‘Career Conversations’ Podcast: Guy Guyadeen ’11, Google
Guy Guyadeen got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 2001 and an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2011. After graduating from Yale, Guy worked in investment banking at JP Morgan and in product management at various tech companies, including Google, Tapcart, and the video-streaming platform Quibi. Currently, he is a senior product manager at Google on the Android team and a part-time lecturer at UCLA.
Guy was interviewed by Lisa Sternik ’22.
Guy Guyadeen (00:03):
After I graduated, we were trying to figure out how to proceed with the business. And I called Professor Negroponte and went and visited him in Washington, DC because quantum computing is a technology of national defense interest, and the dude took my call and saw me.
Lisa Sternik (00:21):
Welcome to Career Conversations, a podcast from the Yale School of Management. I'm Lisa, a student in the global business and society Class of 2022. Each episode of Career Conversations is a candid chat between a student here at SOM, that's me, and a member of the Yale community who doing something that I'm curious about, like an informational interview, except you get to listen in. Today's conversation is with Guy Guyadeen. Guy got his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 2001 and an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2011. After graduating from Yale, Guy worked in investment banking at JP Morgan and in product management at various tech companies, including Google, Tapcart and the video streaming platform, Quibi. Currently, Guy is both a senior product manager at Google and a part-time lecturer at UCLA.
Guy Guyadeen (01:14):
My name is Guy Malahoo Guyadeen. I'm Yale SOM '11. And currently, I'm still blissfully fun employed, but I'm in the final stages of going back to Google, where I'll be a product manager on the Android team.
Lisa Sternik (01:31):
What does product management for you entail? I think you've already mentioned that you have a lot of PM experience from your previous jobs and companies where you worked. Could you tell us a little bit about PM and explain what tasks you are fulfilling as a PM?
Guy Guyadeen (01:48):
Yeah. PM is a very broad job. Even when I was at Google last time, I was on a team of 30 product managers and each of our jobs were anywhere from slightly to vastly different. So that's one of the things that's great, is that it can really encompass a lot of different skills and interests. And for me, what attracts me to PM is the opportunity to be a general manager or a mini CEO of a specific part of a larger product, or sometimes an entire product or an entire company, depending on the scope of your responsibility. I like the fact that as a PM, you can take full accountability for a product and you need to be an owner of the product that, or future that you're responsible for. And it gives you a license to go and poke into any part of the business related to the product.
Guy Guyadeen (02:50):
So you're not stuck in a lane where someone might be like, "Hey, you're a lawyer. Why are you asking engineering questions? Or why are you an engineer? Why are you worried about marketing?" As a PM, for the kind of jobs I've been lucky to get, you are responsible for all of that in some sense, and it really resonates with me. It's one of the reasons I went to business school was because I wanted to grow beyond being an engineer, which is how I started my career, and beyond being an entrepreneur, which is how I continued my career after undergrad, and be really just someone who can build businesses that deserve to get built. PM gives me an opportunity to do that.
Lisa Sternik (03:37):
So you've been a PM at several different companies. Do you think that the PM job and role is defined differently from company to company, or would you say that it's pretty much the same everywhere you went? Can you maybe talk a little bit about the different companies that you worked at previously and what it was like there?
Guy Guyadeen (03:53):
Sure. Yeah, it's an incredibly varied job. I've come to understand that by observing other PMs at the companies I've been at. My wife is also a product manager now, Julia, who is also SOM '11, and my friends who are in PM. So there's a whole spectrum. One, I had this amazing mentor named Trisha Lee, who was my manager at Quibi, which was a streaming media company that I got to be product manager at for a while. And she had a couple of different ways of thinking of PMs, a couple of different axes. And if I'm not messing this up, one access is technical versus more business oriented. And another aspect is more end user experience focused to back of the stack focused. So there are some product management jobs where you're really building something that is more about the functioning of the machine than it is the interface of the machine, that end users interact with.
Guy Guyadeen (05:02):
There are PM jobs that are like the mini CEO, if you will, that I mentioned earlier, and then there are many PM jobs that are not, that are much more focused on one area. For example, growth PM is a very popular and growing in demand area where your responsibility as growth PM is to increase the activation and retention and revenue conversion of customers who come in and start using your product. That's a more limited scope than other kinds of PM. And so there are a lot of different PM jobs where someone who's interested in the role can really find a place where she fits the best.
