you don't do it, Aziz, long as you do it in a civil kind of way, right, then you're not being, um, nasty on disrespectful. Um, it's perfectly fine. And you create that atmosphere

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
obvious question. The obvious answer to this question is that good work. Um recognizes itself. OK, eso unless you have, you know, what's the thing? That I rarely let me put it this way in my how many 35 year just career I have never, rarely. I only remember two individuals where I said thes people come toe work just to make other people unhappy. You know, just they come to distract, not thio destroy not to build something right. Everybody comes to work to make a difference, you know, to create something of value to help other people have their colleagues. You know, that's the pain patients in our case humanity society. Um, the overwhelming majority off people have good intent. OK? Eso one, um, s o make sure that you do good work. Um yeah, And don't spend too much time promoting it or promoting yourself, because that can backfire. Okay, there's some successful examples like this, but I know a hell of a lot more successful examples off people who relied just under good words. Um, there also, you know, some some, um a bit of marketing skill is also important. You know, it's not enough to build a good product, you have to sell it to without, over doing it right. But it should never come. I think, um, you know, you should sell the product of your work, not yourself. You should be promoting the things you do, not you, because the second one can come across his self serving and in healthy organizations. I tend I work in a very healthy company. Um, culturally, very healthy. And that's why it's so successful. Um, in a healthy environment, um, being self centered and self promoting overtly self promoting actually doesn't work to your advantage. I'll give an example. When I joined neighbor, I'm sitting on the neighbor leadership team with the president, you know, and I look around, I look around the room, all the disease area heads and everybody else. The level of accomplishment is jaw dropping. I mean, if you look at this guy's service, your jaws drop. I mean, you're humbled. Um, and yet at a personal level, they're so humble, so understated, so collegial. It is striking to me. Um, you know, but they have this ability to bring the best out in others. So, um, promote your work. Do not promote yourself. Is the advice I would give you

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

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
it depends. Um, you know, I in my life now. In in the past, I hired a lot off data scientists and a lot of software engineers. Right. Various flavors. Software engineers, data engineers. You know, um, let's say software engineering and data signs I'm looking for. I'll say something controversial here on again. I have no idea who the audience is, right where they come from. When you hire you, many mind you're taking a risk. You don't know the person, you know, If you if you know a candidate from previous life and you bring them in, then it's a no brainer. Right? You know what? You you know what you're buying? Essentially. But if you're hiding a a young person or somebody haven't worked with before, you are taking a risk. Um, and, um, you try to minimize the risk. So the interview process, um, is a way off minimizing risk. Eso I told you before, I hired both for talent and for character. Right. So how do you judge talent? Um, you know, having gone through very demanding academic institutions, having received very good grades, the risks, your decision, right, it's it's a surrogate markets a marker off once intellectual aptitude. It's not the only marker because I can tell you I've seen people without even a college degree who can outsmart everybody else around them. So it's not the only criterion, but it's a it's It's what I call the Beijing prior, right? It the risks, your decision. It adds confidence that at least you know that person has a brain, right. It's just This is a smart person. Um, you asked for recommendations. You so looking at people's pedigrees and create and histories education history. I always focused on education. Maybe to a fault, perhaps. But when I when I get a C V, the very first thing I look, my always start. Where was this person educated? Was it intense was a selective, you know? Did they have to work hard? I'm trying to gather these things. And then I look at her career and then I look at the individual skills. Um, sometimes for software engineers. I used to give them programming challenges, or are they used to come and ask them silly questions? Just, you know, like a algorithmic question, not the Google type of things, right? More light, more, more But you can tell if they think on their feet of their creative right. Um uh, and And the rest is again a big sorry. A big chunk off the interview. Um, his character. Um do I see a Oregon's? If I see Oregon's the interviews over, basically, you know, you just go through the tours and and you never You never considered that person. Right now they will well, that we hear back, but they won't want to. The answer they expect. I don't think eso so again, you know, talent. Do they know the field personally? If you ask me, I'm much more willing to take chances with people who don't have formal credentials If I think they have the ability, the skill and the talent and the intellect to do the work. So you know, if you ask me if if I have ah, I'm looking for engineer recipients. Last skills and I get somebody who done. Did sis are for something or Java? Andi, I find run into a person was just totally impressive in terms of the term, you know, there all the other pretend they don't know C plus plus, but give him itself Of course I will. Right now, I know they will pick it up on the flying. You know, six months, they will be cruising. Right? So, um and and we we also, um, employ very different When the interviews, we try to have very different types of people, um, interviewing them who are not just like yourself. You know, they look at the candidate from a very different, very unique perspective. And I will add to that that we're also introducing diversity in all its flavors into the interview pers, make sure you have really enough females or people from underprivileged backgrounds or, you know, just get a very different perspective. And then we synthesized very much like ideas. We synthesize all these perspectives and make This is, um

