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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 Mon Sep 14 2020
Yeah, I am. Right now. My role is head of caviar of food delivery service within a company called Doordash, which is another food delivery service. I got to this most recent roll through an acquisition of caviar. I used to lead caviar within a company called Square Ah, large SNB focused company and about 10 months ago, doordash quite caviar from square. So that's how I got here. In terms of how the experiences that shaped them are essentially a lot large focus on product development for individuals and small businesses. Throughout my career, I've essentially lead product development or had product development roles. And so that led to ultimately caviar, where it was a cross functional. I was essentially the internal CEO of the company leading product development, sales, marketing operations, etcetera. And that's generally the progression of one's career, where you start being an individual contributor, a product managers say, then the next step is managing product managers or managing engineers. Then the next step after that is managing a cross functional team, which is consisting of many different functions engineering, product management, design, etcetera and then the final step is to potentially be a GM and That's what my career was like. I basically became the GM of caviar, and then I'm still the gym of caviar, a door dash.

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? Tell us about weekly work hours, including the time spent on work travel and working from home.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
as caviar GM a doordash. My number one roll on goal, I guess, is to make sure that the strategy for caviar is crystal clear. And it's communicated and understood really well to all caveat employees and also the broader doordash community, because doordash and caviar are part of the same company and really call it a resource and doordash. So that's one second is I need to make sure my leadership team is fully aligned, and I have the right people on the leadership team to execute upon the strategy. And the third thing is to make sure I put into place an operational process instead of operational process, to drive execution against the strategy. So strategy people, which is leadership and execution, are the three top things I focus on. And so my day is essentially, I would say, uh, strategy. Ah, lot of there's a lot of focus on it on an annual basis for annual planning and a half yearly basis for half fairly planning a little bit on quarterly. But it's probably during those times it probably takes up almost 80 90% of my time, uh, leadership, I would say constantly both my direct reports and their direct reports. I keep spending a lot of time with them one on one. So I would say that takes up 30 40% of my time doing staff meetings, all hands, etcetera and then execution. I'm not as directly involved in execution. It's more to monitor the results of the execution that I focus on, so that takes over 20 to 30% of my time. But people, as I worked through people at this point in my life, I don't actually execute myself. So for me, the number one thing that's most important is to make sure the right people are in the right roles.

What are the challenges in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in dealing with these challenges? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
The biggest challenge is to find the right people. Uh, at my at my in my role since I worked through people number one. The biggest challenges when you hired for leaders Um, it is very hard to figure out how to interview leaders on and make sure that they will be effective in your context. Someone might have been, for example, really effective at a Google or Facebook. But that doesn't mean they'll be effective at a caviar doordash because they're very different businesses requiring very different skills. So that's that's been the biggest challenge. And to be honest, I've made a lot of mistakes in hiding over the years, and I've learned to each of them, But with leaders, eso there was a leader I hired. I won't I won't be. I kind of not mention what role it was for, but I had to have. One thing I've learned is that if you make the wrong mistaking, you make a mistake in hiding a leader. It's better to let them go sooner, uh, than to wait around so earlier. I would in my career, I would wait for 69 12 months on, Say, you know, we can turn it around. But now, if something is not going well, three months is the max. I wait before I let the leader go because you just can't wait around business. The company cannot wait around for people to, uh, you know, correct their situation or how they operate. That's that's, I think, the biggest lesson I've learned. You've got to hire slow but fire fast.

