Interviewing internally, I was asked today one of the best interview questions I’ve ever gotten:
What is the first-year unit forecast of [hypothetical product] in the UK? I will give you any data you ask for but if it takes you more than one sentence to explain how you got to your forecast, you got it wrong.
I’ve never been asked so succinctly how I’m going to deal with ambiguity, dive deep into data, invent and simplify, have a bias for action, and get it right. It’s a perfect question because the best roles require you do all of these things quickly, say in the 10 minutes toward the end of a job interview.
Anonymous asked: Love your blog! I don't have a tumblr but I keep up with yours. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Any advice for a kid in his sophomore year of college?
I’m between meetings at work so here’s my advice in the 3 minutes until my next meeting:
I went to Boise State University and studied French. I chose French because I already spoke the language after a year in Paris when I was 18. This allowed me to skip most the prerequisites and earn my degree in 4 years while working. This was before the financial crisis when it was still possible to get almost any entry-level job with a liberal arts degree so I focused on finishing quickly rather than getting a practical education.
You live in a different world but I wouldn’t let that worry you. Here’s my best advice in no particular order:
- You’re in college. Enjoy it! This is a great time to explore new things. You can take classes on almost anything! You’re around all kinds of different people! It might not feel like it but you have more free time now than you might ever again. Use it well. Keep your mind and body active. Become someone interesting.
- If there’s something you love doing, do it. As much as you possibly can. It takes 10k hours to get really good at something. If you have a passion and work at it now and keep working at it, by the time you’re 30 you’ll be better than most people. When you’re the best at something you can make a living from it.
- No one trusts you until you’re 30. It might be the most frustrating part of being young. Having all these ideas and energy and no one wanting to listen to you. See the point above. Keep your head down and become great at something so that when people do start listening, you have something important to say.
- Be nice to people.
- Have real relationships.
Hope you find something useful here.