ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | ANDREW BOSWORTH
Andrew Bosworth is one of the top Executives at Facebook today. He sold Cutco for two Summers while in college at Harvard, achieving College All-American status and becoming an Assistant Manager. He joined Facebook in early 2006 and became their Director of Engineering. While in this role, Boz invented Newsfeed, Messenger, and Groups. A true member of Mark Zuckerberg’s inner circle, Boz spent several years as VP of Advertising, and now serves as VP in charge of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Q&A WITH ANDREW BOSWORTH
Q: I’d like to hear a little bit about what you’re doing as the Director of AR and VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality)?
- A lot of what we’re doing is pioneering research, at the physics level. For example, can you get light to bend in specific ways?
- It’s not every day you get to create an entirely new computing platform- spacial computing or 3D computing.
- Different inputs, like your hands or voice, become control inputs.
- We’re rethinking what a new generation of computing platforms could look like.
Q: How many people are on your team?
- Several thousand, and we’re heavily invested in the long term.
- We have everything from products in market today to research on products that may be 10 years out.
- I’m never bored in this role.
Q: What’s it like working with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg?
- Mark is a true product visionary and has a strong sense about how dedicated we have to be to the people we serve (our consumers who rely on our product).
- Mark is willing to reassess his core assumptions every day and invites challenge and disagreement so he can grow through that.
- Sheryl has been a tremendous coach to me.
Q: What are a few of Sheryl’s key strength as a leader?
- When it comes to running things well, there’s no one better than Sheryl!
- She was hosting an event when she suddenly disappeared for 15 minutes. We found out she had been changing around the way the caterers set out the food because she noticed there was a line forming unnecessarily.
- That’s the kind of leader she is. If she sees a problem she doesn’t think she’s above doing what needs to be done to fix the problem.
- “Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.” -Sheryl Sandberg
Q: I bet that carries over into her personal life and that she quickly addresses anything she sees she needs to work on and improve in.
- You don’t get to be as good as Sheryl is without a strong focus on personal development.
Q: I’d like to hear about your Cutco/ Vector experience. What were some experiences or lessons you learned?
- I quickly learned the 1-to-1 ratio between your internal attitude and your external results.
- If I was having a bad day or if I was down, my sales were down.
- If I was having a good day or if I was up, my sales were up.
- The causality was so clear that it was attitude toward outcome, not the other way around.
- It’s so tempting to think, “I had a bad outcome that’s why my attitude is bad.”
- Cutco taught me that’s not the case; you control a lot with your attitude.
- Being an Assistant Manager (AM) was really cool.
- The weekly meetings and regular connection you wanted to build with people
- The more you invested in people and the more you tried to help them achieve their goals, the more you achieved your goals.
- That’s the same thing I’m doing in my job today at Facebook.
- The first thing I ask myself when working with people is “what can I do for them?”
Q: Fast forward to you graduating from Harvard, you got a job at Microsoft and moved to Seattle and were liking Microsoft when you got a call from some old friends. Can you tell us how that all happened; how you went from Microsoft to Facebook?
- Some of how that all came to be was just random chance.
- I got assigned to be a TA in an Artificial Intelligence class at Harvard and Mark Zuckerberg was one of the students in that class.
- I invested a lot of time into my relationships with my students in that class.
- 2 years later Mark is back in Palo Alto and a recruiter tells Mark he needs someone who’s good in AI. So I got the call…
- It’s funny, I got the degree and I got all the education but it was the investment I made into the people that ended up paying off. (A skill Boz learned in his training as an Assistant Manager with Cutco/ Vector.)
- I was conflicted though because I loved my job at Microsoft but I really believed in Mark’s vision so I went to my manager at Microsoft who was like a mentor to me and he told me to shut the door so we could talk in private.
- He encouraged me to go work at Facebook because he truly felt that it was the best opportunity for me while also making me feel like I can come back if it didn’t work out. Shout out to Craig Daw at Microsoft.
Q: Something I’ve noticed as I’ve followed you on social media is that you have a gift for photography. Where did that evolve?
- When I went from doing coding every day to managing a team I felt a loss of a creative outlet.
- Photography has given me a way to take something that didn’t exist until I create it.
Q: Where can people follow your work?
Q: What are you most proud of in your work or in your life?
- Hopefully the thing I’m most proud of hasn’t happened yet.
Q: As you look ahead 5- 10 years down the road, what are you most excited about?
- I do think we’re on the verge of something very exciting with our technology.
Q: Are there any messages you’d like to share with anyone who’s young and up-and-coming in Cutco?
- It’s easy to be cynical but if you allow yourself to get into the hype of things like the weekly meetings, you put yourself in position to get something out of it. You’re just denying yourself an opportunity if you’re not doing that.
- Optimize for the steep learning curve.
- My career was a lot like Daniel-san learning from Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid. I spent a lot of time “waxing cars” and “painting fences” and at the end of it people ask me how I became a Karate Master.
- I always tried to get on the path with the steepest learning curve.
- When we invest in people and help them get results it helps us get better results for ourself.
- Have a steep learning curve and the power of ongoing development.
- The outer is a reflection of the inner.
- Cutco All American Scholarship: A total of 100 awards/scholarships are given to the top full-time students 25 are given in the Fall and Spring and 50 are given in the summer campaign.
- Cutco Campaign: The Cutco calendar year is divided into 3, 4 month “campaigns”; Spring, Summer, and Fall