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The Future of Work Project

The Future of Work Project

By Derrick Franco

The Future of Work Project is focused on bringing together today's business leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs who are experimenting with new and unique ways of working.

From remote work and culture, to research into the peak performance of human beings, we learn alongside these experts pushing the boundaries today.
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#1 Warren Lebovics - Passion, culture, and today's always on mindset

The Future of Work ProjectMar 17, 2020

#23 Darren Murph - Unlocking the Super Powers of Remote, and its Positive Effects on Families

#23 Darren Murph - Unlocking the Super Powers of Remote, and its Positive Effects on Families

Today’s guest is Darren Murph, the Head of Remote at Gitlab. Now Darren is a true pioneer in remote work who has helping shape remote teams across multiple organizations and was named an “Oracle of Remote Work” by CNBC.

Before this, Darren spent time in multiple editorial roles and while serving as a Senior Editor at Engadget, he was responsible for writing over 20,000 articles earning himself a Guinness World Record as one of the most prolific professional bloggers.

After shifting to working remotely, he traveled to all 50 states in the US and wrote his book, Living the "Remote Dream: A Guide To Seeing the World, Setting Records, and Advancing Your Career" along the way.

In 2019, Darren and Gitlab pioneered a monumental shift in remote work by creating the "Head of Remote" at Gitlab, where he has focused on defining and improving remote cultures at Gitlab and beyond.

Darren is also responsible for creating GitLab’s industry-leading guide to remote work, The Gitlab Remote Playbook, which is a public library of tactical, implementable processes necessary for distributed teams to thrive.

During our discussion, Darren and I dive into his initial steps into remote work and how Gitlab’s handbook, which is publicly available to all, is built to help teams all over the world build incredible remote teams and cultures.

We also look deeper at the Superpowers going remote unlocks, the phases of remote adaptation, and some tips and guidelines for teams that want to implement more of a hybrid model post covid.

And finally, we dive into remote work's positive effects on families, and Darren what he hopes it helps unlock in the future.


Darren Murph

Show Notes:

The Gitlab Remote Playbook:

Remote Dream: A Guide To Seeing the World, Setting Records, and Advancing Your Career:




May 19, 202123:55
#22 Sonja Gittens Ottley - Focusing on Diversity & Inclusion to Build High Performing Teams

#22 Sonja Gittens Ottley - Focusing on Diversity & Inclusion to Build High Performing Teams

Today’s guest is Sonja Gittens Ottley, the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Asana.

From her beginnings as an attorney at the Ministry of Legal Affairs for the Attorney-General in Trinidad & Tobago to her time at Yahoo, Facebook, and Asana, Sonja has been an advocate for building initiatives to promote privacy, free expression, and a more inclusive workforce.

While at Yahoo, Sonja helped create the companies Global Policy Counsel on Business & Human Rights, focusing on initiatives to promote privacy and free expression on the Internet. The counsel also explored the effects that the company products and tools may have on culture, human rights, activists, and more.

Recently, Sonja has been key to Asana’s efforts to incorporate diversity and inclusion into all aspects of the business by creating strategies that help build diverse and inclusive environments where every employee can thrive.

During our discussion, Sonja and I speak more about the responsibility the tech industry has to think deeper about how its products can impact society.

We also take a deep dive into the effects phycological safety has on productivity, and how Asana has worked to create frameworks to help employees succeed through a culture of open conversations and opportunities for discussion.

And finally, we take a closer look at the results of Asana’s Anatomy of Work Report, the results of a survey of over 13,000 global workers, and dive into the key findings on burnout, distributed work, tool overload, and more.


Sonja Gittens Ottley

Show Notes:

Anatomy of Work Report:




Mar 08, 202137:07
#21 Rishi Mandal - The Future of Fitness, and Accountability as a Tool for Success

#21 Rishi Mandal - The Future of Fitness, and Accountability as a Tool for Success

Today’s guest is the Co-founder and CEO of Future, serial entrepreneur, Rishi Mandal.

Now Rishi is someone who just has such an amazing background that really it reads more like a motivational article. Rishi attended Stanford for undergrad where he majored in Applied Physics and also spent time working at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. After graduating, he joined Slide, a social startup founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin that was acquired by Google in 2010.

