When confidence trumps competence in the workplace

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Apr 30, 2012 9:00:00 AM

Ask any individual what they admire about a leader and invariably their description will include “confidence”.  People love to be around those that exude confidence.  Confidence is the trait that appears to trump all else when leaders are evaluated (and conversely, as I learned far too often during my dating years, “nice guys finish last”).  This makes sense – after all, who wants to follow, or date, someone who is unsure of themselves?  I recall a recent quote from a tech CEO where he said that he values most in candidates creativity, cleverness and confidence.

nice guys finish last

Topics: career advice, start-up

Risks of data-driven decision making

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Apr 8, 2012 7:40:00 AM

As the world goes more digital and talk of “big data” enters mainstream dialogue nearly all firms are obsessed with data driven thinking – measure, analyze, modify, repeat – a seemingly endless pattern.  I love data-driven decisions because the approach offers a democratic way to solve problems, versus purely deferring to those in positions of authority.  Indeed, I suspect that much like Codecademy is making programming a mainstream skill, so too will data analysis become a required skill for mostprofessions in the next few years.


Why Sales or Product are the smartest career choices - but only for now

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Mar 31, 2012 5:10:00 AM

Recently our CEO Brian Halligan said during an employee gathering that there are only two jobs worth having at a company – either building the product or selling it.  The blunt statement has seemingly obvious wisdom, particularly in our tumultuous economy where jobs come and go at an alarming speed, but it left some people outside of engineering and sales feeling queasy about their career prospects. 



Topics: career path, first job, career advice

Reform Stanford Business School or keep paying lip service to motto

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Mar 11, 2012 6:06:00 AM

The following is a letter I wrote to my dean, Garth Saloner, a few months ago regarding overdue reforms for Stanford's Graduate School of Business.  I am choosing to publish it here as I hope it encourages others to join the cause.

The letter is long but such an audacious agenda requires a well structured essay.  I admit that there may be holes in my argument but I believe the ethos is right and I hope it resonates with you, the reader.

220px InsideJob2010Poster


The safe career path in the future - skip college and start a company

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Mar 5, 2012 7:46:00 PM

For the latter half of the twentieth century the path to a solid middle class lifestyle was to get a college degree, join a Fortune 500 firm and work there for the next forty years or so, banking away a pension for a healthy retirement.  That path ceased to be "safe" about a decade ago given the dramatic swings in the fortunes of big companies due, in part, to trends like globalization that have seen jobs come and go with alarming speed.  Job security is an oxymoron and I suspect in a few years, if not already, no matter what you study and what practical skills you gain there will be no guarantee for a “safe” career path anymore.

ferris beuller showering image


Topics: career path, Education

Work hours and the importance of facetime at work

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Mar 1, 2012 7:33:00 AM

In many companies, particularly fast growing internet startups, there is much talk about flexible hours and how face time is not as important as getting your job done.  Results, not effort, people espouse.  Most people sincerely believe this mantra but in my experience I’ve found that it is not completely true at most companies.

work life balance


Topics: first job, career advice

Luck plays a bigger role in careers than most realize

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Feb 12, 2012 7:30:00 AM

One of the most humbling realizations as I’ve progressed through my career is how big a role luck has played in where I am today.  Many of the pivotal events in my career happened more due to a lucky break than my own doing.  When I tell this to colleagues and friends they think I’m being falsely or unduly modest and indeed I have been told that I undersell myself sometimes.  Well I’d like to recount the biggest break I’ve had in my career and you can decide for yourselves.



Topics: career path, career advice

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses: actually the most important interview question

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Jan 8, 2012 6:23:00 PM

One of the most clichéd interview questions is “what are your strengths and weaknesses.”  Most of us have heard it so many times that we’ve prepared for it extensively.  Often we create a bogus weakness that could be seen as a strength by the interviewer such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m very detail oriented.”  However, as pedestrian as this interview question is, and lately is seldom asked in interviews because everyone knows there’s a prepared answer waiting on the other end, the tragedy is answering this very question is crucial for real career advancement.

Everybody has a real weakness


Topics: management, first job, career advice

Why the US will prevail over China for decades to come

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 17, 2011 4:13:00 PM

When I was a kid I remember occasionally hearing my parents say that I could be anything that I wanted and that I could change the world.  I thought that was cool, perhaps something all parents said because it's the thing to say, but never believe it for a second.  I didn’t even know what I wanted to be much less what I wanted to change the world to.

describe the image


Topics: career advice, mentoring, Education

Do you need to have a mission to be successful in your career?

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 2, 2011 11:32:00 AM

What if lasting, world-changing, fame-achieving, happiness-producing achievement in one’s career comes only to those driven by a higher purpose – i.e. those that have a mission – versus those who chase success in any form?

toms shoes

Topics: management, career advice, start-up

Career Advice I Wish I Knew Earlier 

Hello.  I started this blog to distribute some of the best career advice I have been given over the many jobs I've had.  I've been fortunate to work for and with some great bosses like Brian Halligan, Francis DeSouzaNancy Kamei, and Rick Roberge, and some unique companies, like The Boston Consulting Group, that invest heavily in making each employee a success even after leaving the firm.

The advice and training I received here stands in contrast to my experiences with some not-so-great bosses and companies I've also worked for.  I'm continualy amazed at how valuable good advice has been in my career so I hope to pass on the good advice, and insights from mistakes I've made, via this blog. 

Thanks in advance for your comments, particularly when you can improve upon the ideas posted.

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