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 Mon Sep 14 2020
my since I'm basically a GM. The people who report to me are functional leaders, so its head of product for caviar, ahead of entering the caviar head of marketing, the caviar, head of sales of caviar, head of operations for caviar and head of strategy for caviar. So there's those of the five or six reports, and then my peers are the CFO of Door Dash, the VP of product at Doordash, the GM off a couple of other businesses that door dash, the CEO of Door Dash, we report to etcetera. So it's essentially mostly GM and season people. And so my role within the context of Doris usedto educate them about caviar and make sure that caviar gets the resources it needs. And in order to do that, I've got to make sure that everyone understands why caviar is a separate drowned in a separate part of doordash. What the value of cabinets, doordash, etcetera, um, in terms off approaches effective to working with them. It's all about education, I think my peers it's all about constantly educating them with my priorities are strategy to think we've talked aboard. Let me have a strong and capable leadership team for the people who report to me because they themselves are fairly seasoned. All of them have 10 to 15 if not 20 years of experience. It's really micromanagement doesn't work. What works is giving them high level goals and problems to solve and in fact, even even those really cool creating those with them, so not giving them anything. But really, they all work with me on the annual strategy process. So we all together figure out. What is the strategy for caviar? One of the problems we need to solve. What's a vision look like? What's a path? And then each of them owns part of the problem. And so the more you micromanage senior senior senior season people are leaders, the more likely to drive them away. So the one thing you learn is that you've got to inspire them with the vision, and you've got to give them open ended problems assault, and you've got to be hands off. You've got to help them if they need it, but you've got to give them the resources they need. If they come to you got to take care of the issues that there is, but you can't really micromanage them

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 Mon Sep 14 2020
my management or leadership cell, I would say, is definitely more off a leader than a manager. I used to be a very hands on micromanager early on when I started managing people about 15 years ago. But over the last 15 years, I have evolved to become a much less micromanager. I don't think that's the word. Micromanaging the leader there by goal, I think of has primarily is very clear articulation of vision, long term vision, very clear articulation off the next 12 to 18 months strategy and very clear understanding between the leaders that worked for me as to how each of their arms, they're going to drive towards a strategy and then day to the execution. It's not really the execution, but processes and reviews. For example, I need weekly business reviews. I do product reviews for new product launches, and there's a bunch of reports I expect each of my team to send out on a weekly and monthly basis. So that's the operational cases of execution and the framework that I put into place, uh, the I think to be honest, I realized that my my take on learning anything, whether it's management or any new thing is that you get 10% from its A 10 30 10 to 10 30 60 or 10 2070 Approach, which is 10% is from reading. I remember I got I bought. I bought it. When I first became a manager in 2004 I was like, Oh my gosh, I'm becoming manager I bought a HBR had, like, a thing on a guide for managers or something. So I got this 10 or $15 book Attman Airport, I think. And I read all of it two times and I said, I know I know how to your manager but that was only 10% of what is really needed. 20 person was actually observing other managers. I started observing my own manager, how they interact with me as well as other peers and really talk talking to them. But 70% is by doing it by doing it by making you know mistakes. We're learning from failures, etcetera. So that's a 10 2070 rule where it says that almost for any skill, especially software skills like management or leadership, 10% is from watching lectures and reading books. 20 person is by mentorship and seeing other people in action, and unfortunately, 70% is by experiencing it, doing it yourself

