The Commons Digest (10/22/2021)

The COmmons Insider Newsletter

Welcome to the fifth issue of The Commons digest!

This is our bi-weekly round-up of community news, relevant content and anything that can help us level up together. As always, reach out if you have any feedback or if you’d like anything featured in here. Now onto the update 👇

Sentiments we’re pondering 💭

Today we want to talk about the phrase “bias for action.” Specifically what it is and why tech companies look for this quality in candidates. Those of you who work in tech have probably thrown the phrase around a million times. Those who are recruiting have certainly heard it too. But what does it mean?

The basic idea is that you should complete your work as quickly as possible in order to maximize learning and reduce waste. That product you’re thinking of shipping next week? See if you can get it into the hands of customers this week instead. That sales call you’ve been prepping for with endless research? Try setting up an informal prep call with an internal champion to save yourself the time. That model the CFO asked for? Send it to her with some questions outstanding so that the end product is that much better.

As far as business slogans go, “move fast and break things” is pretty controversial. But to be clear, the idea is NOT to mislead or ignore the impact that your actions can have on stakeholders (i.e. Theranos lying about its technology). Rather, it’s to move quickly in your work so that you can do a better job co-creating with these stakeholders, for example shipping product updates early so that your customers can tell you what they actually need:

If you work faster, you’ll learn faster. And ultimately accomplish more.

Strategic business professionals are amazing thinkers; that’s partly what makes you capable of adding value to a company’s strategy. But in spite of this gift, or maybe even because of it, you can almost always benefit from asking yourself if you’re moving fast enough in your work. Whether that means an interview take-home, a product to ship or even starting your own thing, odds are that you can speed it up :)

Community Spotlight 💡

This is an extremely special spotlight for us… Today we’re featuring Alex Palmer, a long-standing mentor at The Commons, and, as of last week, Skillful’s Head of Growth!  🙌🚀Alex began her career in strategy consulting, where she worked with companies in industries spanning Energy, Healthcare, and Financial Services. She then joined Uber, where she worked as a Senior Strategy & Operations Manager, owning the company’s Airports, Venues & Events and new products verticals.

More importantly, Alex has been a longstanding mentor at The Commons, where she has been absolutely adored in the community. Alex has already had a huge impact on The Commons from shaping her mentees' careers to providing many ideas for our programs & growth. We’re so lucky to have someone who knows The Commons so well and who is extremely talented believe in us enough to join full-time 🚀 In case you haven't yet interacted with her, Alex is super bright, hard-working, scrappy, creative, empathetic and caring.

How cool is it that a mentor is now a teammate at The Commons?! Such a great example of the community we're building, with your help. This is a major pinch-me moment for our team!  

Fall’21 Core Applications Close Today

Today is the last day to apply for the next cohort of our Core Program, which begins on October 30th! This will be our 12th cohort, and the last one of 2021.

Forward the application to a friend, have them include your name as a referral, and they’ll go to the front of the line. They’ll also receive a 30% community scholarship if accepted into the program. And, to show our gratitude, we'll send you a gift of your choosing from our new merch shop 🙏

Events @ The Commons 📆

  • Tuesday October 21, 2021: Yesterday we held our primer on Strategic Finance roles in tech, led by mentors Sean (Alto/Uber) and Callum (Wealthsimple). Check out our Instagram for the 5 categories of StratFin roles they broke down. Sean & Callum will be leading a Strategic Finance Sprint in January! Email or DM Loren (loren@joinskillful.com) to learn more about the Project (hint it’s based on “____ and chill”)🍿
  • Wednesday October 27, 2021: We’re hosting TWO 🤯primers in anticipation of new Sprint drops coming very soon 👀👀 Friends of The Commons are welcome to join. Folks who sign up for the Primers will get front line access to the limited spots in each Sprint (less than 20 spots per Sprint)
  • A Primer on Product Operations led by mentors Wafic El-Assi (Uber Eats) and Marco Chan (Shopify). Product Ops is a fast-growing role that combines Product & Ops. It’s happening at 12 noon ET / 9am PT. Register here!
  • A Primer on Growth Marketing led by mentors Kareem Azees (Houzz) and Jill Whitehead (Jobber)! It’s happening at 8pm ET / 5pm PT. Register here!
  • Earlier this week, some alumni from the August 2021 cohort held an IRL meetup! Shoutout to Megan Jones for organizing this! We love when alumni take their connections offline ❤️

