DigitalWorks , Operating Partner
Harvard Business School MBA, General Management
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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 Nov 20 2020
I think back on really 50 years, Uh, get to where I am today. And that started with I'm the the the son of a single parent mom who reared me on her own, uh, with working in Union Job here in Manhattan. I am a native New Yorker. I'm also first generation. Uh, my mom is from Puerto Rico, Dad's Cuban, and in those early years just instilled in me a strong work ethic and confidence to be whatever I wanted to be, and that drove me through my academics and also which opened up opportunities for some wonderful institutions and mentors early on. You know, the mentors really start with your teachers and since my days at Xavier High School, which was a college preparatory school, young men, which leads me to its scholarship opportunity, that is the college, which is a private little large school upstate New York. And then, interestingly enough, after a while I had my first job at Time Inc working at People magazine in the publishing business. I remember my mom, still, even those days, and I'm in my early twenties, reminding me it's very important to pursue a a graduate degree and then years later, I had graduated from Harvard Business School. Um, my career. Since then, you has been involved in operating as an operating exact in technology media in the music industry on the last current opportunities. Um, the CF CFO for a boutique investment bank called the Opus Group, based here in New York.

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

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
first and foremost is thinking about what future opportunities are for the investment main, what areas to focus on. Today. We look at emerging markets, emerging sectors in those markets. Examples of that would be fintech bioattack because of the covert environment, distressed real estate to those there, a couple of examples worked very closely with the principles in planning not just the new term outlook and where to focus but evaluating current opportunities on their merits.Well, my top priorities are engaging me business. I do a tremendous amount. You have toe research. Also, in studying, I'm finding opportunities and also to form your own point of view in turn a market and outlooks for yourself. And I would say then, in terms of weekly hours, and in this role, I find it very flexible just because it's the nature of the on the banking side, we're now in virtual so. But it is a an everyday job in terms of always being curious, always meeting people, and one relationship leads you to another, and there's a little serendipity in that.

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.

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
I would say the greatest challenge is staying managing your priorities on any given moment because you do not want to do your focus. I think also to is just having, uh, introducing yourself to and evaluating equality of the person that might represents a new relationship. You know, it's hard Thio. It takes time to assess and ensure that you're working people that share the same values, uh, in terms of how on a personal level and professional toe to approach business in particular investment banking.well, I would put the put it in the context of of Students are early in their careers of and I'll tie into my role today. But really my my success over years as a product leader as a former chief innovation officer for tech company one is to just always nurture your curiosity. It's very important in a fast changing world that as learners, people always, you're constantly you're as students. You and I'm sure you've heard this from your professors or mentors already. But it's such a true adage. We're now in the world today to remain relevant and engaged in successful. It's that you're kind of stuck with me learning, and that's important elements. The world change so so often, uh, and uh, so with that, I think those that have are constantly reinventing themselves and leveraging their skills or building new skills are not only will be successful but emerges leaders for others. I also think it's important that you nurture a strong sense of self. One should not. One should celebrate your who you are, and also it could be a big part of. I think it's a big part of the future leadership of those to embrace others who are different in any aspect, but also those who are strong. And they are. It's a sense of confidence and I can't tell you how many times and I'm sure maybe some of you were Someone said You can't do this or you're not position to do that And I chose and there were different reasons for along the way there was always someone that says, Don't listen to those people and trying your own path or give or take the chance on DSO I've benefited from that advice and I'm passing along to everyone here.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
but for me, in terms of what the suffer, I just call it the Internet. I mean, there isn't anything. I'm I'm probably one of my springs is there isn't really any information. I can't research for myself when it comes to the programs come and go depending on what I need to do. Clearly modeling and communicating and presentations and such, but so much what I mean, what were we all do today is just communicating with each other right and reaching out. So a very familiar with all the devices. And I have time, hundreds of APS, many that I just look at to see what people are doing. But that's what's important, right? Do you know what Blockchain is? You know what Bitcoin is? You know what a wallet is? I mean, you need to understand for yourself what you products and consumer experiences, and you do that by researching downloading them. Anytime I read something about something new, I'll pull the app down or look at the service, experiment with it as a customer on. That's how you know what's going on

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?

