🙋🏻‍♂️ An Aug 2022 Update

Job: I'm joining Reforge as a Product & Strategy Lead, a remote product role unlocking insights from those who've led scale in tech to build content, programs and products that help others use this expertise to do the best work of their careers. (LinkedIn announcement). 💼

Fellowship: I'm actively recruiting and aiming to finalize by the end of the month a second cohort for TMF. We're closing in on a good cohort across Africa, the UK and US of product and data fellows. 🎎

Career Journey: I made a reflection and behind-the-scenes slide deck that got a lot of traction and published it here on my website. (LinkedIn announcement). 🎬

 

I'm building credibility, expertise, new relationships playing long-term games with long-term people. I'm hoping to build the foundational financial engine for myself and my family.

Areas of Expertise: I've paused most of these engagements to allow for onboarding, but once I've calibrated, I plan to continue building on the side:

  • LXD for future of ed/work coaching/consulting/collaborations 👨🏻‍💻 (have completed 3 engagements, 1-2 still ongoing) 

  • TMF career fellowship for ICs in tech who want to level up 📈 (actively recruiting and finalizing cohort 2, as mentioned above) 

  • PLT for product coaching for individuals and teams 📱 (working to land our first client) 

  • Sharing my expertise and building an audience via my website, medium, substack, linkedin, email 📣

Personally: I moved back to the US with my wife after five years in South Africa 🇿🇦, and we're expecting our first so becoming a dad is a big topic on mind, which I recently have broken down into:

  • Supporting A New Mother

  • Understanding Our Newborn (son in our case)

  • Parenting a Newborn --> Onwards

  • Childhood Development Lens (e.g., Montessori and Regio Emilia) 

  • Communicating and Building Strong, Thriving Relationships As Parents

  • Stuff We Will Need

  • Navigating (Cross) Cultural Identities and Intersectionality


Legacy: Two topics I'm not sure how to express tangibly yet but am reading and thinking about that might tie into my eventual focus include

  • building a school/practice/way of thought, learning, healing, being that helps transform people

  • exploring my Chinese American identity, and the larger zeitgeist around Asian American dialogue, identity, opportunities, and ramifications of the geopolitical dynamics btw a waning and rising superpower 

[ARCHIVED] 📣 An Update as of Apr 2022

It's a wrap: we just finished running a 6-week pilot fellowship with 17 product, design, engineering (PDE) and data talent from 5 countries 🇧🇷🇨🇴🇰🇪🇿🇼🇺🇸, where we helped nearly all of them achieve some transformational outcomes. My cofounder Karen Sun and I care deeply about these resources being available for anyone so we have organized and published them open source with access to the full curriculum: the frameworks, content and worksheets we created & shared during the fellowship on

  1. contemplation & strengths

  2. overcoming imposter syndrome

  3. improving communication & facilitation

  4. planning your role & career (with special emphasis on roles in tech)

  5. becoming a life long learner

  6. exploring leadership styles

Taught product at African Leadership University and soon teaching at General Assembly helping talent at Disney reskill into Product! Looking forward to this experience, especially against the backdrop of the global need for upskilling and reskilling

Doing product development consulting (especially at my favorite stage, the ambiguous and messy and super fun 0 --> 1) with organizations from established folks like Teach For America's Reinvention Lab to early stage startups like With Wellness. 

Working on new startup ideas in talent and future of work and increasingly itching to try something in blockchain/web3/nft. For the future of work idea, next steps are:

  1. Synthesizing and finalizing the company and product vision, and capturing via a pitch deck 

  2. Completing the next MVP/MVT experiment 

  3. A talent recruitment & development tech tools survey akin to the beautiful and informative survey run by UX Tools 

👋🏼✉️ Reach out if any of this sounds intriguing and you'd be interested in collaborating!

[ARCHIVED] 📢 An Update as of Oct 2021

I am currently focused on: 

 

1) 💼💻 Finding opportunities to build and grow products customers love. 

2) 🏗📈 Building businesses that deliver impact and profit. 

3) 💰🥋Backing entrepreneurs by investing capital, leveraging networks and coaching (product, growth and leadership) 

At The MBA Fund, we invest up to $50,000 in pre-seed and seed stage companies. If you are an entrepreneur raising capital and a student or alumni of Penn, Harvard or Stanford, feel free to reach out!
 

Industries of interest: 

  • future of education & work

  • talent & workforce development

  • productivity

  • developer training & tooling (incl. low / no-code)

  • product & product design

  • passion economy, online creators, & community

  • fintech & e-commerce

  • productivity

In the last 12 months: 

1) Product Leader

a) At the African Leadership Group (brands: ALX and The Room):

- I joined as a Senior Product Manager growing an online developer training program from 100 person cohorts every 6 months to 1,000 person cohorts every 2 months, generating over $5.0 million in revenue.