Guy Guyadeen (05:47):
Yeah. And then another way to think about it is in the either the business model of the product you're working with or the market that it's going after. So B2B products are decidedly different in the substance of the job than B2C products. And both of those are different in substance, from marketplaces where you're connecting two different constituencies or sometimes more. Yeah, there are a lot of different ways to slice it. But yeah, there are many, many different kinds of PM jobs, all of which have some commonality though.
Lisa Sternik (06:23):
Is it also very similar between larger companies and startups? You mentioned Quibi, the media startup that you were working on versus Google where you're now.
Guy Guyadeen (06:34):
Yeah, so definitely. I would say that you can find entrepreneurial PM jobs, in my experience, in most kinds of companies. So Google will have many PMs who are doing new ventures within Google. And you can have something that's much closer to that entrepreneurial experience, the zero to one at Google. At much younger startups, so I've done a bunch of startup work over the years with my own and other people's startups. And there, it's the classic experience where you have complete accountability and much more autonomy and responsibility and much more broad scope of impact in a small company than you do in a bigger one, typically. Having said that, there are opportunities to have that kind of experience at a big company. What you can't have at an entrepreneurial company is the experience of having huge impact.
Guy Guyadeen (07:39):
So when I was working at Google five years ago, one of the things I was responsible for was the credit card entry form on consumer products that Google would sell. So if you signed up for YouTube's premium product, and dozens of us did, and I still do actually pay for YouTube Premium, that was one of the projects I worked on and helped to launch. If you did that then, and you entered your credit card, that was my responsibility. That's a very small part of the overall product, but it hit a billion people. And the opportunity to do that is very hard to find anywhere, and that's something that a big company can give you.
Guy Guyadeen (08:19):
Aside from the rarefied air of serving such large scale, aside from just feeling like, oh my gosh, there are so many, hundreds of millions of people or billions of people I'm affecting, there's a rigor that comes from doing that work that I didn't really find elsewhere. So one of the reasons I went to Google was to understand the mythical working at scale, which I'd never done as an entrepreneur before in my life. And which I touched on at JP Morgan, but that was as an investment banker and not as a tech person, which I'd been before. And working at Google was great because it really did demystify working scale. What I learned is that it's less about... I went in thinking that there were some magic technologies or something like that, some fancy tech that you'd use to be able to physically scale your infrastructure. And in retrospect, it's really more about the processes you use to move as quickly as prudently possible.
Guy Guyadeen (09:24):
And this is another thing that's great about product management is that since you have ultimate responsibility for the scope of your responsibility or of your product, when you do a launch, if it doesn't go right, the final person to blame is you. And so you have to really quickly learn how to launch new software and in a way that it's not going to blow up. And how do you do that? It's really much more about the command and control structure in that scenario, which is interesting. A really cool thing to learn about, especially since as a product manager, you usually don't have formal authority over much of anybody, and yet you have formal accountability for everything. So it's just a very rigorous environment at these huge companies that can make you better.
Lisa Sternik (10:16):
That sounds absolutely wonderful. I like what you said about taking accountability and having a great reach at larger companies and having product ownership. What are some of the more challenging parts of this job?
Guy Guyadeen (10:30):
Well, it's an incredibly challenging job. Because of the scope, you are constantly working with people who are actually experts in their field. So you're talking to actual engineering experts, legal experts, finance, et cetera. You're not that person, but you need to be able to talk on their level. And that's one of the reasons why I think an MBA can be so helpful because it gives you the exposure to those topics. And also, it just teaches you how to communicate productively and make decisions productively among experts when you're not necessarily an expert in the field. Yeah, so that's one of the challenges is that it's just the scope is so big that you really have to perform at a high level, across a bunch of different disciplines.
Guy Guyadeen (11:23):
Another challenge is that whether the company's big or small, a truism in software development is that there's always way more to be done than there are resources to do it. So you're constantly saying no to people and you're constantly negotiating conflicting motivations and goals. So if that's something that causes you too high a burden of stress, then it can be really, really hard, just the inevitable conflict. Also, the feeling like you're always not doing enough. This is a thing that is really challenging about startups and much worse in startups, to be honest, because you feel like if you don't do all the things you need to, the company will fail. And often, that's true.