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
well inside the organization that worked very closely with the senior. But the co founders, one is a senior managing director, was CEO of Lines, the firm and the other co founder is that manages the transaction team on Capitol races and outside the firm. Impressed mostly speak with either the CEO of the company, a board member or CFO. And it was. My primary context could be could be in the best relationship contact as well and then just my general network and former people who work to companies formerly working companies or consultants. Today, their money working a family office. They might work at a principal. Imagine director on Investment fund. They're on the angrier dead side. Want to discuss looking at deals or share your experiences and also attorneys attorneys also great source potential. The opportunity

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?

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
Well, my management style is very much the call. They have this term servant leader. So I'm very much about there's two parts to my style. One is I do believe you. You have to set the example. My being that person that has Yeah, the experience, Andi Also the skills in terms of for for others for sending an example is one and the others just serving others and making sure that they can be very successful in their role. So as opposed to being I'm more of the type of I'm gonna I'm gonna do everything I can to help you be successful, as opposed to giving you test to see if you can pass. Um, on. Uh, it's much more my style. Look, it depends on the role of nature, a job when I was a chief innovation product leader. That is a very demanding role. That's 24 7. You've got major product launch deadlines on the calendar. You do have to be efficient and disciplined with managing not just the team that reported directly to me, but indirectly. I'm helping the organization get ready for a product launch. So there's a lot of black bloc and tackling a lot of influencing their, and in some cases you also have to be very firm on making decisions, so having good judgment. So there's a there times or your diplomatic. And then there are times where you actually have to make the decision on been supported, either for yourself or supporting others on your team. They're making the hard decisions because you're not on. It's not all times that you're gonna get secure, consensus or agreement, Right, So you have tow, you have to manage through that.in terms of books I've enjoyed. I'm a big fan of Reef. Hoffmann's started with you. E Think its's. I think it's the modern dating, personal professional development, and we speak of, um, in terms of other books. There is one that I'm reading now. Uh, it's the the history of kind of capitalism. Um, and I would I read I read books about the pandemic. I've read books about, um, I actually enjoy reading books about others in terms of their biographies or leaderships, because you can learn through those experiences I've read recently Read found she's book about him and his trials and tribulations as a leader. Eso That's what I wouldn't those were, you know, a couple of books that have mentioned

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.

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
managing conflicts within and across so many conflicts with. I tried there. If you if you communicating and supporting your team meeting regularly that goes a long way and avoiding conflict because you're in constant, you're in communication, and every time you're in communication there's an opportunity, um, clearing on or avoiding any misunderstanding. All right, that's far. I actually think if there is conflict, it could be because maybe you're not communicating that often. I would say an example when that happened because of the role. When you're when you have a new leadership raw part of a T least where it was at that time, there was a moment where I was doing a tremendous amount of international travel and it kept me, uh, outside the office, sometimes weeks at a time there. It was very challenging to maintain the relationships here from my own team because I was in different time zones and you really have Thio and you're really you're communicating with the regular team at the same time and that could be, uh, it's very easy to be disconnected under those circumstances, so you really have to you have to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to maintain communication, to support your team in that scenario. All right, when it comes across teams very, very important that I would have myself in my team, be very. Take the initiative and proactive in managing the flow of information. So not just communicating with people do now in instant time with slack. But there is a formal or the informal and then in the form of parts of communication, and you have to do both. I reach includes when you're in the case of product development, there are you can you have to pull other members of the organizations and keep them updated. Also create opportunities for people to engage and collaborate. So they're part and also for every day and and to discuss disagreement Doesn't that's the really you're going to resolve this agreement, but you're transparent and the decisions you're making so that their noted and one is I cannot say that they weren't aware and informed. Our decision in terms of managing conflict also has to do with you're influencing the organization and credibility if you you if you were to deliver at a high level and you do that on a regular basis. You build credibility with the New York immigration and your team, and that helps MM in terms of you having influence. That also helps in resolving com potential conflict, right if you bring credibility to the role as a leader but also to your team in terms of having a follow on. And so it is very important. Nad you perform in all toe have a 3 60 kind of platform, right, Because you're managing up, you're managing relationships and colleagues and you're managing. I hear you in your romantic external relationships. And if people see in terms of high humanity relationships in an authentic way, in a way that is, um, um, fear, but firm and consistent. That goes again a long way. In terms of managing conflict, people tend to extend more trust if you've created that platform to you, and also then you get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to major decisions. And then there are times you sometimes avoiding conflict is choosing your battles. You know, three along time, someone's position. Um, but in the case of external about protecting my team, you should acquiesce a point or a decision. Maybe it's not worth that much for us to expand too much our social equity in it. There are times where you know I firmly have to be be behind a member of my team. And then there's sometimes there's those courageous moments where you could be by yourself with CEO on the board and you have to stand behind decision. You know that's right for the organization, even though wait a green.

