General Assembly started as a small project in the heart of NYC—we set out to build a community of entrepreneurs and creators in our city’s burgeoning ecosystem. I’m in awe of the evolution we’ve seen take place—in 5 years we’ve become a global organization, now equipping tens of thousands of students with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.
At this time of great debate around the future of higher education and workforce development, our worldwide team has succeeded in creating and scaling a model solely focused on bridging education to employment. But we are even more ambitious about our future goals: To make a visible dent in the skills gap, clearly connecting education and employment to show an ROI positive model of higher education, and build our alumni community into one of the most powerful professional networks in the world.
For many people, data feels like an avalanche of information. No matter how proficient we are with Excel, statistical software, SQL, or Google Analytics, it’s often tough to know where and how to take your first steps. Should you create a chart? Should you try to find a correlation between the trend you’re observing and revenue? How do you know whether your findings are statistically significant—and for that matter, what the heck is statistical significance?
At the end of the day, these questions are less intimidating than they seem. Data is a tool that human beings created for other human beings. As a result, it’s up to you to create your own constraints for analysis. You choose your terms. You choose the questions you want to answer. You choose the techniques that you want to deploy. You’re in control.
Here are three tips to help you wrangle your next report.
Nice work. You just scored an interview for a product manager position—one of the hottest and highest-paying roles right now according to Glassdoor. Companies know that product managers play a key role in their success or failure. And they are making sure that hiring the best is a top priority.
You probably have no idea what to expect from this first interview—especially if you are trying to transition into the field from engineering or marketing. How can you pivot into this new role? What qualities are they looking for, and how should you present yourself?
As a millennial, I’m used to working the occasional odd job to make extra cash. My friend and I swapped babysitting shifts when I first moved to New York (yes, the parents were aware), and I’ve been picking up gigs on TaskRabbit on and off since 2012. The sharing economy has made it possible for me to afford a number of novelty experiences like music festivals and destination bachelorette parties. To me, and many other millennials who I know, the sharing economy is very positive. I’ve made friends and professional contacts and I, like many millennials, love the autonomy that comes with micro-entrepreneurship.
Last month we co-hosted #OFF-CAMPUS, New York City’s first- ever learning festival, with CourseHorse. The festival celebrated learning in a way that’s truly fun and interactive.
We produced daily themed events at the city’s most inspiring venues, bringing together NYC’s largest community of entrepreneurs, artists, and learners. Partner companies included: IBM, Shutterstock, MRY, Kickstarter, The New School, The Yard, Goose Island, and more.
Watch the highlights created by Malka Media Group, a digital content studio built for brands and agencies alike. Explore their website to see how MMGleverages insight and technology to deliver compelling and creative original content.
Until recently, the words “innovation” and “entrepreneur” intimidated me. I always thought that these concepts came from some super-human genius, or that it was some birthright that people either had or didn’t.
Feeling inspired by leaders like Sara Blakeley, founder of Spanx; Elon Musk who runs Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX; and Danielle Fong who runs LightSail, I realized that I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines wondering whether I ‘had it.’ I quit my job, started a business, joined the team at Lean Startup Company, and have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators along the way.
What I learned was that innovation is something that’s accessible to any passionate human who’s willing to challenge herself and learn: it’s a continuous, iterative loop of building new initiatives (projects, products, whatever), testing ideas and measuring results, and learning how to improve each time around. Here are five leaders who exemplify this idea.
MasterCard employee demonstrates ShopThis! with MasterPass which will allow consumers to buy products directly from Intel’s Virtual Shopping Experience – a fully interactive 3-D virtual fitting room app at MasterCard’s Innovation Showcase event.
“Agile methodology,” “failing fast,” “pivoting”—all concepts commonly used in startups—are increasingly being put to work inside the walls of large, well-established companies. This is because executives at Fortune 500 companies have realized that the natural limitations that face startups—limitations on time and financial resources—can actually be boons, resulting in fresh ideas and fast execution.
So a handful of large public companies, including General Electric (GE) and MasterCard, have created startups within their own mammoth companies. In 2013, GE created FastWorks, an internal startup entity. Its mission was to develop products using the “lean startup” approach, codified by Eric Ries in his book, The Lean Startup. (This means constantly experimenting and regularly getting feedback from customers to avoid building products that customers don’t want.)
Natasha (bottom, farthest left) with her Product Management students.
Like any self-respecting teenager, I had vowed to be different from my elders. My mother and her three sisters have glittering careers in education. After ten years in tech, I now practice the craft my younger version was adamant to avoid: I moonlight as an instructor at General Assembly.
This side-gig, that started as mild experiment, has become a full-blown passion. I have been at our New York campus every month since I joined the instructional team a year ago. Below is a round-up of 12 lessons I learned from 12 months of preaching product management to five classes.
As an entrepreneur, one of the earliest lessons I’ve learned is that big wins are the collection of many small steps. Many people have asked me how, as a solo founder, I managed to build a company with a customer base of 70+.
I wish I had a glamorous answer, but I don’t. The truth is that my company is the outcome of five years of 13-16 hour days and many, many dead-ends, and a whole lot of hustle. My secret is that I’ve positioned each and every day as a baby step forward—an attitude that is even more critical now, since I’m working with my technical co-founder (and husband) to continue our core consulting and content creation business and bootstrap a series of products.
We stay sane by focusing on the small wins. Here are the tips that have helped us: Continue reading →