Guy Guyadeen (12:16):
At a larger company, it's not true. And that's a gift where you're like, okay, if I were to get abducted by aliens tomorrow, Google is not going to notice, and that's nice. There's something nice about knowing that although the potential impact that I might have on the most important metrics to the company is limited, that's a double edged sword. That means I can't mess up that bad in some sense, relative to when I'm at a startup. Of course, if I mess up at a Google, I'm affecting potentially hundreds of millions of people and that's a different kind of pressure. So yeah, I would say that PM is a high pressure job. That's like the second thing that's challenging about it.
Guy Guyadeen (13:00):
And then the last thing that's challenging about PM that I'd highlight is because it's a cross functional job with a lot of responsibility, but little formal authority, things can be frustrating. And this is more of a problem at bigger companies, where you just can't move as quickly as you might want to, if you are in a small company, or if you had more command and control responsibility over your area where you can just go around dictating what people are going to do. Especially at Google as a PM, you have to win resources, you're not given resources, at least when I was there in my group. You needed to really win on the strength of your ideas with the engineering teams to get stuff done.
Guy Guyadeen (13:46):
All of that, I see it as a challenge that I need to rise to, and I need to really sell the substance of what I want to get done to convince people to do stuff. But it still can be frustrating that you often have to be patient while there are other very powerful constituencies telling you to go faster. So yeah, it's a very, very challenging job, but it's also extremely rewarding to me personally and that's why I sign up for it, year after year.
Lisa Sternik (14:21):
That sounds really amazing. Now, let me take a look at your CV again. I see that you also launched several ventures and you keep coming back to the topic of entrepreneurship. Can you talk a little bit more about the ventures that you started, how that came to be, and also how that ties back to what you're doing now?
Guy Guyadeen (14:44):
Yeah, it's just been a theme for my whole life. I started out as a kid playing with a computer in the late '80s and just tinkering with stuff and doing little electronic projects, and that's the career path I've pursued. It's like how to take that interest in technology and how to make it as big as possible. And the way I think about that is having technology that is recently available and is recently able to solve a big, important problem that improves people's lives and is able to do so in a way that's financially self sustaining is profitable. And if you can hit those three things, some new solution to an important problem that is profitable, then you can really maximize the good that you can do in the world. And I know that sounds really pretentious and every tech dude says the same thing, that we're out here saving baby seals and everything, but it really is how I feel about what I do. I feel like tech, as complicated as this statement is, I feel that on the whole, tech makes the world better, and that's how I've chosen to pursue my career.
Guy Guyadeen (16:04):
It's really about technology and the growth of technology, and that's how I get to entrepreneurship is that's what it is to me is figuring out how to grow good ideas. And so I see everything I've done as a continuity of that from being the kid tinkering with my computer, to studying that as an undergrad around the dot-com era, to going to India in 2004 and starting a medical billing outsourcing company where we did billing for doctors here in California. To going to Veritas Prep, which was a GMAT prep company that helped people get into business school. And it was founded by two of Yale's success stories, Chad Troutwine and Marcus Moberg, who are great guys, who taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur and helped me get into Yale.
Guy Guyadeen (17:00):
To me, going to Yale, to learn how to scale companies in the right way, which led me to investment banking, where I got to study the end game of entrepreneurship, which is what happens if you succeed and you get to take your company public, what's the profile of that company like, or on the other hand, what happens when you get into trouble with the big company, you need to go and find a financial solution to make the best of what you've got.
Guy Guyadeen (17:28):
My favorite piece of entrepreneurship right now that I got to be part of was had a strong Yale connection. I was at one of the costume parties that we do in business school and I heard someone say, "What's quantum computing?" And I spun around and I said, "I'm going to start a quantum computing company one day," and this dude who's super tall, statuesque dude was like, "What do you know about quantum computing?" And I was like, "Well, not much, but I know it's really cool." And that guy's name was Chad Rigetti. He was a postdoc studying quantum computing in our superconducting qubit lab, which is like one of the best in the world, which I didn't know till that night. Quantum computing had been one of those things that I thought was really cool and I paid attention to as an undergrad, but it was always like on the cusp of like human endeavors.