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.

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
getting recognition is a result of just didn't moderate work done and going about doing your word. I would on day that even though it may feel that it's not recognized, it will be over time. So the assumption is you're working within an organization where the leaders of that organization are due. Do invest in their teams to develop them, give them feedback and nurture their careers. I do acknowledge that's not always the case, so I often tell people you have to. And this is why I reference if there's one. Reid Hoffman's book to start up. The view is really what are your what do you want to get out of it, a working relationship? Or, if you want to call it a partnership being clear about that to the person that you're might be reporting into, and if they're not delivering on that part of the relationship to you and by the way you should check on to make sure your expectations are reasonable with others, Andi. But it's fair to say this is not the right the environment of the right company, forward to nurture my skills are experienced. Hi, I think what's most important in the earlier part of someone's career is that they continually learn you have tremendous capacity to learn Onda. Try toe work with some of the best people you can and whatever appealed for business you're in. Just try to get access to those people, and if you can't start their working with some of the best, then try to get there right. Um, don't you have? We have long parents. It's not defined by what you do the first five years out of school. The charter school, that is, uh, but this the experiences to build on each other. So you have to think of yourself as, Let's say, it change your jobs three times in five years. But if I'm doing the same role, what did you really learn over five years? Is it a job you put 18 to 2 years in? And it's the same thing. That's not that rich mine as approach to He had one job warming combination. Every company in that five year period you have played two different roles, maybe one finance, maybe one in marketing or one in sales when advertising whatever that may be. One in engineering one is a za manager, but that's a much more meaningful in your experience, right for someone's development

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
KP is an investment banker. Deals at the aggregate, right? What's the size of the deals? How many you get into here. So the goal is you want to do a billion dollars of financing transactions, and that would be the key FBI. Does that break? How does that break down? How many do you do of 250 million? I mean, how many do you do of 100 million? How many do you? 25 million. And then, um, when do you deliver on those in terms of closing, right. The process of on boarding them as you new engagements for capital raises thing managing them and then the closed processes. It's a three months is it takes six months, nine months. So there are frameworks in place for measuring and tracking that, but in a role of A when you're a a senior exact on an operating company, your KP ice, they're different levels of that right. So for the year where the business objectives it tends to be three or five that are most important, and then what's your role in either leading any one of those objectives or contributing to it and then defining that. What is the strategy to get there? And where did that tactics or goals that feed into each strategy? And then how those outcome and then those outcomes on a timeline so that you're pacing yourself and you're creating the value are delivering on that business objective. But if everyone doesn't play a part, and then I think at the same time one needs a little flexibility. So KPs I don't necessarily believe there that useful to track every day, depending on if you're not in a sales oriented position there has filed with the world. Uh, certainly we breathe monthly and quarterly in helping us come wind, um, B and T deliver.

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

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
depends on the rule, but in general, in terms of what? What? You're what you're looking for. Like there's the description do of the job that you write up as a hiring manager and then, as you're reviewing resumes, there may not. It's almost rare that you have a complete alignment, someone where the me too profound. So what you do is you look for what? What has made this person successful. And then, if those successes can they translate in the environment that you're operating? You do need some certain skills, and that could be a requirement. It if it's engineering or its marketing or sales. That's the role. But outside of that, it's like, Wow, I'm looking for a track record of success Has this person didn't work in different environments? If they're calling themselves in my case of product manager, have they really deliver product? I can use a new product versus just really project management, managing new features or add on which is a very different than a new product from concept to commercialization. Imagine that process so I'm looking at you know, you're you're looking at the depth and the breath when I ask questions I really want to understand how that person communicates for them, communicates themselves, communicates there, were communicate their skills and then communicates. I'll ask questions about for them as a person and to help. If I'm not just looking for intellectual and also what it cost. You know Esprit de corps right there. Ethel's What's driving them with the rally system are. But I'm also looking Thio understand the emotional intelligence, right? Do they have interior hunting compound themselves? Okay, engaged others and how they engage me.

