Leadership lessons from a chess master: Beware overconfidence

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Decades after crushing it in international tourneys, this CEO still draws on his 3-step thought process behind every chess move to run his international tech company. Years before the notion of starting a software company ever entered my mind, I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a professional chess player. At the age of 19 as a sophomore in college, I tied with grandmaster Pal Benko for first place in the World Open chess tournament. I went into the tournament ranked 115th, and I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I was to make it to that last game and tie with Benko. Read Full Story

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As a Latino immigrant, I thought I understood the challenges of the Black community. I have a lot to learn

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A CTO contemplates what actions he can take to change his company’s response and his own. As an immigrant from Nicaragua, I’ve been open about the discrimination I have faced in my life. I’ve experienced it from police enforcement, in my professional life, my social life, and even in the affluent suburb where I live. Many of these instances were microaggressions , rolled out over time that I don’t even notice them anymore. I do, however, distinctly remember the difference in pay I received in past jobs. And I remember meeting to discuss the acquisition of a company I founded with its CEO, who completely ignored my title and instead, thought I was a sales development representative. Read Full Story

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Fifteen Years Is a Long Time in SEO

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Posted by willcritchlow I’ve been in an introspective mood lately. Earlier this year (15 years after starting Distilled in 2005), we spun out a new company called SearchPilot to focus on our SEO A/B testing and meta-CMS technology (previously known as Distilled ODN), and merged the consulting and conferences part of the business with Brainlabs . I’m now CEO of SearchPilot (which is primarily owned by the shareholders of Distilled), and am also SEO Partner at Brainlabs, so… I’m sorry everyone, but I’m very much staying in the SEO industry. As such, it feels a bit like the end of a chapter for me rather than the end of the book, but it has still had me looking back over what’s changed and what hasn’t over the last 15 years I’ve been in the industry. I can’t lay claim to being one of the first generation of SEO experts, but …

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Lessons from the pandemic: Have a plan B, C, D, and E

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This tech CEO reflects on what he’s learned after a year of leading remote teams, and the challenges ahead as companies move to reopen. Before the pandemic, I barely ever worked remotely; my team at Okta always thrived on office energy and connecting in person. And while I thought I’d grown accustomed to seeing people only on Zoom or in Slack channels (I’m an engineer by trade and tend to be introverted), I realized how much I missed in-person collaboration after seeing a few team members (masked up, outside, and post negative COVID-19 tests) during the filming of a documentary tied to our annual “Oktane” event a few weeks ago. Read Full Story

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I’m a tech CEO. Here’s why I’m not taking a salary during COVID-19

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As the founder and CEO of the fintech company Gravity Payments, I’ve decided to prioritize my employees’ and clients’ well-being over my own compensation during the coronavirus crisis. In early March, as the coronavirus arrived in the United States and businesses began shutting down, our company started losing money fast. We’re a credit card processor that works primarily with small and midsize businesses such as restaurants, retails shops, and independent clinics, which means our revenue is directly tied to theirs. By the end of the month, we were down 55% from expectations and losing $30,000 a day. Read Full Story

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10 lessons from CEOs on how to manage corporate reputation in a new era of activism

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When employees are pushing companies as hard as outside activists, and a CEO’s reputation is directly tied to his company, these lessons offer help toward building and maintaining good public perception. A changing landscape of social, political, and business dynamics is creating a new set of challenges for CEOs. Corporations and their hard-won reputations now have as much to gain as they have to lose from sudden changes in perception. To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, we sat down with corporate leaders representing almost $2 trillion in market cap, billions of dollars in revenue, and millions of employees and asked them to share what they see on the horizon and how they are approaching the changing demands of corporate reputation. Read Full Story

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The 19th Amendment is 100 years old. Voting rights are still far from equal

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The founder and CEO of Pipeline Equity points out that women of color had to wait until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to have free and fair access to the ballot box. And unfortunately, the road to universal enfranchisement didn’t end there. I met Representative John Lewis in 1993 while I was interning in Washington, D.C. As a sharecropper’s son, Lewis would preach to his father’s chickens as a young boy. He gave them names and even baptized them because he wanted to be a minister. Instead, he went on to become one of our nation’s greatest civil rights leaders. Read Full Story

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The best practices to manage a remote workforce—during the pandemic and beyond

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The CEO of Owl Labs shares his longtime tips for managing a remote and in-office team. Looking back on 2020, a diverse number of companies were caught off guard by the need to quickly pivot to remote and hybrid environments . Many leaders found that their supply chains weren’t nearly as flexible as expected and their internal communication was lacking, increasing the difficulty of working outside of the office . However, there have been a plethora of companies pioneering the remote and hybrid workforce movement since the early 2010s. Read Full Story

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