PBTO Season 2: EP01: Future of Work with Andy Tryba

Opening music credits goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is he on the show: 
In the first episode of the new season, we host Andy Tryba. He is the CEO of Ride Austin, EngineYard and Crossover.com
Why is he on the show:
Andy has spent the last 15 years as CEO of multiple successful startups and is currently running three startups. One of them is a very interesting social experiment and has a very interesting approach to running his other two startups as well. He has built a product that already provides glimpses of how the future of work might unfold.   
What do we talk about:
In this wide ranging conversation, we talk about: 
– How he transitioned from the corporate world to getting a job at the Whitehouse and then to become an entrepreneur
– Having some corporate experience vs becoming an entrepreneur right off of our college
– His learning from being part of a large corporate and the White House. 
– Creating a local ride sharing app and competing with the cash rich Uber/Lyft and what he is learning from that experience
– Running a business as a non-profit (so they can pay their drivers much more), open data (sharing all kinds of data to allow people to find insights around mobility services) & engage with the community (by enabling their customers to contribute to charities)
– How economic theory & reality are not really congruent with each other
– Dynamics of competition (Uber and Ola) and throwing money at customer acquisition & what to do when you can’t compete against the money
– Changing the competitive landscape (hyper-local, community driven)
– Books from Dan and Chip Heath (Made to Stick & The Power of Moments) and some of the learnings from these books and how he has integrated them in his business. 
– Why it is difficult to gain customer attention 
Crossover.com and the thinking behind the business (All high skill jobs will go to the cloud) 
– Why he thinks that “There is no such thing as a talent shortage!”
– Going International doesn’t mean going cheap
– How it is possible to hire the Best 1% of people in the world (doing rigorous testing to finding the best of the best) 
– Why Format of the resume is almost 500 years old and why resume + interview is not the best way to recruit people. 
– Future of work is about Awesome teams on the cloud, great playbooks, create a platform to provide regular feedback so the teams can get better 
Crossover.com is like a Fitbit for work
– The importance of doing Deep Work (as advocated by Cal Newport) 
– The importance of coaching to get to our peak performance & the data that provides the insight for this level of coaching
– The thinking that went behind building Crossover.com.
– What can we learn from professional athletes and bring them into our work environment
– The effect of cognitive residue on our performance
– How does he balance his time and focus among the three startups that he runs? 
– Where do you bleed time? 
– What would he do differently, if he were to start off again
– What is so obvious to him now, that people miss all the time. 
Resources mentioned in the conversation: 
The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki, 
Deep Work by Cal Newport, 
Peak by Anders Ericsson, 
Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath
The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath
– Crossover platform (www.crossover.com
How to connect with him: 
You can connect with via twitter (@AndyTryba or email andy@crossover.com)

PBTO53: Deep Work: How to do work that Matters with Cal Newport

Who is on the show:

In this episode we host, Cal Newport. He is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.

In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work.

Why is he on the show:

His most recent book, Deep Work, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace and that the ability to concentrate without distraction is becoming increasingly valuable. He previously wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a book which debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice, and three popular books of unconventional advice for students.

What are we talking about:

In this free-wheeling conversation, we talk about:

  • What is deep work? Why is it important to do deep work?
  • Why is Deep work the killer app for the information economy?
  • His own practice of deep work and how it has helped him in his own work..
  • How he doubled his academic output with less hours to work and writing the book simultaneously and yet not take work home.
  • How does one go about learning to do deep work?
    • Conditioning: Tolerate or even bring some amount of boredom in your life.
    • Active training: Productive meditation. Take one professional problem and go for a walk and try to solve the problem.
    • Integrate in your schedule: Put an appointment with yourselves on your calendar to do deep work.
  • His own way of integrating deep work in his schedule.
  • Monk mode mornings for business leaders..
  • The quality of work = What you are working * How you are working on it?
  • How deep work is related to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people?
  • What could potentially derail your practice of deep work?
  • How we have allowed the communication tools to take over the actual work in organisations?
  • How does he learn and stay up-to-date?
  • How can deep work help entrepreneurs in their work…
  • How can entrepreneurs embrace and create a culture of deep work in their organisations?
    • Ratio of Deep work hours vs Non-deep work hours of work
    • No emails after work hours?
  • Who apart from himself has he seen do significant amount of deep work (Adam Grant)
    • How Adam builds his deep work practice
    • Examples of Businesses who are incorporating the principles of deep work in their culture
  • The work that he is most proud of…
  • Things that got left out of the book but he thinks is an important idea to spread..
  • What was the most difficult thing for him while writing this book?
  • What is his next project – the role of technology in our personal life (Digital Minimalism, future of knowledge work)
  • His thoughts on how behaviour altering products will evolve
  • His thoughts on how machines are doing deep work and men are doing more shallow work and what impact will it have in the future of work…
  • What is it that he thinks is so obvious but people miss and hence becomes non-obvious
  • His experience of running a business and what he learnt from it
  • Whats on his reading list
  • One of the books that had a big impact on him:
  • One thing that he can change how he works – Remove Emails from his life..
  • One thing that you can do immediately after you listen to this episode – Take an hour off and work on something important without any distractions.

How can you reach him:

As he indicates in the conversation, he has made it not so easy to reach him. You can find out how you can reach him and read his blog here.


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Think of it like the following – I will bring thought leaders to your door step and in return all I am asking is for you to spend just enough get us a cup of coffee.

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Best Among What I Read Today, The Personal Development Edition – Jan 3rd, 2017

In this edition of Best Among what I read, I would like to share some of the best content that I came across this week, from a personal development perspective.

Focus Is the New Currency of Success

In this post, Anthony Iannarino (who was on the podcast earlier) talks about the importance of where we focus and spend our attention and the impact that this can have on our lives. If there is only one thing that we could improve upon to make the biggest impact in our lives, it would be our ability to focus and do deep work.

You can read the full post here.

Your Body is Your Brain Too

In this post, the author of the Dilbert comics, Scott Adams argues that we dont just think with our brains but also with out body. He goes on to say

I realize that the concept I’m explaining is both obvious and radical at the same time. On one hand, you know from experience that your thoughts are directly influenced by what your body is experiencing. But because you also believe your brain is the special vessel of your free will, consciousness, and soul, you might believe the brain can also make its own independent decisions. It can’t. It is a computer that responds to inputs. Give it the right inputs and you’ll get the right outputs. And your body is the user interface.

You can read the entire post here.

Why You can Change the World

In this short video, the wonderful people who run “The School of Life” YouTube channel share a different perspective on History and share how each one of us, armed with the right perspective has the potential to create history.

You can watch this short video below.

Book recommendation of the Day:

I recently finished listening to the audio version of Cal Newport’s latest book – Deep Work.

We live in a constantly distracted world and are losing the ability to do real deep work. Cal shares with us the importance of doing such deep work and also shares tactics around how we can set ourselves to do deep work. Highly recommended.