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 Mon Sep 14 2020
Um, I tell my I tell my teams that if they have conflict, if they don't resolve it themselves, then I will need to get involved. And if I get involved, that will mean that I'll be making decisions without without enough information, and that's not going to be that might lead to a suboptimal decisions, so nobody really should want to get me involved as much as possible. So the number one thing I try to make sure is that people have all my reports and their teams have enough trust between each other and enough respect for each other. They can get into a room and talk about it without becoming personal. I think the other thing you want to make sure is with the conflict. Many times the root cause is unclear, so I try to operate from what is called first principles. When I tried to really get to the root of the problem or route of the cost, if I get involved, so for example, I'll give you, I'll give you a simple example. It's not even about caviar at Doordash. We had the question off, whether a certain certain event, let's not get the event should become a company holiday. And, uh, when we asked the team which had proposed this, we said, Why should this become a company holiday? They said, Well, because the other Silicon Valley companies doing it. But that's not the first principle season. The first piece of reason is, well, it's because it's to celebrate a certain group ofpeople Okay, if that's the reason. But then you should ask, What are the other things we're doing to celebrate this group of people? It's a holiday, the right right way to celebrate it on DWhite. What, by giving this officer holiday? It turns out that the group you're trying to celebrate that group, most of the employees off that group, but actually going to be working because they were in customer support team, even if it is a holiday. So we really celebrating anything. And so I think trying to ask why is being a very powerful tool for me because it helps you get to the underlying cause. There's a there's a There's a I think there's a technique to problem solving called Five Eyes, which which came with Toyota, Where you asked why five different times five times like, Oh, your car is not starting. What is your understanding? Because the batteries are working wise, but not because the acid League why did the Acid League because it was left outside. I was left out because I didn't do preventive maintenance or something like that. And the root causes typically, you know, a business process or something that people haven't thought deeply about. And you really want to get to that underlying root cause on get everyone on the same page. And this is the root cause we need to solve because many times conflicts over the symptoms versus about the root cause. So really my problem solving methods to try to ask why as many times as Castle on both sides. I've seen this happen many times where there's a huge conflict at the company I worked with between product marketing and product management around pricing, and they both wanted to price the same product differently when I got involved and I started asking why, it turns out that the fundamental goals part of pricing were completely misaligned. The product marketing team thought that the goal of pricing was too increase market share by the product management team thought that the goal of the price pricing was to increase profits. And, of course, when the price to increase profits as the market share become a very different pricing approaches. And so that's the that was the feeling of the CEO because they haven't articulated clearly what the goal of the decision Waas and so many times that's the root of the conflict that the senior leader has an articulate, very clearly what the exact thing is we're trying to do. And so if things dramatically, clearly, everyone interprets it differently. That results in conflict because everyone comes with their own interpretation. So the leadership, it's really about its yeah, conflict really show systemic, false and leaders, I think, unfortunately, and and they're not clear enough about what the constraints are, what the goal is, what the guardrails, etcetera, that cost of their teams to turn and have conflict

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 Mon Sep 14 2020
Yeah, I think this is an interesting question around Recognition of work, to be honest at at the best companies, uh, good work. Get recognized fast. The challenges that most companies are not are not at that level there. Just because you work it doesn't mean that it will be recognized. I think one way is to make sure that your manager is speaking up and watching out for you. And so the best managers, what they do is they don't take credit for work that their team does. They always shines spotlight on their teams. And so you wanna work for a person who shines the spotlight on them. If you end up working for a person who takes credit for work, you do and doesn't actually showcase your work. It's probably a good time to change managers. For example, I was lucky that I worked for a woman, Susan Roginsky, at Google. All five years I was at Google. She is now the CEO of YouTube, and she was excellent at giving me credit for things sometimes even that she had done. And I was. I had logic product called Google AdSense, but really it was her and Sergei brings idea. But I got a lot of credit for that because Susan, every time she would meet with Larry and Sergei would tell Tell them that Google has helped launch this product and has grown this products. I got five promotions in five years, and I was the public face of Google AdSense, and she basically said you should go into all the PR and do all the interviews with magazine support, even though she did a really critical role. And so I think to be honest, if your manager doesn't support it, you're screwed. Uh, sorry for the sorry for the bad word in some ways, but I think you've got to find a manager who is supportive because without your manager being aligned and and giving you credit and putting into place an environment where you get credit for your work, you're you're going to be kind off. Never recognized for your work