Post-acquisition he worked as a Senior Product Manager for Google before cofounding Sosh, a Human curation and machine learning platform that was backed by Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures, Battery Ventures, and more.

Sosh was eventually acquired by Postmates in 2015 where Rishi went on to be the Director of Product for the growing Unicorn.

He moved back into Entrepreneurship, becoming the Entrepreneur in Residence at Khosla Ventures, before leaving to start his current company, Future.

Future is a unique fitness company unlike any other solution on the market. Using a combination of technology, elite personal trainers, and custom content, they empower their members through a personalized training solution with trainers personally texting and talking with their clients daily to help them fit their goals into everyday life. They also use a unique technology to help trainers understand how their client's body is reacting by providing each client with an Apple Watch to monitor vitals and energy levels to help tailor the workouts and nutritional plans.

During our discussion, Rishi and I take a look at Future has focused on helping people manage their health outcomes in today's fast-paced, and uncertain society.

We also take a look at how he and his team have grown from an early-stage idea to a company that’s raised over $35 million with over 150 employees in less than 4 years.

And finally, we take a deep dive into how accountability and feedback loops are the keys to not only building amazing products, but is also to creating a healthy lifestyle, and achieving amazing results.


Rishi Mandal

Show Notes:




Feb 23, 202144:10
#20 Jeff Wald - The End of Jobs, and How AI and Automation will Change the Workforce

#20 Jeff Wald - The End of Jobs, and How AI and Automation will Change the Workforce

Today’s guest is author and serial Entrepreneur, Jeff Wald. Now Jeff has a wide ranging background that includes time in Private Equity and Venture Capital, to co-founding WorkMarket, which sold to ADP in 2018.

Jeff is also the author of 2 books with his most recent publication being "The End of Jobs". The book reviews the history of work to help us understand how companies and workers reacted to the last three industrial revolutions, to help us better predict how the workforce and markets may react to the coming changes of AI and Automation.

The book was also contains insights from some of the best thought leaders from around the world on the Future of Work thanks to Jeff’s $10 million Future of Work Competition. The competition focused on bringing together a group of twenty leading global thinkers on the future of work, to use data and their insights to help predict how the workforce may look in 2040.

During our discussion, Jeff dives into predictions for the Future of Work based on 3 main bodies of evidence: History, Data, and How companies are currently engaging with their workers.

We’ll also take a look at how flexibility and the de-densification of the office will lead to huge productivity advantages for larger companies.

And finally, we touch on how the technical revolutions of AI and Automation will effect the workforce, and how retraining efforts need to be brought to the forefront of conversations.


Jeff Wald

Show Notes:

The End of Jobs (Book):


Jan 14, 202134:41
#19 Christa Romano - Building a Life and Career as a Digital Nomad
Jan 05, 202136:11
#18 Aaron Dignan - The Principles of Evolutionary Organizations, and Building a Culture of Trust and Autonomy

#18 Aaron Dignan - The Principles of Evolutionary Organizations, and Building a Culture of Trust and Autonomy

Today's guest is the Founder and CEO of The Ready, Aaron Dignan. As an entrepreneur and investor, Aaron is an advocate for helping companies transform from slow bureaucratic organizations into fast, efficient machines allowing for further growth and potential.

Aaron is also the host of the Brave New Work Podcast, an investor in early-stage startups, and is the author of the book, A Brave New Work.

During our Discussion, Aaron dives into how most complexity in organizations is not caused by our people or leaders, but by the fundamental operating system that businesses run on.

We also take a look at how companies can reinvent their core principles and practices to help build a culture centered around autonomy, trust, and transparency.

And finally, we explore how building constant feedback loops can help remove roadblocks and barriers to allow people to start doing their best work.