Guy Guyadeen (18:22):
Chad's this dude who's quite a character, an incredible entrepreneur, brilliant scientist, very charismatic dude. I became friends with him while I was Yale finishing my MBA and he was doing his postdoc work. He went off to IBM and started their superconducting qubit lab in 2011, when he graduated from Yale or finished his postdoc work. I went to JP Morgan. And two years later, we were both ready to leave those endeavors and do our own thing. And I reconnected with him and spent about six months helping him figure out what his business plan was going to be and convinced him, or I take credit anyways for convincing him to move from Williamsburg out to the Bay Area. So he came out and I helped him out a little bit with the business plan and then I went off to Google. He proceeded to start this quantum computing company called Rigetti Computing, took it to Y Combinator, raised hundreds of millions of dollars and took it public two weeks ago at a 1.5 billion valuation.
Guy Guyadeen (19:34):
That was such a fulfilling thing to be a tiny part of because I do think that quantum computing is one of the technologies that is going to continue this path that humanity's been on for the last 50 years, of just massively accelerating, constantly accelerating progress. And it's really cool to see that Yale is one of the places that is inventing that.
Guy Guyadeen (20:01):
So anyways, that was a really long answer about entrepreneurial stuff. There's a lot more in there. I did a little bit of time in venture and I worked for one of the companies we invested in last year for much of last year. But it's all kind of part of the same story of how do you take good ideas and help them figure out how to grow, something I'm still trying to learn to be good at.
Lisa Sternik (20:23):
I'm very impressed by all the things you've done and where you've dabbled into. But I think the main takeaway that you got from your MBA were actually the connections that you made and the really many great friendships that led to business opportunities. What are some of the other experiences at SOM that really prepared you for your career and your life?
Guy Guyadeen (20:45):
There was so much. I went to Yale expecting a transformative experience and I went there, signed up for such a thing and I was ready to put the rest of my life on hold to just dive into it. And I got a lot out of it. I mentioned that I met my partner, Julia, who we've been married now for six or seven years, close to seven years. We have a four year old and real happily ever after story there. But yeah, I think that the other people really were, as cliche as it is to say, the other people in business school were the biggest gift. Part of that was, look, I was no stranger to some travel and my dad was born in Trinidad and had friends from different parts of the world. But it wasn't until I got to Yale that I had like such close friendships with people from all over the world.
Guy Guyadeen (21:40):
And it became less of this exotic thing and more of just like a normal thing in my life to interact with people from different parts of the world where even growing up in LA, which is a pretty cosmopolitan in place, that wasn't quite as normal to me back then. And in my subsequent career, it is quite normal, and I feel like a commonality with people from all over the world that I don't think I felt before I went to Yale. So the international aspect of it was huge. And certainly, the IE was a big part of that going and spending three weeks in Brazil.
Guy Guyadeen (22:13):
Another thing about the people at Yale was just learning about different avatars of excellent performance. One of my best friends at Yale was this guy, Joe Dalton, who was a humanities major at Holy Cross undergrad. And I had a bit of engineering hubris coming out of Berkeley. And when I met Joe, that all went out the window. I was just shocked by how smart this dude was and how he could take any situation and take the right framework to analyze it in a very effective way quickly. And it's not like he was an exception of that at Yale. There were a lot of people like that who came out of different walks of life, or it was very eye opening to me. It's like, okay, I really get how engineering is not the be all and end all of intellectual endeavor.
Guy Guyadeen (23:06):
Part of that was also, aside from just cutting my own ego down to an appropriate size, it was also like learning what it really was to be a person at Goldman Sachs, working on CDOs during the financial crisis of 2008, and seeing from those many different perspectives, huge. So the people were huge at Yale. I went expecting to come away with a framework for understanding business that was similar to the framework that I came out of undergrad, understanding engineering problems and technology. And that happened. I definitely got exposed to all of the silos of business. And at a level of familiarity, obviously, a business school program is more about that than about depth, but that served me really well. From finance, which I didn't go really deep on, but to legal issues and HR issues and marketing.