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.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
you know, at the highest level, you're held account of a profit and loss, all right. Or rather, you could see revenue, top line and bottom line. And so top line growth is the most important thing. Because in the silicon Silicon Valley growth is everything right? You're valued based on top line revenue growth. And bottom line is more to make sure you, you know, EBITDA growth comes after you are a mature company. Obviously you want to you want to keep making sure you're getting to profitability. But But the more important thing is, can you keep scaling your top line with good unit economics? So those are the two things I look for? Uh oh, I am graded on. Which is can I keep scaling my business, that avenue of my business, You know, doubling tripling every year as long as I can, while still having good unit economics, which means good gross margins, even by itself is not as it's also hard within the business. You need to know exactly what you even dies because you depend on many other people in the company and their costs are not truly added to your costs. So we just know the direct people are working on it, and, you know, you're kind of pseudo ebitda without the truth. The and so that's the metric I look for. But that's a top level metric, right? The one level lower metric is you want to understand for, for example, market. Is that caviar? How many orders today? Are you doing what your cost, brothers, or what your average order value and then how much you paid for for the for the career or the person to deliver the order? Because the three primary determined himself off and then underneath them is one more level of metrics. So I think the good thing, I Basically, if you just operate the top level, you'll miss the more subtle levels of detail. And so, over the last few years, as you learn the business, we've started instrument in the business at a very, very fine Gael level of detail because almost on a daily basis, I need to know something has gone wrong or something is not going as we thought it would be, because we need to correct it. Because revenue and profit are lagging indicators, not leading indicators. If a consumer turns of this consumer join in some part of the business. We may not even know until two weeks later, but we can't wait to two weeks. So there's a lot of dashboards that I used to basically on a daily ARLIE basis, even in some cases, to look to see what's going on in the business. So our analytics team is really important in making sure we understand five levels down one of the metrics we care about.

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 Mon Sep 14 2020
I two things I look for three things I should say one. Are they able to be hands on themselves, even though their leader I want someone who can lead, but also someone? If if situation calls for it, they could be hands on and they can jump in and do work themselves. And you'll be shocked as to how Maney leaders shy away from doing hands on work, didn't want to get their hands dirty. And so this could be as simple as if you're ahead of product. You still need to be a good product manager. If you're ahead of engineering applying for that role, you still have a good engineer, and you don't need to be the best engineer. But you certainly really good enough. Engineer our product manager, even after you spent 10 years managing mothers. So we will give you a question or a task that pertains to that individual discipline. You're gonna be managing second thing. I want to understand this. What did your basically giving your work project, which is this one? So what are your presentation and communication skills? Because that's a really important part, because in orderto lead a team you've got to communicate really well. And also to be part off the spirit group, you got to communicate really well. And the third thing is your references and back channel. So we really try to go and talk to people who have worked with them earlier and try to really, I think obviously the candidate will give their own references, which is fine, but the own references many times will say very good things about the candidate. So you've got really push hard to say. Okay, what would be a question like, Hey, what if you had to improve something about this candidate, what would it be? So you've got to get them to say, Like, what the what? The growth areas. This candy? Because everyone has areas of growth and development, right? Or another question like, where would you rank this candidate in the top five percentile? 10%. 25 percentile. So even the most favorably disposed references, if you ask them, a few of these questions will have to we'll have to like, say, Well, actually it was 25% and not five percentile or well, here's the idea of development and given it, Can you give an example. What do you think this person can do? Better. So you've got You've got to force them The ideal situation, of course, that you find people who worked with them that they haven't given us offenses. And then you just chatted them informally. Here. What do you think of this person? Are they a superstar? Why? Why what You know. Why did they leave the company? They were superstar. But the company let them go. Like what? The situation. So I think really trying to understand what the situation was that the last one or two companies is really powerful.

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 Mon Sep 14 2020
the two biggest ones that I feel, um, that I feel most proud off, I think are one launching Google. AdSense, which is the first major software product I had, was a product manager, Ron, and, uh, it was a, uh, abbreviated project because initially we started working on it in February of 2003 and we were going to continue launch it in September. But then Sergei Brennan was a co founder of Google, came and said when he presented him, he said, No, you gotta launched in June, June 22,003 and so that basically cut our timeline by four months, and we had to scramble to figure out what features to cut. We can launch in four months from February June. We managed to do it. We managed to launch a product. It became one of the fastest products going products in Google, and so that was a very proud moment for me. The other part moment is when I articulated square strategy. I joined in 2013 Square Waas, primarily a payments company. It was trying to figure out how to move beyond payments to create a suite of products, and so the first two or three months, I spent understanding the product, understand Australia, understand the people and then came up with their strategy that I articulated and presented in front of the whole company as to what our vision should be, what our strategy should be for the next 12 to 18 months and what products we should build. And very proud of that. Because Jack Dorsey, who was the CEO of my boss, he referred to that as a founding moment for square company can have many founding moments, not just when it's founded, like a time when you really the company, I think, was trying to figure what next. And I'm proud that I was able to help in helping the company figure what next And of course, the $70 billion company. So very excited with those two, those two parts off my career, those two times in my career

What information, statistics, or slide deck do you like to see in a founders' first email?