#community-wins 🥇

On Sunday, we wrapped up the inaugural Product Strategy Sprint, led by mentors Thiago Silva and Eric Liou 🥳

Here's a glimpse of the PS Sprint in numbers.... 👀

  • 20+ user interviews conducted by our Sprinters
  • 14 amazing Sprinters 🚀 made up of Core Sprint alums and new community members 👋
  • 3 interactive, content-packed workshops on topics spanning from User Personas to JTBDs to North Star Product Metrics
  • 2 office hours with our 2 mentors, Eric & Thiago
  • 1 final Product Strategy roadmap on EdTech companies like Lambda School, Podia, Prodigy, The Commons (😳) and Leland

We also celebrated some hiring announcements:

  • Anna Smilow (Core Program, August 2021) recently joined Mealco as a Partner Implementation Manager in New York City 🍜
  • Lynn Durrant (Core Program, Spring 2021) started a role in Strategic Ops at Uber in Washington DC 🚗
  • Angeline Huynh (Core Program, August 2021) joined the Customer Success team at Sensei Labs
  • Allan Mariano (Mentor) joins Shopify next week to lead BizOps for their Core Product 💳

Please be sure to reach out to them with a word or two of congratulations!

Job Opportunities 💼

  • Faire is hiring a Product Strategy & Analytics associate in San Francisco
  • Wealthsimple is hiring a BizOps Manager for the Regulatory team. DM us if you’re interested - we can connect you
  • Cameo is hiring a BizOps & Strategy Lead - GTM
  • Yuhu is hiring a Head of Business Operations - DM Almog if interested
  • Uber is hiring for multiple positions in Strategy & Operations on the Rides team. DM Alex Palmer or Julie-Anne if interested
  • NEO Financial is hiring for multiple roles in Product - DM Loren if interested
  • Lyft is hiring for the Healthcare Strategy Team in San Francisco - DM Michele Yuen if interested

Head on over to #job-openings in our Slack community to see more openings like these!

One (fun) last thing

Watch Holly Lin (Core Program, Spring 2021) describe that glow up one gets after moving into her dream job, on her mentor at The Commons, Alex Vinden's team at Instawork:

Check out the post here

That’s all for this issue ✌️ If you’d like to access more news and content before the next update, you can hop on over to Slack. P.S. please give us a follow on Instagram - we’re bringing the community to your IG scroll :)

Interested in more?
The Commons Digest (02/10/2022)
The COmmons Insider Newsletter
The Commons Digest (02/10/2022)
Everything going on in the community including a member spotlight on Gurmee Sodhi, BizOps at Uber.
The Commons Digest (02/25/2022)
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The Commons Digest (02/25/2022)
Everything going on in the community including a member spotlight on mentor, Max Nimaroff, GM at Uber.
The Commons  Digest (11/18/2021)
The COmmons Insider Newsletter
The Commons Digest (11/18/2021)
Just. Get. Started. That’s one of our biggest takeaways from Christian Keil’s excellent profile of Packy McCormick from a few weeks ago. Packy is of course the author and creator of Not Boring, a business strategy and trends newsletter that has evolved into a community, investing syndicate, job board and VC fund.
Skillful is now The Commons.
We’re more than just skills training. We're the place where high achievers come to fulfill their career potential. We combine education, mentorship and community to empower the next generation of ambitious professionals to achieve their career goals.
The time to build the education institution of the future is now. And we're doing it.

Careers are catalyzed through skills-training, mentorship and a supportive network. At The Commons, we're delivering those critical career elements together through learning experiences that are social, mentorship-based and community-first.

Join to learn and stay for the community.