Guy Guyadeen (24:17):
Sales, I think is missing. It was very missing when I was there. I don't know if that's gotten better, but that's one area where I think the business schools I'm aware of, also, I have a side gig on the faculty at UCLA where I help out with one of their programs there. And there too, I don't think that curriculum in sales is very strong. And I think that's a thing to pay attention to if you want to get into for profit businesses after business school. But yeah, I expected a lot out of business school and I got it out of Yale. It was two of the best years of my life and I feel extremely lucky to have landed there.
Lisa Sternik (24:53):
You mentioned a few of your classes that you were taking. I was wondering how did you go about selecting the classes and what are some of your recommendations for choosing the right classes, from the many classes that we have in our catalogs?
Guy Guyadeen (25:08):
First of all, I found the core curriculum to be really, really solid. And I felt like by just following that, I was getting the basics covered really well. Beyond that, I really let curiosity be the guide. And I was curious about finance because I really wanted to understand how not to get screwed by venture capitalists when I became an entrepreneur again. So I was really curious about finance and entrepreneurship. And then I was just curious about what Yale had to offer, which Yale was such a mythic thing growing up to me as a kid from the valley on the West Coast. It seemed like this very stuffy place where everyone was smoking pipes and sitting in leather bound chairs and stuff. And there is some of that, which is cool. But as you know, that's really not what Yale's about. But Yale does have some things that you can't get on the West Coast.
Guy Guyadeen (26:09):
So proximity to the government, for example, proximity to the Wall Street. And, and so that was really cool to dive into. And so those things collectively, drove my choices in the classes that I pursued. On the finance side and the entrepreneurship side, I did the EBP, the entrepreneurial business process class taught by David Cromwell at the time, who was this awesome mentor, used to run the venture arm of JP Morgan for like 20 years. That was awesome, loved EBP. On the more Yale side, I applied for and got into the Grand Strategy class, which is this course that cuts across the entire university, not just SOM and the grad schools, but also the undergrads and it has its own endowments. It's like a $2 million endowment or something for this one class. Has six instructors. One of them at the time was John Negroponte, who was the former US ambassador to the UN and served on numerous administrations.
Guy Guyadeen (27:14):
John Gaddis was one of our instructors also, who frequently had the ear of the president of the United States. And it's just like, you can't get that anywhere else. There's a few other places you can do that, but very few. And for me, that's not a thing that was in the cards for me when I was growing up in Granada Hills. And so that was really cool. And just to get exposure to those worlds was really, really eye opening for me. So yeah, my advice would be to MBAs, certainly pursue things that you think will help you get your next job and succeed in your career.
Guy Guyadeen (27:51):
And also, don't be afraid to explore and do things that are not obviously going to be helpful, but are just interesting. For example, after I graduated, and coming back to this story of Chad Rigetti and Rigetti Inc, we were trying to figure out how to proceed with the business. And I called Professor Negroponte and went and visited him in Washington, DC because quantum computing is a technology of national defense interest. And the dude took my call and saw me, and that is crazy. That's really mind blowing that opportunity came to pass because I landed at Yale and decided to go check out this interesting Grant Strategy course.
Lisa Sternik (28:37):
Yeah. I really like what you're saying about the connections, and I love that we're talking right now that I get this opportunity to tap into the alumni network. And I'm sure that the professor network is also very, very strong after graduating. If someone were to study at Yale SOM right now and wanted to go into product management, what are some of the pieces of advice that you have for someone who's in that position?
Guy Guyadeen (29:03):
I wonder if between now and 10 years ago, if there's emerged some academic product management instruction. I don't know if that's true or not.
Lisa Sternik (29:14):
Yeah, absolutely. We actually have product management classes and also, a lot of data science classes as well as management of software development classes.
Guy Guyadeen (29:28):
Awesome. So I would definitely take those, especially the software development management and the PM. I think the data science is really useful as well. It's such a hot topic. And certainly at Google, we're extremely data driven. We were when I was there a few years ago. And from what I've heard, it's even more so the case now. Even at the smaller companies I've worked for. Even Quibi, we were extremely data driven, even though we didn't have any data at first. But when we launched on day one, I was responsible for commerce and accounts, and so everything related to signing up and subscriptions and security. The day I launched, I had a full suite of analytic dashboards, which is a Testament to the entrepreneurial venture Quibi was, which was very unusual and interesting and once in a lifetime, probably. But anyways, so data, super interesting and important, but meat and potatoes is the core disciplines of product management and software engineering management.
