Some thinking I’ve done on how to do hiring

Below is an email I sent out to everyone at Infer in August of 2016. I’ve made some changes to clarify terms that the general public might not understand. Read only the bold sentences if you want a summary.


A little over a year ago Yang [one of the cofounders at Infer] asked me my opinion on the hiring process for the Data Analyst position, and I didn’t have a thorough answer at the time, but I said I would think about it. I have a tendency to take a long time to think something through, but when I’m done I usually feel like I have a crystal-¬≠clear answer. And I think that is what has happened in this case: I feel like I have a crystal¬≠-clear answer on how to think about hiring.

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Problems that prevent routine white-collar tasks from being automated as a service

Recently I had a serial-entrepreneur acquaintance send me a form email for a new company he’d started with six others that aims to automate all routine tasks that white-collar workers have:

I have a quick question: When you hear the phrase: “Annoying business processes”, what comes to mind for you?

My company automates these processes. We can handle anything (anything!) that can be turned into a set of instructions. Even if the instructions contain complex logic — we’re totally custom. Even if the labor required would normally take hundreds of hours — it’s the same price.

I responded:

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An email to a friend with some ideas for creating a repeatable sales/growth process

Here’s an email I recently sent to a Stanford/HLS-grad friend of mine who started a delivery company that sells to individuals and businesses. He’s currently trying to figure out a repeatable sales/growth process. Because his product involves physical delivery, he’s aiming to target groups of businesses that are within close proximity of each other (eg in a strip mall / office park). As with Box/Dropbox, he can sign up one person at a company and then try to get that person to sign up others. I’ve made some clarifying edits and removed some identifying information.

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How to Read Business Biographies

Here’s an email I recently sent to someone who is interested in starting a business within the next few years; he had asked me if I had any advice from having read a bunch of business (auto)biographies:

I’ve attached a list of some of the books I’ve read since graduating college. Note: I haven’t read all of those books cover-to-cover, but I only included books on that list where I read the “meat” of the book. I’ll explain:

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