Based on experience at: Investor and Advisor, Various
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
very, very in general. I you know, it's hard for me to I get so many emails that I prefer to go with Warm intros versus intro, where somebody already knows me makes an intro to an entrepreneur versus a cold email from an entrepreneur. Very rarely do I have invested only once in my life in a cool you, actually, twice in a cold email on that email. Better be really compelling in terms off, Be crisp and compelling. Not, I don't want, like a like 100 page book. I want a crisping off. Who are you? What problem are you solving? Why that's a big problem to solve important problem and why you the right person to solve this problem? Why are you? I think I look a lot for founder. Market fit Founder Market Fit is where the founder has unique, non obvious insights into the problem they're solving. You know, worse. It is just me. I'm a smart person. If you tell me a problem. I can probably read on the Internet for one or two weeks and come with some some pieces on the problem, but I want somebody who's much goes much deeper beyond that and come with something that's not just a random, smart person. Can't just spent two weeks on TechCrunch and something like that and come within sight. So I look for non obvious insights the founder has, which would say Why, why? They're the right person attacking the problem. And then why now? Why is now what is it about now that makes it with the pandemic? Obviously, there's a lot of wine now about things like video conferencing and, you know, virtual conferences and stuff like that. Even what we're doing now, we're basically couldn't probably have done earlier in some ways the tools and technologies. But, yeah, those are the things that look for the deck itself is not as important as as these for almost in bullets in a crisp email.

Can you walk us through the due-diligence process, and metrics you look for? What are the steps and a timeline from a founder's first email to cutting out a check?

Based on experience at: Investor and Advisor, Various
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
would say that four seed companies, which, which is we're very typically invest. Uh, they don't have many times a product they might have a product might have one or two customers, so a lot of diligence to spend on the founder themselves. Like I said, it's a person it's trying to understand, trying to spend a lot of time, but the person on their vision on on the founding story, I spent a lot of the first question I always ask us, What's your founding story? Why are you starting this company? If your answer is well, my friend and I got together in a room, and then we brainstormed a bunch of ideas, and this is the idea that stuck out. That's the wrong answer for me. I want you to tell me that this is something you got toe. Got to think about seven years ago when we're working at your previous job, or five years ago or two years ago and you couldn't You can't sleep at night because there's a problem that's knowing that you and your starting this company to solve this problem. And so I want to follow to be something you thought of what really deeply, and it's knowing that you and that's that's the kind of found that I want to back. So that's the most of my diligence. To be honest is not based on numbers. Everyone can make up numbers who you know. It's more based on the founder and then, secondly, the market. So I tried to talk to experts about the market, tried to talk to customers potential customers about the market. Try to understand, especially when you're selling B two b solutions, uh, to to companies Cos only by a solution. If it's one of the top three burning priorities, if you try to, like, convince them to convince them there's a priority, they're not gonna buy it. So I don't ask companies. When I have a few companies that I'm in touch with the CEO or C. T. O. R C s. I want to ask them, Do you want to buy this solution? I'll simply ask them What are your top three priorities? And if the top three parties, they tell me you're not mapping to any of the things that these companies offering or selling, I know that that's obviously not not gonna happen because you can't convince some of the change the top three priorities because you came up with the product, right? And so I try to understand the problems that they're facing versus trying to see how you will you buy this product companies product. So those are the two things that look for founder diligence. Trying to talk to people who worked with them before are they determine what's the top? A strength and weakness? Are there someone who are going to, you know, Can they attract strong people? I mean, one of the things I have seen is that some funds can be exceptional, but they just are unable to hire people. They just unable to hire people. And so looking to make sure they can actually hire good people because ultimately the company is not one person alone. It's a team. Is there evidence they've hired good people? People follow them, etcetera on. Then other determined are they do their founder marketing insights. And the second thing is, the market is the market is the time. Now are the companies so willing toe are excited about the problem. They're solving etcetera, so those are two things I look for

How can founders reduce the risk of product-market fit? What are the common mistakes that founders make and how can they avoid those?