- I was promoted to Group Product Manager and Director of Placements building our v1 of our talent marketplace for connecting African youth to job opportunities. One of our biggest successes was placing 8 talented youth from across Africa with Amazon Web Services in London, thereby transforming their lives.

b) Products I'm currently obsessed with include:  
Productivity: 📄Notion | 〽️ Miro | ⚙️ Roam | 🌩 Clover  
Learning: 📚 Growth.Design Product Case Studies

2) Entrepreneur
a) 🎒🇿🇦 1st: I served on the Board for a school network that I cofounded that grew to 350 students Grades K-6. We teach coding and were invited to join the global Scratch Education Collaborative in 2021.
b) 👩🏻‍💻👩🏾‍💻 2nd: I started building a community and 6 week experience to empower experienced software engineers to get to the next career level, whether as a lead or manager.

3) Investor 

  • Helped recommend a fintech company (Hopscotch) founder for an opportunity to find a technical cofounder (✅ an MBA Fund investment

  • Helped The MBA Fund source and diligence:

  • Boost Technology, a fintech & ecommerce company founded by a 2x fintech founder building the Shopify for Africa's informal retail entrepreneurs 

    • 🌱 ​currently raising a seed round (as of Oct 2021)

    • not an MBA Fund investment

  • FlutterFlow (YC W21), a tool for making building apps a breeze

    • ✅ an MBA Fund investment 

  • Financial Choice (YC S21), a fintech company that gives consumers the power to invest their checking account funds for market returns while retaining instant cash access

    • ✅ an MBA Fund investment

  • HiHome, a real estate tech company (backed by among other Global Founders Capital, Bain Ventures and General Catalyst)

    • ❌ not an MBA Fund investment 

  • Teamble, an HR tech company giving teams super powers to grow professionally through feedback and continuous development 

    • ❌ not an MBA Fund investment

[ARCHIVED]🧢 My Recap for 2020

Some milestones in 2020 that brought me the most pride and joy: 

💼 I started working with the African Leadership Group.

🏫  I transitioned from CEO to Board member at Streetlight Schools. 

🌱 I began seed investing w The MBA Fund in Penn, Harvard, Stanford students & alumni

📝 I published 20,000+ words across 14 Medium posts, becoming a top writer in Innovation. 

🎓 I started at Wharton for my MBA and completed the fall semester virtually from Johannesburg. (I also started a leave of absence shortly thereafter.) 
💪🏼 Inspired by Kumail Nanjiani's transformation, I ate over 300 chicken breasts, added 6.5 lbs of muscle mass and maxed squats at 220 lbs.

I also:

🏢 helped start two companies.

👨🏻‍🏫 ran an education unconference.

💡 conceptualized an Education Venture Studio.

👨🏻‍💻 explored the online course and broader edtech landscape.

✍🏼 undertook weekly reflections Mar-Sep (reverting to biweekly Oct-Dec). 

Some of my top hits on Medium:

  1. 📩 a letter to my past self reflecting on 2019 for Streetlight  

  2. 👁️ my vision for learning design 

  3. 🚗 the wild west of ride sharing 

  4. 📃 an open letter to Marc Andreessen 

  5. 🌍 emerging global opportunities for entrepreneurs 

  6. 🎯 living a life of purpose 

Some of my top hits on Twitter:

  1. 🔨 tools for investor updates 

  2. 💻 powerful learning experiences 

  3. 📰 hard won insights and lessons for building your newsletter 

  4. 📚 my favorite books / articles for ideas and the early stage of businesses 

  5. 💬 how to compose tweets that get traction 

Updated 30 June 2020

📷 cred: Lita

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[ARCHIVED] What I'm exploring & working on now 2020

2. Conceptualizing an  education institution to scale learning experienecs and outlive my life

4. Building, testing, iterating various education and startup ideas, including courses / communities / experiences for people in transitionary phases looking to unlock personal growth, MBAs, and seasoned education leaders

(a testimonial from one pilot below)

6. Connecting with and assisting entrepreneurs by serving as

a) a mentor at Startup Weekend UK, b) a judge at Milken PennGSE Edu Biz Plan Competition, and
c) education lead for BlockCOVID's Virtual Innovation Camp

d) joining Be On Deck's 4th Cohort

7. A post on Emerging Communities For Entrepreneurs Globally (and spaces to monitor for dealflow for angel investors and seed funds)

8. A letter I wrote to Marc Andreessen titled It's Time (To Empower People) To Build