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

Based on experience at: Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), The Opes Group
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
Well, I mean, I've had a couple of cycles. I feel, uh, I had built a company called Art and Culture. Calm out of San Francisco isn't New Venture and one of the early recipients of the best of show a South by Southwest for those that no debt, that means So that was That was a lot of fun. I've been in award winning product producer and creator for 20 years. I haven't always done it. I worked at different companies and different roles when I I had an opportunity to work in the music industry, Uh, J Records and R C Music Group under Clive Davis and a really fantastic world class management team there I was, an outsider brought in and to help scale of and you major recording company and I'm accomplishment there was to achieve at one point were managing 5% market share ever given week in the industry. So take a lot of pleasure in having worked with that great success and with great leader Yeah, true. Then years later, as ah Mei as a product leader in chief innovation officer for a company. Oh, it was there was nothing more rewarding than going back to product managing director yourself and then having success with awards internationally. And company ultimately grew from fined $1 Ibadan to 15,000,005 years because my, myself and my team were, we're able to redefine and re imagine the consumer experience for not just a company but for the industry on. And that was that was very rewarding. Um, not just personally and fulfilling, but also, you know, for the entire organization, you know, you see?

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Based on experience at: Chief Innovation Officer / SVP / VP of Product Management, TouchTunes Interactive Networks
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
well that that role is everything to do what I called growth strategy. So my my role in C suite was to define a strategy and then to identify what problems, problems and opportunities there are in the marketplace. And how can we monetize them and one of the decisions made on those plans to execute on them and deliver them into the marketplace, which would be leaving the product development process from research. The validation to Beta, the commercialization on working throughout the entire organization, having the product management team manage that with external product designers and developers to the internal and close partnership with ER, the CTO and the engineering teams behind it.Well, listen, they the the time priorities are there was there was always a Vegas launch, so you can't miss it. So you better be ready. And then once a year And then there are constant deliverables when you're managing products s o e actually deliver, deliver, deliver and do it on a do it on time and on budget. You know, I think, but it's the pain points that are numerous behind it because you you want to deliver if you want. If you're I wonder if you want to deliver it. Ah, high level on the on the product depending on what the product is. Is it a platforms and mobile app? Is it both? Are you defining protocols? Is it hardware? There's a the engine is a mechanical engineering and my portfolio and my teams We were doing all of that, so it's very broad, and each one of them requires nuances on what to do to manage that. And so it's there. The pain is men putting alignment of talent with the right project and then ensuring that you get it at the right time so that you can control and managing a timeline here. Thea others is while you're doing all of that constant communication because their song you're moving so quickly. But moving quickly also doesn't mean what you're doing in the moment. For now, it's a great product. Leadership is proactive. You're actually helping your pre planning and putting and taking the steps, including the pieces together I had for the organ is ready for the organization to embrace. Okay, that's how you maximize the outcome of effort, and that's just for me. That's the the creative and the aggressive part of the job that you're wrong. I won't say discipline because there's some things not everyone is telling you what to do. There's a creative part of the job while you're thinking through what's a thoughtful part. How do you bring people together around the subject and then manage that for, um, a now er or there today and putting the effort behind that so that you solve the problem or you actually do serendipity or through collaboration? You actually create an innovative event. You find a breakthrough no more thinking about. But it wouldn't have happened had you not created that moment, right? And and the best product leaders constantly during that on? Do you only do that? My being very aggressive with a process of thought and then a process of support and then the process of management because you were organizing you're organizing the not just an intellectual exercise and then you're not in resource is in time but you also managing the emotions. Alright, right. People in the organization people to team and organization, uh, in some cases, in real time on. And if you can do that I think and you take it S o I find and of the priorities I mentioned time. But I will say another constant is Yeah, we're trying to work with pull and the best resource is or talent for any given past that you can