Guy Guyadeen (30:28):
I would say take those. My wife, Julia, who was my girlfriend at the time, did something really smart, which is she took a programming class at the undergrad school. And that helped her a lot, because she knew she wanted to transition from nonprofit work, which she'd done before SOM, into tech. Super helpful for her. Just having a project to talk about that it clears a big question in the mind of anyone who is interviewing you, as you try to break into tech, does the person I'm talking to actually know anything about software development or are they going to be shocked and flame out? So I'd say that. Do things that give you a little bit of technical street cred. School projects, do. So making that little hello world in Java, actually goes a long way.
Guy Guyadeen (31:23):
And then the internship I'd say any kind of experience is really helpful. I'd say if you want to break into PM, try and get an internship at the most established company you can. And settle for any company, basically. Settle for even a startup. I say it that way because something I didn't quite understand when I was interviewing for product management jobs at Google, back in 2013, I was like, look, I have done a bunch of entrepreneurial stuff and I've shipped a bunch of products. I was interviewing for product management jobs, thinking I had all of this relevant experience and I really didn't appreciate how different the discipline of product management was.
Guy Guyadeen (32:13):
Even though nominally, I had been a product manager at some startups. So I'd say if you can go and work at some place where you're not the first product manager, but there are actually experienced PMs, do that, to get your hands around some of the basics. Working with engineering teams, running a sprint, writing specs, making decisions informed by data that is routinely imperfect, UX, like where is the bar for acceptable UX, what is the process for shipping something without it exploding all over your face, all that stuff.
Guy Guyadeen (32:50):
Just getting a little bit of that is essential. And if you can do that at a Google or an Amazon or Facebook or any of the other dozens and dozens of companies that are not in the FAANG acronym, I would say, yes, go do that at a publicly traded company or a well-funded, like say series D or series E startup. If that's not in the cards because those jobs are extremely hard to get, then yeah, go do it at an entrepreneurial place that's like a seed or series A. Or go to YEI.
Guy Guyadeen (33:18):
We have another very successful alum named Justin Borgman probably our most successful alum from our class who was in SOM '11. And he started his first company, Hadapt, out of YEI, and sold it for some bajillions of dollars and then became a VP at the acquiring company and spun out from there and is now on his second multi-bajillion dollar tech startup, all launched out of Yale. So there are a lot of ways to do it. But even if you don't end up a Justin, maybe you'll end up doing something that is just as fulfilling and impactful and interesting, and PM can do that. And I think business school is a brilliant place to launch that kind of a career.
Lisa Sternik (34:05):
Yeah. Thanks so much for that advice. That's very targeted for PM careers. I think that's very important for a lot of people. I guess PM has been a trending job in recent years in particular. On a final note, do you have any final pieces or advice for how to go about planning a career when in business school?
Guy Guyadeen (34:26):
Yeah. So I think the one thing that is not intuitive to people in business school is that you really can take chances. I think that typically, we end up in business school out of a certain conservativeness, where it's not an unsafe path, it's a very safe path to go to business school. And I think that you get into business school and from the very first month, it's like, get your internship, get the right internship, don't mess it up, you're only a freshly minted MBA one time in your whole life, don't blow that chance. And it just feels like you're like... I remember feeling like man, I thought once I got into Yale, I'd be set. And now you're telling me there's all these other opportunities to blow that. And that's not true. I did figure that out before I got out, but it's really not true. You have your MBA and that's never going to be taken away from you.
Guy Guyadeen (35:31):
And this idea that you might have a couple years on your resume where there's a big question, mark and they're like, she went to Yale, but actually she's a burnout or a bad one, that, I've never seen that happen. You have such a high safety net now that you actually can go and break into investment banking if you want it. It's not as easy as if you did it as an MBA student. It is much, much easier to break into investment banking in the [inaudible 00:36:02] or into a McKinsey or a Bain. But you can still do it, if you really want to. And you tend to be in a position in your life where your family obligations, your personal obligations, your financial encumbrances are not super overbearing when you graduate. So you have a lot of freedom.