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
There's a lot of things that I'm proud off, but here I'm going to contradict myself. I'm with what I said before. I'm very proud of the teams I built really co cohesive, collegial. There were more like families than teams. Um, and many of us followed each other for, you know, through many different companies. And our paths diverge and reconnected. You know, families in building, building great teams on a more personal level. I'm very proud off algorithm I developed, I don't know 20 years ago, it's called stochastic proximity. Embedding it's for dimensionality reduction of very large data sets if you got I don't know what backgrounds you're the students come from. But if you're familiar with nonlinear mapping or multi dimensional scaling, um, a foundational problem in applied math and computer science. Um, the best known algorithms were quadratic, you know, order and squared, right? At least quadratic complexity. I invented a self organizing algorithm that was very, very, very different from everything else published in In Proceedings of the National Academy. Uh, there was order, end and solve the problem that was considered intractable for large data sets for truly massive data sets. I think That's my finest moment. If you think about intellectual contribution and all its tentacles, because that algorithm eventually, um, growing toe, you know, many, many different things. Different applications. Um, the other things. I'm really proud of our the two 333 large enterprise scale systems that I developed in my three different companies. My previous company is the first one that is about tech company called Direct Diversity. It had to do with the ability to analyze massive virtual combinatorial chemical libraries or chemical spaces that were just astronomical insights with a lot of creating algorithms. The second is a platform that I built at JNJ, called a B. C. D. It's really the data visualization platform in it. You know, that integration platform, the back end, that allowed scientists to look at all the research data in ways that had not been possible before again. A lot of speed and sophistication off software and user experience. And the third is the system that I built at covens, my previous employer called Accelerate, which, uh, integrates, you know, clinical trial data in real time, near real time from any source system, and provides is beautiful analytic tools to help them manage clinical studies and clinical trialsI think the impact was quite significant in all cases. You know, Um um the take a b c d. Even today, almost 56 17 years later, Um, it's the platform that runs Discovery, where all discovery scientists, you know, access their data and visualize their data. So they're very, very long lasting impact and still is, um, accelerate. The impact was that's interesting, actually. Um, three accelerate was a commercial product that we built not only to change the way we manage clinical trials as a as a C. R. O is a services company, but also sold it as a software as a service, a zoo, A software, the service right, with its own licenses and whatnot. Andi, I manage this. You know, we managed to sell it to very large pharmaceutical companies who manage all the clinical trials using that. So the impact, um, um was quite large, um, and very rewarding because, you know, at the end of everything we do and here's the A very important dimension off the work that I mean of the field that I mean, sitting at the end of the day, the beneficiaries of this work directly or indirectly in most cases indirectly his somebody's brother, somebody's son, somebody's daughter, somebody's parent. It's a difference between life and death.

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
call its programs. You know, again, a controversial statements here again. I I grew up in Greece. I did my first degree in Greece, right? Andi, think about the probability the based on prior that I told it was a very selective you couldn't get in the universe. Only 10% made it. Okay. Eso the people who made it to college. We're pretty smart generally. Okay. Um, I studied very hard in Greece. You studied much harder in high school, then you study any time afterwards because it's self selective. I think they're a bunch of nations that are like this, actually, tons of countries that have similar systems. Um, I will admit that in college I had the life the time of my life I would party for, I don't know, 10 11 months, 10 months. Study like like a maniac for another to get my good grades. I was good to go, but I have the most the fondest of memories from my college years. No regrets. Things change that. My PhD, I never saw the light of day afterwards was inside 24 7 inside studying. Um but but, you know, seriously, these were different times. and on today, Um, I will say this, though, because I have two daughters. We went to selective systems myself. One is 28 others 23. Um um, on I'm going to get philosophical on you because, um, they're both doing very well. But I see a generation your generation that is being squashed basically, you know, is being you have toe you're entering a very, very hypercompetitive environment. Um, where you have to do things that just to do them just to beef up your application. Right, Because it's so selective. Andi, I've seen a lot of kids, Not my daughter's, thankfully, but I've seen a lot of kids have been crushed by this right on getting philosophical because the advice I'm going to give you is to never cross yourself, right? Never do this. Try heart, but don't get disappointed. Aim for for intensive. You know, selective programs intensive focus on education. Um, focus on this lifelong learning learning that will, um, last a lifetime. Um, a supposed to practical skills? Yes. These air useful. You know, it's good to, you know, it's good to have your computer science back. And if you want to be a program or computer scientist. Um, but focus. I'm going back to my parents. You know, my mom and my, um, focus on the essence of education, not on the formal credentials. Don't overlook those because you need a job. You need to feed yourself and your family eventually. But make sure you become more aware of the world around you and never sacrifice your mental health. Never, ever. Nobody, nothing. No job, no career. Nothing is worth it.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
This is a difficult question. It's a difficult because you cannot take context. Out of the question. Um, you know that in my career is one off many career? Yes, it's It's been a successful career. Can complain. I had a blast, but I've known other people who didn't have my It didn't attain my title. My, um you know, my compensates Call it whatever you wanna call it, right? My comfort, but have done equally well people, Other people wanted to focus on races and science or engineering. And they love what they did. And they're happy doing what they're doing. Um, s O, in my case, I would say Focus on your true interest and your true strength ends and also toned book. Don't Don't stereotype yourself. Right. Um, don't think you're made for one thing and one thing only. Know your strength, play to your strengths, but you may have. All of you may have aspects of your personalities that can take in directions you never ever envisioned. Let me close with this statement on getting when I remember when I when I first went to London because Imperial College is in London to do my PhD before going to call its very first day. I was sitting at this beautiful, you know, concert were called the Royal Albert Hall. It's ah appears in a very exquisite neighborhood of London, and I was looking down at the at the imperial campus and I asked myself, How did I get here? Right. That was the question. How did I get here? I grew up. Yes, I was a It's a very good family, but I was mere my neighborhoods next next to the red light district of Athens. Right. How did this kid get here? And I remember going to Berkeley my first day sitting below the Campanello that u c Berkeley and I look at myself and said, How did I get here? And I'll never forget. Um, when I went to Harvard, right, awaiting the creme de la creme off my academic profession, Right? Training. And I look at myself, look around and I said, how there expletive did I get here? Okay, um my my I kept surprising myself. Life kept surprising me. I was open to possibilities. I'm exploited strengths and opportunities. That story could have been very different. Had something, you know, it's and and never under appreciate. Um, the importance of luck. Onda. The reason I'm saying this is my concluding remark is because you should never, ever use your success to look down on other people.