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 Fri Nov 20 2020
I graduated with a degree of finance and, uh, Ithaca College School of Business and that that prepared me well for my first entry level job, which was finance manager at People magazine after and then they and then ultimate consumer so that my finance career was rigorous and analytics about in terms of also the written word and debate communicating, being disciplined, all those things, Um, I'm just and general business and practices across. I call it the basics, and that led to my first career in publishing. But I think after that, pursued an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School that opened the Vermont roller set of opportunities. And I've been both the financial exact but also a general manager and a product leader. But I think what's what's constant in my career and all tied back to the education is that I've worked with the highest, the highest levels of some creative businesses. So that's so what is it CA and both Harvard prepared me to do is think critically, be a strong communicator, being able to take ah, lot of information and sometimes in moments of ambiguity, come to a decision they're more times than not have led to delivering outcomes and in both in the case of Ithaca and in the case of Harvard, they were both rigorous programs. Um, and they both those institutions just gave me credibility to to be for people. Thio engage me, eyes their employees or is a partner, right and business and kinds of people that I worked with that really thing exceptional.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 20 2020
resiliency is very important and key part. So I think of my life just looking back and also looking forward. It's been a resilience. Is is a word I use. I would never for seeing some of the steps that I've taken, but inch door leads to another. You don't necessarily know what's behind. Um, I think take a lot of pleasure in the moment and take yourself seriously used to take yourself to please others do. I would say, Be very good of trying to, uh, don't take for granted the people you're working with. Don't let people take you for granted. I think it's a big lesson. You don't necessarily. You made us to know him and extend trust and integrity toe others. They're not necessarily those people, and we can create. That could really create a lot of problems. Sometimes small ones, sometimes larger issues for yourself. So I would say and again going back to investing in yourself in those early days of your career. Although it may be feel you'll never get their ways of empowering yourself. Are is always instilling own confidence and trying to create something not just within the organization but maybe an outside of it to empower yourself as your own person. I think that's important now more than ever, a mortal time in history of money even imposed Kobe, I think, will only accelerate that so on. And the other lesson learned is being very resourceful helps towards that. Yeah, Andi also take care of imbalance in your life in different ways. So it's just it's important now doing invest in your home First Channel development outside the office because you bring that for maintaining or training organization about the strength of you. And that's not just necessary skill. Step right, that's who you are, is a person who you are, is your leader. What's important to you and finding alignment and that with others and and with an organization. And it's not. It's not something you always kind of like. Mindful of your thinking about it is really that important. But yeah, it does. Over time, you're gonna be with if you're working with others or organization for five years or more, and ultimately, like you want to build something together that you're proud of, that you get a sense just feeling to you as it is. And so That's not a passive set of dynamics, right? So I'm highlighting here something to learn. It's not just what do you bring to the table, and then how can you be part of the organization? Uh, not just delivery today, but, um, all and create the future that you're not just not just the organization lines, but you want for yourself and that that could If everyone were to do that, it would be a lot more fulfilling. And I don't think I think I've learned is that, you know, we're empowered to do that. People are. It doesn't have to count from, doesn't really. It's not about whether you're a senior, exactly leading the organization that that energy, that sense of purpose, those outcomes that can come from every every anyone and everywhere within a team in our organizationuh, Colonel? Well, let's see. Three. In terms of ad facing adversity, I would just I would say those early when I was a founder, and you're constantly running out of money and you have to get up every day and make it happen. And so that dead grind and turn of the unknown every day and really just a will and a purpose you're breaking through that. That's probably, um that's the most David and the water. Just, uh, and then trying to do something unusual, I would say for for me, that would probably have been, um, well, maybe it didn't feel that time. As a young person. I remember. I want to study in London, and it was unusual because at that point I really hadn't traveled anywhere. So again, just living in a very simple lifestyle, modestly in Manhattan and going to college. But putting myself out there, And it was one of those conversations where was a mentor of mine with my in college professors and adviser, who I could have had enough credits to graduate us and Mr Early. And he suggested, you know, why don't you ever considered studying abroad? And I was like I can't do that. I certainly on. And in fact, after looking into it, I found that it could be possible, and I did. And so that was very unusual for me. Uh, being how close? Uh, being the only child being a small family being be mostly in New York at that time in New York state. Not not traveled. Thio Just get on a They're on a plane and for six months now, just study. But little right s So that was That was a pretty unusual move at the moment, member.

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 Fri Nov 20 2020
I advised it because based on where the market in the world is today, I don't know. I call internships that important. I'd say there's a step before that and that's just get engaged in projects. Either create projects for yourself and be a creator, and it doesn't really matter what it is. Uh, learn from them. Try Thio. You know, if you if you invested in pit in Bitcoin and you bought it for one cent just for the fun of it, because there was something novel. Sure, you'd be bragging now that you have maybe $200,000 in the bank. But those don't That doesn't happen that often, but just do things. And and then if you could do them on your own and learn how to do them on your own or do them with others that Z that would lead to internships, because you you're going to develop a sense of curiosity, your curiosity. You experiment on, and then when you study and there's something you learned about whether it xgames meaning or whether it's media where it signs is, uh, you'll find you'll read about who these people are doing those things for your interest here and then you which organizations to call for an internship. So I think it starts that that that early And that would be my advice just to start doing things. And that could be, you know, if being involved, um, whether at your school organizations and just being an entrepreneur, running around, working on canvas or on canvas.