Entries by matt

Open Office Hours: 2021 Diversity Report

Humans are habituation machines.  Once something becomes true for us, our brain starts incorporating it into our reality through selective attention and a variety of other cognitive biases, such that it is hard to remember a time when it wasn’t true. Take the internet. If you’re old enough, you might be able to dredge out […]

Applied Behavioral Science: A four-part model

I believe that behavioral science, correctly applied, can change the world. But, as with any emerging discipline, there is a period of self-definition in which people fight (with varying amounts of actual animosity) about who can claim what title and where the borders of the field are.  Personally, I’ve largely been uninterested in the debate […]

How not to deal with the world and work

Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, has been making some changes at the org and decided that they “deserve an announcement”. While worth reading in their entirety, the changes are geared around taking the challenges of leading a company and addressing them by promoting monoculture (in the veil of individualism; Jason would call it “being […]

How not to grow from 2 to 120+ people in < 18 months

Over the weekend, Fast’s CEO Domm Holland posted a short Twitter thread about growing from 2 to 120+ people in 18 months while maintaining “an exceptionally high talent bar” and offered some tips based on Fast’s hiring process.  But as I was reading the thread, I was struck by how many of the practices seemed […]

Meaning at work, cancel culture, and the employment crisis of perfection

Almost seven years ago, I gave a TEDx talk that would prove to be prophetic.  The focus was on trying to resolve two seemingly irreconcilable facts: that many new college graduates were unemployed and yet there were abundant job openings for college graduates with no experience.  My explanation was one of expectations: that because college […]

Team design, TMNT-style

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Spice Girls.  Cowboy Bebop.  Epic squads make for great storytelling.  But the reason they’re compelling is essentially the same: optimum distinctiveness. When we think about identity, everyone is trying to find a balance between uniqueness and belonging.  Good squad-based narratives play on this by balancing a central uniting theme that differentiates […]

What to ask a company during your interview

(I’m vocal in my support of the work First Round Capital has done to help the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem and the First Round Review is a big part of that. When they asked me for thoughts about what candidates should be asking in their interviews, I sent the below; the finished article, with tips from […]

My college admissions essay: Swarthmore, ’05

(I was talking with a mentee about her sister’s admissions essay for college and she asked if I would share mine. And so I’m doing that publicly, because the world is better with transparency; as a first-gen student, I didn’t have access to examples and might have done better if I did. For context, this […]