Guy Guyadeen (36:23):
So my path, I went to JP Morgan. After a year and a half, I decided I learned enough. And so I left as one does, two weeks after the first real bonus hit the bank account. Very, very typical thing to do. I love my time at JP Morgan. I learned a tremendous amount and I would do it again for sure. Did that stop me from becoming a PM at Google, which arguably is the best tech company in the world? No, I still got in. It took me a long time. It took me like six months of work to break into that company. But when I did, I finally found at the age of 35, a job that I was really happy with and that I could see being at for the rest of my life and that I could perform at being informed by all this crazy experience, doing entrepreneurial stuff and doing a stint in banking.
Guy Guyadeen (37:16):
My peers like Jason Kerns, is an SOM '11, he's on a way higher level at Google today than I am. So you give up something. Like if you go directly to your forever job after your business school, you're going to get further in the same amount of time than if you take a meandering path like I did. But that was right for me and I've had a blast doing what I've done. And the vast majority of my classmates, three years after we graduated, were on their second companies anyways. So I would just say don't get stuck in the trap that successful people often do, thinking I have to take this rare opportunity that no one else ever gets or seems like is impossible to get. I have the opportunity to go to the right company. Therefore, I have to take it.
Guy Guyadeen (38:06):
You really don't. Those opportunities are still going to be there and you're at a point where your appetite for risk should be at an all time high. So if you think you might like starting a company, go out and do it. And if it fails, which it probably will, you can go work for a big company later. Whereas, a lot of times, you go work for a big company and get the golden handcuffs on, you get used to the big fat salaries and life catches up and you've got all these commitments personally and financially, and then your risk appetite is much lower. If you want to look at it from a financial perspective, you're leaving all of the upside on the table.
Guy Guyadeen (38:49):
So especially now I'm thinking about startups, which I've spent an awful lot of time thinking about, and that's the class I helped to teach at UCLA, is like EBP. You're giving up all the financial upside of private equity that you can build yourself, which I've seen personally and with friends, pay off after time. It takes five or six years sometimes, but it can actually financially be very rewarding. And non-financially, you're giving up very unique experience. Going and working for a startup, you get two years of experience every three months and it's a really special thing to do. And so I would just encourage people who have the guild resumes and you're the freshly minted MBA that don't get too caught up in that, because now you really do have this safety net that you can rely on for the rest of your career. And don't be afraid to take chances and fail.
Lisa Sternik (39:49):
Thanks so much Guy. It was really great to hear your perspective on that and to hear all your insights. It's really wonderful to hear how positive you speak about every single step that you've been through in your career. That's absolutely great. I'm very happy for you and I'm very excited for what's about to come at your next position at Google. If our listeners would like to follow your career path, what are some good ways to connect with you?
Guy Guyadeen (40:13):
Yeah, so really quickly, I know this has been super positive. I'm a pretty optimistic dude. I'd love some time to talk about all the failures because there have been failure after failure after failure, but they have all left me stronger and better prepared for the future. So I don't want to leave with that impression. I've failed consistently, and yet it doesn't matter. It's still a blast and I've done just fine. So anyways, to get in touch, I'm Guy@Guyadeen.com. That's Guy@Guyadeen. And you can get me through the AYA network. LinkedIn is really the best thing. There's only one Guy Guyadeen on there, I think. So that's the best way to get to me.
Lisa Sternik (40:59):
Great. Well, thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you so much for sharing everything about your career. It was great talking to you.
Guy Guyadeen (41:05):
Same here. Thank you so much. It was really an honor to be selected. Thank you.
Lisa Sternik (41:12):
You've been listening to Career Conversations, a podcast from the Yale School of Management. If you like what you heard here today, please subscribe. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or however you take your podcast. And if you're already a subscriber, please go to Apple Podcasts and rate us or leave a review. That's a great way to let other people know about the show.
Lisa Sternik (41:33):
Career Conversations is produced by Yale SOM. Our producer for this episode is Amy Kundrat. Our editor is Laurie Toth. For Career Conversations, I'm Lisa. Thank you for listening and I hope you'll tune in again soon
In this podcast series, SOM students sit down with alumni for a series of candid conversations about career paths, industries, opportunities for MBAs, and discussions on various career topics including work-life balance and creating a meaningful impact in business and society. This series is produced by Yale School of Management.