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Beverly Parenti and Chris Redlitz are the co-founders of The Last Mile, an organization that aims to break the cycle of incarceration by providing education and career training opportunities in prisons. Founded in 2010 at San Quentin State Prison, The Last Mile has become one of the most requested prison education programs in the United States. Chris Redlitz is also...

Academic faculties continue to poorly represent the diversity of the student population, observes Carbon founder and executive chairman Joe DeSimone. It’s just one example of the lack of representation in the American technology and innovation ecosystem. It takes relentless leadership, he says, to make diversity front and center. Diversity, he adds, may create discomfort. But that very difference provides the...

Carbon founder and executive chairman Joe DeSimone describes how Carbon expanded 3D printing from a mostly niche prototyping technology into a legitimate manufacturing platform. A number of consumer products, particularly an Adidas shoe with a Carbon-printed midsole, helped the company scale toward applications like football helmets, bike seats, car parts, and dentures.

If 3D printing is going to be a big industry, says Carbon founder and executive chairman Joe DeSimone, it needs to think ahead of time about environmental stewardship. He describes how a “reversible thermoset” reaction might allow the company to collect, chemically digest, and re-use raw materials.

As the dental side of Carbon’s business dramatically slowed with the onset of COVID-19, the team asked how their customers might use Carbon’s 3D printers and resins to keep employees busy and help local communities. Carbon founder and executive chairman Joe DeSimone describes how the company and its partners were able to quickly begin manufacturing face shields and FDA-approved nasalpharyngeal...

Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone co-founded Carbon in 2013 and served as the company’s CEO until being named Executive Chairman in 2019. As CEO, Joe grew Carbon from a small team of scientists and engineers into an over 400-person global company valued at almost $2.5 billion that is defining the digital revolution in manufacturing. Previously, as a professor at the University...

In the early days of Facebook, when it was exclusively a social network for college students, the user interface was in constant flux. And young early adopters appreciated that cascade of new features and improvements, says Inspirit co-founder Julie Zhou, who scaled the Facebook app from 8 million to over 2 billion users as the company’s VP of design and...

Facebook Creative Labs released numerous standalone apps. Often, the best parts of those apps were infused into the main Facebook app. In many cases, though, the apps themselves disappeared. Inspirit co-founder Julie Zhou, who scaled the Facebook app from 8 million to over 2 billion users as the company’s VP of design and research, explains the logic behind this failure...

Julie Zhuo is the co-founder of Inspirit, and also the author of The Making of a Manager, a field guide for new managers that was named one of Amazon''s Best Business and Leadership Books of 2019. A turning point in her career as a manager, she says, was realizing that it wasn’t her job to always know the best way...

Julie Zhuo is the co-founder of Inspirit, an advisory firm that partners with fast-scaling tech companies to build and scale products that people love. Prior to founding Inspirit, she was the VP of design and research for the Facebook app, where she helped scale the service from 8 million users to over 2 billion. She is also the author of...

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom advises aspiring entrepreneurs to ask themselves two fundamental questions: “What problem am I solving?” and “How broad is that problem?” The answers to those two questions, he finds, often separate the small, personal projects from the ventures that have a shot at becoming successful companies.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom attributes his startup’s success to having a team of people with “wide apertures;” that is to say, coworkers with a broad view of where technology was headed. Having a strong and knowledgeable team, he has found, allows you to pivot quickly and avoid the stumbles that cause startups to fail.

When asked what he studied in school that set him up for success, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom singles out the field of decision analysis. Understanding the concepts of “expected value” and “variance,” he observes, fundamentally impacted the way he makes decisions. He adds that “expected value” is about much more than money; decision analysis can also help you optimize for...

Fire Yourself

ecorner1 month ago

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, observes that his role at Instagram grew and shifted constantly as the venture scaled. To build a productive and scalable organization, he continues, you need to be willing to effectively fire yourself from certain duties, and replace yourself with someone better. This tactic allows leaders to leverage their output, while also learning from colleagues that...

In the absence of a single clear metric to track COVID-19, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger pulled together a team of engineers, designers and statisticians to create Rt.live. This dashboard focuses exclusively on a single metric: the virus’s effective reproduction rate. By displaying the estimated effective reproduction rate for each state, the team hopes to better inform states...

Successful new ventures can emerge in good times and bad times. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, cites Google as an example of a startup persevering right through the dot-com crash. Instead of looking for the macroeconomic “right time,” he suggests that entrepreneurs figure out what the right time is for them, and develop the appropriate set of skills and connections...

When Kevin Systrom first visited ETL in May 2011, Instagram had just launched the previous October. He and co-founder Mike Krieger spoke about how, as two young Stanford alums, they leveraged their education in engineering and entrepreneurship to create an unexpectedly viral photo-sharing app, then navigated the first eight months of rocket-like growth. Almost a decade later, he returns to...

BetterUp CEO and co-founder Alexi Robichaux traces the origin of BetterUp to two interests that have been with him since high school: coding and peer-to-peer coaching. He describes how a period of burnout led him to envision a digital solution that would blend the expertise and rigor of clinical psychology with the business context of executive coaching.

Elite performers such as professional athletes and Navy Seals, observes BetterUp CEO and co-founder Alexi Robichaux, manage short bursts of stress by building in robust recovery mechanisms. Those fields can provide useful models for entrepreneurs. Robichaux advises entrepreneurs to build their own framework of support and recovery.

BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux jokes that the company’s initial business model led to “the worst app ever built.” Humbled by that mistake, he and co-founder Eddie Medina pivoted BetterUp by returning to their original gut instinct: connecting professional coaches directly to consumers. That decision, in turn, led to another major insight. By pursuing an enterprise model rather than a consumer...

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