Skillful Digest (09/10/2021)

Community Newsletter

Welcome to the second issue of the Skillful Digest!

This is our round-up of community news, content that’s relevant to all of us and anything that can help us level up together.

In each issue, you can expect things like:

  • Highlights of the various wins our Skillfulers are racking up;
  • Round-ups of Slack threads, AMAs, fireside chats and more;
  • Outside content that’s relevant to the learning journeys in our community;
  • Upcoming events and other happenings at Skillful; and
  • Behind the scenes updates on what the Skillful team is building

As always, reach out if you have any feedback or if you’d like anything featured in here. Now onto the update 👇

Insights we’re pondering 💭

In our last update we spoke about Pete Huang’s approach to finding jobs in startupland. Namely to find sectors that interest you, and then build a pipeline of companies in those sectors.

Today we’ll talk about a slightly different approach. Luis interviewed Sri Batchu, Head of Growth at Instacart, for the latest episode of Need to Know. Sri’s take on a job search process - specifically that crucial first step into tech - was similar to Pete’s. With one major difference: Sri advises not to focus too much on sectors that interest you.

For Sri, it all boils down to motivation. While you might think that working in an area you’re passionate about - say, food, auto or media - will keep you laser focused on succeeding, the truth, he argues, is that there are far more important indicators of how much satisfaction you will derive from your day-to-day. These include:

  • How successful is the company going to be? Our take: this is extremely important, particularly if you’re joining a company right after product-market fit. That’s because you’re effectively entering into a deal: you’ll exchange one or more years of extremely hard work for rapid increases in responsibility (and experience) that you would rarely find anywhere else. The more successful the company becomes, the higher the likelihood that you will grow with it.
  • Who will you be working with? Our take: We definitely agree. The people you’ll be working with will have an inordinate degree of influence over your career path. This might be the single most important criterion to optimize for.
  • What’s the mission of the company? Our take: Extremely important, both for your own satisfaction and because this plays an important role in determining whether the company will succeed. Sri’s argument that the sector doesn’t actually have anything to do with the company’s mission is surprising, but he may have a point. DoorDash’s mission, for example, is to empower local communities and in turn, create new ways for people to earn, work, and thrive - it’s not strictly tied to food delivery, or even logistics. Whether you agree with Sri or not, this is a good reminder to take a step back and evaluate what mission you’d be working toward beyond a mere suite of products.


Our interpretation is less that the sector doesn’t matter, and more that there are more important indicators worth looking for. We’re onboard with that! Sri has many other tips for career-building, including how to use top tier VC portfolios to fill your top of funnel. Listen here 🎙

Skillfuler Spotlight 💡

Today we’re featuring Christian Keil. Christian is Chief of Staff at Astranis, a space satellite company based in San Francisco. He’s also the author of a fantastic weekly newsletter that covers all things at the intersection of business and technology, specifically in Silicon Valley.

Christian is constantly learning new things, and that really comes through in his writing. That’s probably why many of his posts deal with the facts, anecdotes and other material that Silicon Valley lore is made of. In a way, he’s documenting the intellectual history of one of the world’s most important centers of innovation.

Follow Christian or reach out to him if you’d like to learn more about deep tech, finding unique ways to break into tech or really anything else. We also interviewed him on Need to Know, our podcast, a few months back. Listen here.

Pictured above ^ Kris and Christian having some fun recording the episode 😎

Product strategy sprint - a few seats left 🪑

Still unsure if the Product Strategy Sprint is the right thing for you? Here’s a quick refresher 👇

  • Master key concepts for any Product role - user research, target personas, journey mapping and more!
  • Learn by doing - Eric and Thiago have created a case that simulates a typical project they’d tackle on-the-job
  • Unlimited access to your mentors - you’re not tackling this alone, you’ll be supported by the Skillful team for the full 4 weeks and more
  • Become part of our community- we’re an ambitious yet kind group of people who take pride in accelerating each other’s careers

Skillfuler gratitude 🤝

We want to make it easier for you to connect with fellow Skillfulers. To that end we have an exciting announcement for our community members 🥁

  • We’ve hidden one easter egg - literally an 🥚- in the Skillful directory (if you haven't created a profile, Slack Laura). Have a go at finding it + connect with a new Skillfuler while you're there. Message Laura on Slack with the exact coordinates of the egg - we have gifts waiting for those that do :)



Skillfuler wins 🥇


Congratulations to the Skillfulers who just wrapped up the first ever Growth Marketing Sprint, which was created and run by Kareem!


We also celebrated some hiring announcements:

  • Lucas (Core Program Summer’21) landed a role on the New Verticals team at DoorDash 🏃
  • Jessica Choi (Core Program November’21) recently started as Operations Manager at Borrowell 💸
  • Sam Wong (Core Program November’21, Growth Sprint Cohort 1) is moving to Istanbul to join Kunduz, a fast-growing YC-backed edtech startup ✏️ Sam was one of the Skillfulers who just wrapped up the inaugural Growth Marketing Sprint

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


Here’s a clip of Sam playing the role of Head of Growth at DesignTools 👆

Job Opportunities 💼

  • Uber is hiring Strategic Operations Managers across both Rides and Eats. Reach out to Wafic if you’re interested.
  • Initialized Capital is hiring a Strategic Operations Lead.
  • Notion is hiring for its Business Operations team.
  • Teamflow is hiring a Customer Success Manager. Reach out to Alon if you’re interested.

One (fun) last thing 🐶

Alex Vinden’s team from the Spring’21 Cohort of the Core program met up IRL! We felt a pang of envy, to be sure, but we’re also happy they got to meet ❤️

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.


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