Aaron Dignan

Show Notes:


The Ready:

Brave New Work Podcast:



Dec 15, 202035:38
#17 Tim Salau - Building Creative Cultures, Leading with Gratefulness, and Turning your Career into an Asset
Dec 08, 202030:57
#16 John Healy - The Evolution of the Workforce, Breaking Down Hiring Barriers, and Aligning Values to Create Opportunity
Dec 03, 202037:57
# 15 Chris Herd - How Remote Work and Asynchronous Teams will Shape our Lives for the Better
Dec 01, 202037:01
# 14 WRDSMTH - From Advertising to Street Art, Following your Passions, and the Importance of Taking Chances

# 14 WRDSMTH - From Advertising to Street Art, Following your Passions, and the Importance of Taking Chances

Today I have the honor interviewing Phil Brody, more commonly known as the LA-based street artist WRDSMTH.

His work aspires to inspire others on a daily basis and has lead to him growing the WRDSMTH brand into a massive internet sensation with his vintage typewriters found in cities all across the globe.

During our discussion, Brody and I look at how he went from his corporate job in advertising to pursue writing and eventually diving headfirst into the world of street art.

We also take a look at how taking chances, constantly reinventing yourself, and chasing your passions can lead to multiple opportunities and a more fulfilling life.

And finally, we take a look at the different ways we can inspire people to pursue their passions in a world that often seeks to crush creativity.

A quick note for context, this interview was done in February of 2020 before the initial Coronavirus lockdown



Show Notes:



Books Mentioned

What Makes Sammy Run Fight Club
Sep 23, 202047:54
#13 Sargun Kaur - Dismantling Biases and Inequalities in the Technical Interview Process
Sep 15, 202040:39
#12 Steve Schlafman - COVID-19's effect on Venture Capital, the Next Evolution of the Workplace, and the Future of Learning
Aug 27, 202050:25
#11 Chris Thompson - Nootropics, Ketones, and Naturally Increasing Cognitive Performance
Aug 20, 202035:25
#10 Salman Ansari - Polymaths, Pursuing Multiple Passions, and Writing as a Tool for Success
Aug 07, 202048:35
#9 Danielle Strachman - The Invisible College, Investing in Young Minds, and The Future of Education

#9 Danielle Strachman - The Invisible College, Investing in Young Minds, and The Future of Education

Picture this; You're a new high school graduate in August 2020 and the COVID crisis has forced all your college classes online. Your university has announced it is still going to charge you full tuition to attend in the fall.

What would you rather do; Pay $50k in tuition for online classes? Or take a $50k investment to skip school in the fall and build a company?

Danielle Strachman is a Founder and General Partner of the 1517 fund, a VC firm that invests in makers, hackers, and scientists working outside of traditional institutions. Danielle was also one of the founding members and director of the Thiel Foundation, a program that gave $100k grants to entrepreneurs under 20 years old as an alternative to college, and also co-founded the Innovations Academy, a project based charter school working to help students have more purposeful learning.

During our discussion, Danielle and I take a look at the Invisible College program, and how Danielle and her partners are giving students amazing opportunities by investing $50k in ideas and R&D-stage teams that want to work outside of school in the fall.

We also dive deeper into how building Innovations Academy and the Theil Foundation helped shaped the 1517 fund’s philosophies of investing in young minds, and how it has already lead to some amazing results.

And finally, we take a look at the current educational system in America and how colleges are no longer set up to help students succeed like they were in the past.
The Invisible College:
1517 Fund:

Danielle Strachman -

Aug 05, 202044:48
#8 Katherine Dumanoir - Passion projects, paying it forward, and building ideas from the ground up
Jul 22, 202051:55
#7 Kaitlyn Knopp - HR and Compensation in a Remote and Post COVID World
May 26, 202042:14
#6 Matt Newberg - COVID-19 effects on restaurants, and how ghost kitchens and delivery are changing the food landscape
May 05, 202038:37
#5 Tom Nearing - COVID-19: Advice for job hunting and working remote during a global crisis.
Apr 14, 202034:47
#4 Taylor Dixon - Building authentic brands, addressing burnout, and rebranding as a solopreneur
Apr 01, 202047:27
#3 Warren Shaeffer - Evolution of learning, producing value, and building a consumer first company
Mar 17, 202044:20
#2 Amanda Goetz - Empathy, micro flexibility, and producing meaningful content
Mar 17, 202045:28
#1 Warren Lebovics - Passion, culture, and today's always on mindset
Mar 17, 202048:55
March 16, 2020

March 16, 2020

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Mar 16, 202000:28