Based on experience at: Investor and Advisor, Various
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
one must take the makers to put too much engineering work and effort into building a product and then looking for product market fit. I think the reality is you should you should basically understand whether there's one of the like I said on B two B products. Try to understand. Is this a problem? Really. Focus on the problem than the solution. If you're addressing the right problem solution, you can hydrate on. But you're not raising the right problem. It doesn't matter what solution you build. So I think the best way is to really understand one of the top three burning hair on fire problems that you target custom faces. And are you solving one off them? And that's and ultimately on the consumer. That's for me to be for consumers. To be honest, I think if your if your product is not addressing almost a Maslow's hierarchy kind of problem food, shelter, desire to be loved, you know there's like four or five problems, then it's a very challenging thing. That's why it's very hard for consumers. Seed companies. You get investment because we're all consumers. It's very hard for us to guess very hard for me to guess you're probably gonna be successful before it launches. So I try to avoid investing in consumer seed companies. I invest in consumer companies after they have proven that there is a small set of consumers who actually is excited about the product and use it every day. That's why the thing I look for for post launch companies is not revenue growth and so on its retention. When you get if you got 100 customers one month one month ago, how many of them are still with your product? If only 50 and then probably change, 50% have turned. That's a really bad sign. S O. I want to see, at least for consumer products. I wanted to at least 80 90% of still with your product. That itself is not that great because it was a 10% share in every month. In theory, after one year, you have joined a complete base. But there's a There's an a symptom where it's not like 10% every month that goes down. So ideally, you want to see where it very flattens out right after six months, is it like 10% of people are still there is a 50%. Hopefully, it's 50 60%. Netflix is 60% best of class, etcetera. So the retention is the primary metric that what one looks for. It's hard. It's a lagging metric for for founders is very hard. You don't know cos region on our Till the chain that takes months to figure out. So that's right. That's what a few. It's a. It's a hard I do the consumer companies of the hardest because it's it's it's impossible to know ahead of time. Who would have known that Ticktock would have grown so fast that Instagram has succeeded? But bourbon tendencies and other companies similar company off all the photo sharing app is very hard to know, but B two b It's absolutely possible by by by really understanding what problem we're trying to solve, founders become too fixated on the solution versus making water on the right problem.

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts in each of your college programs?

Based on experience at: MBA, MIT Sloan School of Management
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Sep 14 2020
degree. Help me, uh, computers to have to reason computer sends an MBA compressions Degrees helped me a feel more confident in dealing with engineers Help working with engineers because of my jobs. All my jobs that would have been an engineer worked with them and it helped me get respect from engineers by MBA helped me build confidence in myself that I know how to take an unstructured problem and put structure around it. Because prior to my MBA, I was an engineer and I thought very linearly. Given a problem, I would basically go and solve the problem. The MBA, by exposing me to various case studies and just various ways of thinking, just made me more confident that not only could I solve a more open ended problem, but I could myself figure out what problems to solve. And I think that's ultimately, as you grow up in the leadership chain, your old goes from solving a well different problem to solving a more open ended problem, to get the leadership, and it's filling out what problem to solve in the first place. And so that really helped begin confidence that I can take opening the problems and solve them to structure on the frameworks around them and solve them, which is not even solved because there are no right and wrong answers. I think as an engineer was very much like It's almost like a math problem is the right answer, the wrong answer. But as you know, in the world of business, there's no right or wrong answer. It's all degrees of gray, so I felt much more comfortable with these open ended problems. But there's no right or wrong answer. You just try to go get better. But there's no perfect. There's no like, you know, X equal to two. There's nothing like that. And so that's one of the second one is, you know, getting comfortable that that I can actually also figured what problems to attack and solve.